A new special report published by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) calls for Canada and Australia to deepen their regional security cooperation in East Asia.

Directed by CIGI Distinguished Fellow Len Edwards and ASPI Executive Director Peter Jennings, the year-and-a-half long study involved intensive consultations with key regional experts and policymakers in the Asia-Pacific. Its final recommendations are contained in the study’s final report, Facing West, Facing North: Canada and Australia in East Asia.  The report was presented today at the CDA Institute’s 2014 Ottawa Conference on Defence and Security and will be presented at the 2014 Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum in Melbourne, Australia, taking place next week.

“The risk of regional instability is growing...due to China’s re-emergence, continued speculation about US strategic engagement in Asia and increased competition over disputed maritime boundaries,” says the report. “These developments provide opportunities for collaboration between countries like Canada and Australia. Non-traditional security threats, including natural disasters, climate change, food security and cyber security, point to a range of areas where the two countries can work more closely together.”

The report calls for Canada and Australia to pursue the following:

  • Align their separate defence and security engagement activities in East Asia, share lessons learned and look for ways to maximize their separate and collective impact in cooperating with regional friends.
  • Work to strengthen regional capabilities in ways that add to stability, in particular, in the areas of peacekeeping skills, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and cyber resilience. They can also work with others to make regional security governance more effective.
  • Deepen their individual defence and security dialogues and look for cost effective ways to do more together across a broad sweep of areas from exercises to defence reform planning.
  • Find ways to align defence procurement plans to find cost savings and share best practices on equipment procurement. Their reputation as reliable suppliers of freely traded agricultural and energy products should also be strengthened.

“Canada and Australia have both emphasized aspects of their ties to Asia — for Australia, its proximity to the region, and for Canada, its significant Asian population — and both have a national interest in contributing to regional peace and security in a region both identify as the driver of their future prosperity,” says the report. “Combined with their ambitions for closer trade and investment ties with Asia, the two countries have a genuine interest in contributing to peace and security in the world’s most economically vibrant region.”

The report contains several policy recommendations for Canada and Australia to:

  • Strengthen regional security
  • Bolster regional governance mechanisms
  • Enhance bilateral defence cooperation
  • Boost defence industry and economic cooperation

The opinions expressed in the special reports are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or ASPI. To download a free PDF copy of Facing West, Facing North: Canada and Australia in East Asia, please visit: http://www.cigionline.org/publications/2014/2/facing-west-facing-north-canada-and-australia-east-asia.

Kevin Dias, Communications Specialist, CIGI
Tel: 519.885.2444, ext. 7238, Email: [email protected]

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit www.cigionline.org.


The opinions expressed in this article/multimedia are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or its Board of Directors.