February 23, 2020
Building on AVI’s response to DFAT’s review of Australia’s soft power strengths and capabilities, this submission places significant weight on the importance of people-to-people development and the quality of relationships that underpin our overseas engagements.
If we are to forge a new, progressive international development policy that supports security, stability, prosperity and resilience in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, we must shift away from traditional approaches. We must step back to re-evaluate and align ourselves with the modern-day strategic, political and economic order of our region. In particular, we must listen to how our neighbours want to engage with us.
AVI’s ethos of forging long-term relationships built on mutual respect and trust lies at the heart of everything we do. Without these relationships, which are essential to building networks and momentum for social and economic change, any approach to development will be unsustainable.
It is these relationships that will enable us to build new ways of working, shaping broader value systems that help us address common challenges. It is through a united vision, created by a region standing side by side that we can tackle issues at the source of so much suffering, including inequality, conflict and climate change.
Based on AVI’s almost 70-year history of deep engagement in the Asia Pacific region, we know there are several elements that must align in order to build effective partnerships that in turn result in positive and most importantly, sustainable development outcomes.
In our submission, we unpack these elements in detail, proposing a new, enlightened way for Australia to enhance development outcomes, diplomatic relationships, economic growth and international cooperation. I encourage you all to read the submission, now available on the AVI website.