The Australian Civil-Military Centre (ACMC) recently facilitated the highly successful ASEAN-Australia Civil-Military-Police Leaders’ Whole-of-Government & Regional Approaches to Illegal Fishing Workshop, co-hosted by Australia and Indonesia in Canberra. This was the first event in the lead up to the 2018 ASEAN Australia Special Summit being held in Sydney in March 2018.
The workshop was attended by representatives from the 10 ASEAN nations and Australian government representatives who contributed their knowledge on challenges and successes around illegal fishing. Presentations from five ASEAN Nations and three Australian Government departments provided a broad scope for the discussions.
Attendees discussed improving regional coordination through;
- applying lessons learnt during recent successful operations such as ‘Operation Dogleg’;
- joint training on ‘fish stock assessment, port and on-board inspection, legal audits and the development of public information’; and
- identifying the types of information to be shared and suitable protocols.
Notably Australia was identified as a neutral third party able to work constructively with all ASEAN nations as an honest broker to improve outcomes across the region.
Co-chair of the workshop, Dr Alan Ryan, noted that the key to combating illegal fishing throughout the ASEAN region started at home with whole of government cooperation and information sharing between neighbours.
The success of the workshop can largely be attributed to the unique group of attendees who were willing to engage enthusiastically and openly share information whilst respecting the position of others. The workshop has helped to improve communication, interaction, trust and a willingness to work toward common goals within the ASEAN Community.
‘As the first ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2018 inspired event, this is an outstanding example of how future Summit events can contribute to a collaborative and fruitful ASEAN-Australia partnership in addressing the complex issues faced by our region.’
Head, ASEAN Australia Special Summit Taskforce
Department Prime Minister and Cabinet