The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and Australia regarding cooperation on health security as discussed at the 2018 Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN).
“Given the collective threat posed by certain highly pathogenic infectious diseases – whether through naturally occurring outbreaks or deliberate or accidental release – the governments of the United States and Australia have formed a multi-sectoral partnership to strengthen health security in the Indo-Pacific Region. This partnership advances the goals of the U.S. National Security Strategy and the Australian Foreign Policy White Paper and strongly supports implementation of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), which endeavors to create a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.
The United States and Australia are committed to the exchange of technical expertise and best practices that complement, advance, and accelerate capacity building for health security in the Indo-Pacific Region. Our new partnership, convened by the U.S. Department of State and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, aims to strengthen coordination of our country assistance efforts and includes relevant departments and agencies of both governments, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of Defense, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The locus of cooperation within the Australian government is the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, a whole-of-government body within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Centre draws together expertise from the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research, the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the Department of Defense.
This new Australia-U.S. multi-sectoral coordination arrangement allows both sides to identify common strategies for program development and implementation, share information and policy perspectives, and explore concrete opportunities for joint action to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats.
Both governments affirm their support for transparent communication and accountability in relation to health security activities. The United States and Australia look forward to continuing to work together bilaterally, in relevant regional organizations, and in international forums such as the Global Health Security Agenda to ensure a safe and secure Indo-Pacific region.”