Question on Notice 339 to Minister for Foreign Affairs

Zoe Daniel : asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs on 04 September 2023 :

1. Has the Government assessed the risk of climate change induced water wars in Asia, and the Himalayas in particular, which may specifically include India, Pakistan, China, Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

2. What assessment was made.

3. What obligations would Australia have to India in such circumstances.

4. Given the assessment of the United States’ Government that India lacks ‘the capacity to adapt’, what are the implications for Australia’s strategic relationship with India, including the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

Mr Marles: The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the Member’s question:

1. Yes, the Australian Government has assessed the risk of climate change in Asia and more broadly.

2. The Office of National Intelligence (ONI) Climate Security Risk Assessment (the Assessment) has been considered by the Government. The content and judgments of the Assessment are classified. However, there is considerable material discussing the national security threats from climate change publicly available, including the Government’s Climate Statement tabled in Parliament.

3. Australia does not speculate on hypothetical scenarios.

4. Under the Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreed in 2020, both countries committed to practical global cooperation to address major challenges. This included recognising that water security is a critical challenge for both countries. It was jointly decided to deepen policy and technical cooperation on mutually agreed activities to improve water management and sustainable economic development through the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of Water Resources

Both countries also committed to continue to collaborate on climate change, energy security and other issues of importance, especially through the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

Through the Quad, Australia works closely with India to support an open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. The Quad is making a positive and enduring contribution to the Indo-Pacific by delivering practical outcomes, including on climate change, that respond to regional countries’ priorities. The Quad’s Climate Working Group collaborates on clean
energy supply chains, disaster risk reduction, green shipping, and climate information exchanges.

At the 2023 Quad Leaders’ Summit, Quad Leaders issued a Statement of Principles on Clean Energy Supply Chains in the Indo-Pacific. Leaders also announced a Clean Energy Supply Chains initiative designed to accelerate the Indo-Pacific’s clean energy transition.


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