Asset Publisher

Event Reports

6th Konrad Adenauer Lecture

by Sophia Brook

‘Security Issues for the Pacific Region’

KAS Australia and the Pacific and the ANU Centre for European Studies were delighted to hold the 6th KAS Lecture in Canberra in June. This year's keynote was kindly delivered by former President of the Republic of Kiribati and advocate for climate action and ocean conservation H.E. Anote Tong, with concluding remarks provided by the German Special Envoy for the Pacific Islands States, H.E. Beate Grzeski.

Asset Publisher

The growing geo-political importance of the Indo-Pacific has not only influenced European and Australian foreign and security policy strategies but has also posed new challenges for the island states situated in the region. In addition to climate-related challenges, Pacific nations have increasingly found themselves caught in the middle of great power struggles and the often-re-iterated mantra of a ‘friends to all and enemies to none’ neutrality has become harder to maintain. This has had implications for their own relations to major actors like the EU, the USA and China. In view of these developments, it is ever more important for these major actors to actively listen to Pacific partners and engage in solution-oriented dialogue based on common principles and joint interests, on an equal footing.

In his address, on the topic of ‘Security Issues for the Pacific Region’, Mr Tong stressed that the greatest threat to Pacific nations is climate change. He continued by explaining that, although the international community was still hoping that it was possible to change the predicted dire future outcomes of climate related problems, these outcomes were already a tangible reality for most Pacific nations. Rising sea-levels and the change in weather patterns, leading to more catastrophic climate disasters, could already be witnessed in the region and would ultimately lead to unprecedented migration flows the rest of the world would not be able to ignore. He therefore appealed to the international community to take more and bolder action with more urgency.

We were honoured to have H.E. Anote Tong and the Special Envoy share their insightful presentations and are looking forward to continue these very important discussions in the future.

The Konrad Adenauer Lecture Series is dedicated to enhancing understanding of Europe and Germany in Australia and the wider region. With the Indo-Pacific quickly gaining geo-political importance, it is vital in reciprocity to enhance understanding of the region to European stakeholders as well. The initiative is the culmination of a longstanding partnership between the ANU Centre for European Studies and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a German political foundation with a regional representation in Canberra, covering Australia, New Zealand and 13 Pacific Island States.

Asset Publisher


Asset Publisher