It has been a big year of global achievements for the Australian Greens. I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved in 2017, and to be able to share this snapshot with you.
By Felicity Gray
I want to thank all the committed Australian Greens who have worked so hard in building our international relationships, particularly those members who serve on the Global Issues Group, the International Development Committee, and the Asia Pacific Greens Federation. I also want to thank Scott Ludlam, who will be greatly missed as our spokesperson on foreign affairs and international development.
Global Greens Congress
The Global Greens Congress was held in Liverpool, UK, from 30 March – 2 April 2017. Thirty Australian representatives, including numerous Greens MPs, attended the Congress making us the largest non-European delegation. It was regularly observed by other attendees how much the Australian team 'punched above their weight', contributing communications, facilitation, and policy discussion expertise, and I want to thank all of our representatives for their hard work and contributions to this success.
We were so lucky to hear Greens from around the world share their experiences. Much of this content is available online, and I would encourage Australian Greens members to read and listen to these contributions here. I am so proud that our party is part of such a dynamic and committed global movement. It was great to see Australian Greens members, particularly Sean Mulcahy, spearhead establishment of the Global Greens LGBTI+ Network.
A range of resolutions were considered by the Congress (the full list is available here). The Australian Greens' resolutions on the commitment to counter right-wing extremism and on the transition away from fossil fuels were considered and adopted by the Global Greens plenary. As a movement, we also endorsed the Liverpool Declaration, re-committing to “co-operate even more strongly in the future to make the fundamental transformations needed to return to future generations the world that we have only borrowed from them”. A crucial part of ensuring this happens is planning for the financial sustainability of the Global Greens, and we are having ongoing conversations with states about how we can contribute to this goal.
The 2017 Congress also marked the near-end of Margaret Blakers' term as Global Greens Convenor. It is difficult to overstate the contribution that Margaret has made through her leadership of the Global Greens since it was first established in Canberra in 2001. We are so lucky to have her expertise and leadership based here in Australia, and we wish Margaret the very best for new adventures and campaigns. The Global Greens are currently undertaking a selection process for the new Convenor, and we will look forward to working with the successful candidate into 2018 and beyond.
Asia Pacific Greens Federation (APGF)
The APGF continues to go from strength to strength. The Australian Greens are lucky to have committed representatives to APGF, and we thank Bob Hale and Rose Read for their hard work. We also thank Penny Allman-Payne and Liaquat Ali Shaikh for their ongoing commitment as co-convenors.
The APGF representatives were able to meet face-to-face at a side-meeting of the Global Greens Congress. There are currently 15 Councillors representing 12 countries, as well as 2 representatives of the APGF Women's Network, and five representatives from associate parties. There are currently three significant groups interested in joining APGF, and the council is currently undertaking a process to consider these applications. It is great to be able to work alongside Green parties in our region, and you can keep up to date with their successes here.
Asia Pacific Greens Federation Council, April 2017
APGF delegates held their third annual Council meeting in Liverpool immediately following the Global Greens Congress. Countries represented were Atjeh, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Taiwan with observers from Green parties of Iraq, Papua New Guinea, and Kyrgyzstan.
The annual Council develops stronger organisational structures and processes to promote the growth of Green parties within the Asia-Pacific region.
Australian Greens International Development Committee
This year, through the Australian Political Parties for Democracy Program (APPDP), the Australian Greens have supported several initiatives with financial support and expertise to emerging Green parties in the Asia Pacific region. The following projects have been undertaken:
- India - taking the first steps in forming a national Green party - including the inaugural meeting in Delhi
- Solomon Islands - a Congress and training of Green Party Solomon Islands executive members
- Nepal - running of Green schools to outreach to supporters in Nepal
- Bangladesh - setting up the a national Green Party in Bangladesh
- Atjeh Indonesia - holding the inaugural congress for the Atjeh Green party in this autonomous region of Indonesia.
We also have monitoring project teams for Pakistan and emerging Pacific Green parties.
An internship program for representative/s from Asia Pacific parties to work alongside and learn from our experience in Australia last year saw an internship from the Atjeh Greens with Adam Bandt's office and the Victorian Greens. In-country training visits were also organised to India, Nepal, Atjeh, and the Solomon islands to assist with the future development of their projects and parties.
We appreciate the continuing hard work of our International Development Co-ordinator, Michelle Sheather, and the various experts that contribute their knowledge and time to the committee.
Global issues outreach and campaigns
It has been excellent to see Australian Greens pursuing outreach and campaigns across a range of international areas. In 2017, some highlights included:
Australian Greens delegation to Israel and Palestine
April 2017 saw the first ever Australian Greens delegation to Israel and Palestine, where members were able to observe first-hand the difficult conditions many face on the ground. The delegation included elected Greens representatives Senator Janet Rice and Councillor Dominic Wy-Kanak, and has spurred a range of advocacy opportunities including this speech from Senator Rice.
Ban on nuclear weapons
We were so thrilled that Senator Ludlam was able to be present in New York for the adoption of a treaty banning the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, and we are looking forward to carrying on this advocacy work. The Global Issues Group has committed to the nuclear weapons ban treaty as a priority campaign moving forward, so keep an eye out in your local area for campaign events.
We have also worked with other Greens around the world to assist in their elections and campaigns. Currently, the Australian Greens are assisting the New Zealand Greens in the lead up to their election, and I thank Josh Wyndham-Kidd in particular for his assistance on this front. Other Greens parties have also assisted us in the lead up to the marriage equality postal vote with social media campaigns encouraging eligible Australians to enrol to vote.
2018 is set to be a big year. With no major regional or international Congresses planned, we will be able to redouble our efforts locally, and continue to build relationships with Greens parties around the world. With many new development projects and campaigns in the pipeline, there is a lot to look forward to. In particular there is the opportunity to stand Green party candidates for the first time in elections coming up in Nepal, Solomon Islands, and Lebanon.
We have built strong foundations in 2017, and look forward to seeing where our international work takes us in the new year.