GIGA Focus Asia

Rediscovering the Pacific: Possibilities of German Cooperation

Number 4 | 2023 | ISSN: 1862-359X

  • German Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock (Bündis 90  Die Grünen) on a visit to Palau with Governor Eyos Rudimch and Minister of Human Resources Tmetuchl Ngiraibelas.
    German Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock (Bündis 90  Die Grünen) on a visit to Palau with Governor Eyos Rudimch and Minister of Human Resources Tmetuchl Ngiraibelas.

    As indicted by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s visit to Palau in July 2022 and the planned opening of an embassy in Fiji, Germany is increasingly turning towards the Pacific Islands region. Yet, a clear orientation in Pacific policy is missing. Germany should avoid the competition between the United States and China for regional influence and focus on the interests of people in the Pacific.

    • With respect to climate policy, the most important issue for the majority of Pacific Island States, Germany is seen as a key partner. German Pacific policy should, however, go beyond climate action and pursue a multi-thematic approach.

    • Possible foci, to be developed jointly with the island states, include cooperation concerning supply of potable water, sea transportation, waste disposal, ocean protection, and the strengthening of girls’ and women’s rights.

    • German foreign policy, internationally oriented culture and science policy, and development cooperation need to operate in tandem to be able to respond in a targeted manner to developments in the Pacific. In this context, Pacific expertise in German academia and civil society should also be called upon.

    • Given the diversity of Pacific Island States, cooperation with regional organisations locally should be expanded. What is needed in this context is not a universal approach but close awareness of these states’ diverse interests. Multilateral cooperation with the region should be complemented by that with key countries such as Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Samoa too.

    Policy Implications

    Increased cooperation with the Pacific, to be pursued in conjunction with partners in and beyond the European Union, can build on the trust Germany enjoys in the region. Going beyond climate policy and geopolitics, Germany should focus on issue areas reflecting the needs and interests of the region’s people and states.

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      Auswärtiges Amt (2022b), Fortschrittsbericht zur Umsetzung der Leitlinien der Bundesregierung zum Indo-Pazifik für das Jahr 2022, Zugriff 6. April 2023.

      Carter, George (2020), Pacific Island States and 30 Years of Global Climate Change Negotiations, in: Carola Klöck, Paula Castro, Florian Weiler und Lau Øfjord Blaxekjær (Hrsg.), Coalitions in the Climate Change Negotiations, London: Routledge, 73-90.

      Erdmann, Kathrin und Andre Zantow (2023), Was die Pazifikstaaten wollen, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 21. März, Zugriff 11. April 2023.

      GIZ (2022), Ozeanien, Zugriff 11. April 2023.

      Hasenkamp, Oliver (2021), “Micronexit”: Regionalism in Confusion, in: Pacific Geographies, 56, Zugriff 29. April 2023.

      Hasenkamp, Oliver und Elisabeth Worliczek (2018), COP23: A “Pacific COP” with “islandised“ outcomes?, in: Pacific Geographies, 49, Zugriff 29. April 2023.

      Kaiku, Patrick (2022), Deep Sea Mining – Can it Sink the Visions in Pacific Regionalism?, Brisbane: Griffith Asia Institute, Zugriff 5. April 2023.

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      Köllner, Patrick (2021b), Australia and New Zealand’s South Pacific Diplomacy: Seeking to Balance China’s Regional Engagement, in: Robert G. Patman, Patrick Köllner und Balazs Kiglics (Hrsg.), From Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific: Diplomacy in a Contested Region, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 163-185.

      Pacific Islands Forum (2022), 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, Zugriff 12. April 2023.

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      Statistisches Bundesamt (2023), Außenhandel. Rangfolge der Handelspartner im Außenhandel der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (vorläufige Ergebnisse), 2022, Zugriff 6. April 2023.

      Theys, Sarina (2021), Leading the Way: Pacific Island Countries and the United Nations Climate Change Negotiations, in: Comparative Law Journal of the Pacific, 26, 203-220, Zugriff 5. April 2023.

      U.S. Department of State (2022), Joint Statement on Partners in the Blue Pacific Foreign Ministers Meeting, 22. September, Zugriff 6. April 2023.

      Editorial Department GIGA Focus Asia

      Petra Brandt

      Editorial Management


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