tirsdag 22. desember 2020

Coronavirus, China, climate and global crises: where Australia’s foreign relations attention will be in 2021

Most of us can't wait to see the back of 2020, a year that has been memorable for all the wrong reasons. While 2020 provided the ultimate stress test for countries to discover their vulnerabilities, we can confidently predict the New Year will bring its own challenges.

So what will dominate international affairs in 2021? I'm expecting to be watching four Cs: coronavirus, China, climate and crises. It should start to get easier, but the pandemic still has a way to play out and 2021 will be about adapting to living with the virus. We'll be hoping countries that managed the pandemic well can keep it up, and those that didn't are helped by the roll-out of vaccines.

We'll be watching who gets a vaccine and whether access is equitable. How effective the various vaccines are. And how quickly international travel recovers. Australia will be focused on recovery. It dealt with the health challenge of COVID-19 well, but in the process it has cut itself off from the world. There's been significant damage to major industries like education and tourism, and terrible experiences for international students, temporary visa holders and Australians stranded overseas.