February 22, 2020 – The Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) Workshop took place in Manila, Philippines, from 11-14 February 2020.
First held in 1988, the WPNS includes 21 Member nations and eight Observer nations and is aimed at increasing communication and relationships within the Western Pacific area.
The focus of this year’s workshop was to develop (and agree to) content to be presented at the main event – the WPNS Symposium – which will be held in Manila from 18-22 May 2020. The content is then prepared for endorsement by the Principals of the participating Navies.
The conference included plenary and workshop discussions focussing on opportunities for future interaction, a review of potential new memberships and planning the updating of the terms of reference of the Business Charter and the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES).
The Royal Australian Navy was represented by Deputy Director Navy International Engagement – Asia Pacific, Commander Etienne Mulder, and Staff Officer North Asia – South America, Lieutenant Commander Adrian Banks.
“Attendance at these conferences is critical as it allows the Royal Australian Navy to contribute to regional stability through participation in discussion on the importance of regular and clear interaction and communication with like-minded nations, with the application of CUES being central to this,” Commander Mulder said.
Lieutenant Commander Banks provided the workgroup with a presentation on the recent Senior Enlisted Leaders Work Group, which was undertaken during Sea Power 2019, and participated in discussions on the Junior Officers Interaction and Emerging Leaders Interaction Programs.
“These programs will provide our Junior Officers and Sailors ongoing opportunities to interact with their contemporaries in our neighbour navies,” Lieutenant Commander Banks said.
The Chief of Navy will represent Australia at the upcoming Symposium in Manila.