The four leaders of the diplomatic partnership known as the Quad recently met in person for the first time. On September 24, President Joe Biden hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the White House.
In a joint statement, the four leaders recommitted themselves to their “partnership and to a region that is a bedrock of our shared security and prosperity – a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is also inclusive and resilient.”
In his opening remarks, President Biden described the Quad as “democratic partners who share a world view and have a common vision for the future, coming together to take on key challenges of our age.” Among those challenges are COVID-19, climate change, emerging technologies, and infrastructure.
The four leaders agreed that progress has been made since their virtual meeting in March. Calling their partnership and focus on COVID-19 “historic,” they noted they have aligned efforts to combat the disease and are on track to meet the goal of donating 1.2 billion doses of the vaccine globally by the end of 2022. To date, they have provided 79 million safe, effective, and quality-assured vaccine doses to countries in the Indo-Pacific.
They also joined forces to tackle the climate crisis, working together to keep the Paris-aligned temperature limits within reach and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Among other initiatives, the Quad is pursuing nationally appropriate sectoral decarbonization efforts, including those aimed at deploying clean-hydrogen technology; and cooperating to establish responsible and resilient clean-energy supply chains.
In regard to emerging technologies, the four countries are working together to ensure that the way technology is designed is shaped by respect for universal human rights. The leaders pointed, for example, to efforts at working with industry to advance the deployment of secure, open, and transparent 5G and beyond 5G networks, and to their commitment to resilient, diverse, and secure supply chains, recognizing, as they say in their joint statement, “the importance of government support of measures and policies that are transparent and market-oriented.”
The four leaders also announced the launch of a new Quad infrastructure partnership to meet to coordinate efforts, map the region’s infrastructure needs, and coordinate regional opportunities.
“We are four major democracies with a long history of cooperation,” said President Biden. “We know how to get things done, and we are up to the challenge.”