Pacific Islands Forum

The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) is an inter-governmental organization that aims to enhance cooperation between countries and territories of the Pacific Ocean. It was founded in 1971 as the South Pacific Forum (SPF). In 1999, the name was changed; "Pacific Islands Forum" is more inclusive of the Forum's Oceania-spanning membership of both north and south Pacific island countries, including Australia. It is an observer at the United Nations.[3]

The mission of the Pacific Islands Forum is “to work in support of Forum member governments, to enhance the economic and social well-being of the people of the South Pacific by fostering cooperation between governments and between international agencies, and by representing the interests of Forum members in ways agreed by the Forum”. Its decisions are implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), which grew out of the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Co-operation (SPEC). As well as its role in harmonising regional positions on various political and policy issues, the Forum Secretariat has technical programmes in economic development, transport and trade. The Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General is the permanent Chairman of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP).[4]

Australia and New Zealand are generally larger and wealthier than the other countries that make up the rest of the forum, Australia's population is around twice that of the other 17 members combined and its economy is more than five times larger. They are significant aid donors and big markets for exports from the other countries. Military and police forces as well as civilian personnel of Forum states, chiefly Australia and New Zealand, have recently been part of regional peacekeeping and stabilization operations in other states, notably in Solomon Islands (2003–) and Nauru (2004–2009), under Forum auspices. Such regional efforts are mandated by the Biketawa Declaration, which was adopted at the 31st Summit of Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, held at Kiribati in October 2000.

In September 2011, the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands were granted observer status in the Pacific Islands Forum,[5] while in September 2016 the French territories of French Polynesia and New Caledonia were granted full membership.[6]

Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)
Logo of Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)
Membership (dark blue) of the Pacific Islands Forum.
Membership (dark blue) of the Pacific Islands Forum.
Seat of SecretariatFiji Suva, Fiji
• Forum Chair
annual rotation
Papua New Guinea Meg Taylor
• as South Pacific Forum
• renamed Pacific Islands Forum
• Total
8,509,959[1] km2 (3,285,714 sq mi)
• 2016 estimate
40.054 million[2]
• Density
4/km2 (10.4/sq mi)
GDP (nominal)2012 estimate
• Total
US$ 1.689 trilliona
• Per capita
US$ 28,543
HDI (2007–2008)Increase 0.753a
high · 97tha
Time zone
  1. If the Forum considered as a single state.


South Pacific Forum, August 5, 1971, Wellington (19969820699)
South Pacific Forum, August 5, 1971, Wellington

From August 5–7, 1971, the first meeting of the South Pacific Forum was initiated by New Zealand and held in Wellington, with attendants of the following seven countries: the President of Nauru, the Prime Ministers of Western Samoa, Tonga and Fiji, the Premier of the Cook Islands, the Australian Minister for External Territories, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand. It was a private and informal discussion of a wide range of issues of common concern, concentrating on matters directly affecting the daily lives of the people of the islands of the South Pacific, devoting particular attention to trade, shipping, tourism, and education. Afterwards this meeting was held annually in member countries and areas in turn. In 1999, the 30th South Pacific Forum decided to transform into Pacific Islands Forum, with more extensive and formal way of discussion and organization. Immediately after the forum’s annual meeting at head of government level, the Post Forum Dialogue (PFD) is conducted at ministerial level with PFD development partners around the world.[7]

Suspension of Fiji

In August 2008, the Forum threatened to suspend Fiji if the latter did not commit to holding a general election by March 2009.[8] Subsequently, at a special leaders' meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum, held in Papua New Guinea in January 2009, Forum leaders set a deadline of 1 May, by which date Fiji must set a date for elections before the end of the year. Fiji rejected the deadline. Consequently, on May 2, Fiji was suspended indefinitely from participation in the Forum with immediate effect.[9][10] Toke Talagi, the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and Premier of Niue, described the suspension as "also particularly timely given the recent disturbing deterioration of the political, legal and human rights situation in Fiji since April 10, 2009".[11] He described Fiji as “a regime which displays such a total disregard for basic human rights, democracy and freedom” which he believed contravened membership of the Pacific Islands Forum.[11] Talagi emphasised, however, that Fiji had not been expelled and that it would be welcomed back into the fold when it returned to the path of "constitutional democracy, through free and fair elections".[11]

The 2009 suspension of Fiji marked the first time that a country had been suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum in the history of the then 38-year-old organization.[12]

Following the Fijian general election of 17 September 2014, the Forum lifted the suspension of Fiji on 22 October 2014.[13]


Map indicating the members and associate members of the Pacific Islands Forum

Member states[14]
 Australia (AU)  Cook Islands (CK)  Fiji (FJ)  French Polynesia (PF)[6]
 Kiribati (KI)  Marshall Islands (MH)  Micronesia (FM)  Nauru (NR)
 New Caledonia (NC)[6]  New Zealand (NZ)  Niue (NU)  Palau (PW)
 Papua New Guinea (PG)  Samoa (WS)  Solomon Islands (SB)  Tonga (TO)
 Tuvalu (TV)  Vanuatu (VU)
Associate members Observers
 Tokelau (TK)[6][15]  American Samoa (AS)  Guam (GU)  Northern Mariana Islands (MP)
 Timor-Leste (TL)  Wallis and Futuna (WF)[16]  United Nations
Asian Development Bank Commonwealth of Nations WCPFC
World Bank
For abbreviations, see ISO 3166-1.
Dialogue partners
 Canada  China  Cuba  European Union
 France  Germany  India  Indonesia
 Italy  Japan  South Korea  Malaysia
 Philippines  Spain  Thailand  Turkey
 United Kingdom  United States
Development Partner


Population and economic statistics of full and associate members
Member Land area (km2)[18] Population[19] (2016) GDP Millions USD (2010)[20] GDP Per Capita USD (2010) Human Development Index (2016)
 Australia 7,741,220 24,125,848 1,293,201 58,350 0.939
 Cook Islands 236 17,379 255 12,579
 Fiji 3,141 898,760 8,800 3,652 0.736
 French Polynesia 4,167 280,208 6,081 22,684
 Kiribati 811 114,395 153 1,493 0.588
 Marshall Islands 181 53,066 164 3,124
 Micronesia 702 104,937 297 2,867 0.638
 Nauru 21 11,347 62 6,234
 New Caledonia 18,575 272,677 9,355 37,976
 New Zealand 268,838 4,660,833 146,584 33,551 0.915
 Niue 260 1,624
 Palau 459 21,503 186 9,084 0.788
 Papua New Guinea 462,840 8,084,991 14,205 2,074 0.516
 Samoa 2,831 195,125 679 3,651 0.704
 Solomon Islands 28,896 599,419 720 1,368 0.515
 Tokelau1 12 1,282
 Tonga 747 107,122 374 3,597 0.721
 Tuvalu 26 11,097 32 3,239
 Vanuatu 12,189 270,402 701 2,966 0.597
Total 8,546,152 40,250,245 1,481,849 36,816 0.696

1 Associate member

Secretaries General

The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is appointed to a three-year term by the leaders of the member states.[21] The Secretary General reports directly to the national leaders and the Forum Officials' Committee (FOC).[21] The Secretary General also automatically serves as the permanent chairman of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP).[21]

# Name Country Took office Left office
Directors of the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Co-operation
1 Mahe Tupouniua  Tonga November 1972 1980
2 Gabriel Gris  Papua New Guinea 1980 1982 (died in office)
John Sheppard (acting)  Australia 1982 January 1983
3 Mahe Tupouniua  Tonga January 1983 January 1986
4 Henry Naisali  Tuvalu January 1986 September 1988
Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum
Henry Naisali  Tuvalu September 1988 January 1992
5 Ieremia Tabai  Kiribati January 1992 January 1998
6 Noel Levi  Papua New Guinea February 1998 16 May 2004
7 Greg Urwin  Australia 16 May 2004 2 May 2008 (resigned)
Feleti Teo (acting)  Tuvalu 2 May 2008 13 October 2008
8 Tuiloma Neroni Slade  Samoa [22] 13 October 2008 4 December 2014
9 Meg Taylor  Papua New Guinea 4 December 2014 incumbent

Institutions and legal framework

Pif secretariat
Library and archives building at the Secretariat complex in Suva, Fiji.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat was established initially as a trade bureau in 1972 and later became the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Co-operation (SPEC). The name South Pacific Forum Secretariat was approved by member governments in 1988 and changed to Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in 2000.

There are four divisions in the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and each of these divisions has direct responsibility for a range of programs designed to improve the capacity of the Forum member countries and to co-ordinate action on matters of common interest:

  1. Development and Economic Policy
  2. Trade and Investment
  3. Political, International and Legal Affairs
  4. Corporate Services

The Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) established in 1995, plays a key role in assessing regional economic developments.[23]

Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement

The Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement[24] (PICTA) aims to establish a free-trade area between 14 of the Pacific Islands Forum countries. As of 2013, it had been signed by 12 states:[25]

  • Cook Islands
  • Fiji
  • Kiribati
  • Micronesia
  • Nauru
  • Niue
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

It has not been signed by either Palau or the Marshall Islands. All of the signing states have ratified the treaty, with the exception of Micronesia. As of March 2008, six countries had announced that domestic arrangements had been made enabling them to trade under the agreement:[25] Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands,[26] Vanuatu.[27]

After the trade agreement goes into force, countries commit to removing tariffs on most goods by 2021. As of April 2008, The Forum Island Countries are also negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union. It is important to note that the PICTA discussed here covers only the trade of goods. At the Forum Island Leaders Meeting held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands on 28 August 2012, nine members signed the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement Trade in Services (PICTA TIS).[28] As of April 2008, there is an ongoing negotiation to design and agree on a protocol to include trade in services and the temporary movement of natural persons (a broader concept than the GATS's Mode 4).[29]

The Office of the Chief Trade Adviser was established on 29 March 2010 to provide independent advice and support to the Pacific Forum Island Countries (FICs) in the PACER Plus trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

Recent works

An “open skies” policy has been under work by a number of nations. The Pacific Islands Air Services Agreement or PIASA would allow member nations to have more access for their airlines to other member countries. To date there have been ten signatories, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, while only six have ratified the agreement. These six are Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

At the 19–20 August 2008 Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Niue, the leaders discussed Pacific Plan priorities including, “fisheries, energy, trade and economic integration, climate change and transport, in addition to information and communication technology, health, education, and good governance.” Leaders also discussed the impacts of climate change and adopted the Niue Declaration on Climate Change. Restoration of democratic governance in Fiji was discussed as were consequences should the interim government fail to meet established deadlines.[30] Regional assistance to the Solomon Islands and Nauru was discussed, followed by discussion of radioactive contamination in the Marshall Islands from US government tests. Regional institutional framework issues and WTO Doha round developments were discussed, followed by discussion of country-initiatives and the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility launched 19 August 2008 to provide up to A$200 million over four years to help improve infrastructure in Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.[14] The United Nations announced that it would partner with Samoa to develop an Inter-Agency Climate Change Centre to help Pacific island nations combat the impacts of climate change in the region.[31] In the 2013 forum, the Marshall Islands, supported by all other Pacific nations, claimed compensation from the United States for the nuclear tests conducted on the islands during the 1940s and 1950s.[32][33]


There has been a call from within both the Australian and New Zealand business communities to extend the CER (Closer Economic Relations) to other Pacific island nations, moving towards a single market and allowing the free movement of people and goods. A Pacific Union has been theorized as the next step of the forum.

In September 2016, the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO) regional network, encouraged member states’ leaders to include in the organisation's agenda the issue of human rights violations in West Papua.[34]

See also


  1. ^ Corresponds to the terrestrial surface. Including the Exclusive Economic Zones of each member state, the total area is 37 894 287 km².
  2. ^ "Demographic Statistics - Prism - Pacific Statistics". Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Unattributed. "About Us". Pacific Islands Forum web site. Pacific Islands Forum. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  5. ^ "American Samoa's Tulafono pleased to be part of Pacific family". Radio New Zealand International. 2011-09-09. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
  6. ^ a b c d "Forum Communiqué, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia" (PDF). Forty-Seventh Pacific Islands Forum. Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. 2016-09-10. Retrieved 2016-09-15.
  7. ^ The Pacific Islands Forum (Former South Pacific Forum)- Pacific Regional Order, pp 58-80, by Dave Peebles- Retrieved 2017-01-08
  8. ^ "Solomon's Prime Minister says all Forum members backed suspension threat". Radio New Zealand International. 24 August 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  9. ^ Statement by Forum Chair on suspension of the Fiji military regime from the Pacific Islands Forum; PIFS Press Statement 21/09, 2 May 2009
  10. ^ "Chair of Pacific Islands Forum says Fiji has been suspended". Radio New Zealand International. 2 May 2009. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  11. ^ a b c "Fiji suspended from Pacific Islands Forum". Xinhua News Agency. 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
  12. ^ "Fiji isolated after election deadline expires". Australia Broadcasting Corporation. 2009-05-01. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  13. ^ Statement by Forum Chair on lifting the suspension of Fiji from the Pacific Islands Forum. (2014-10-24). Retrieved on 2015-01-07.
  14. ^ a b "Forum Communiqué, Alofi, Niue" (PDF). Thirty-Ninth Pacific Islands Forum. Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2008-08-22. The Niue Declaration on Climate Change is Appendix B of this document.
  15. ^ "Tokelau happy as forum associate member". Pacific News. Radio New Zealand International. 2016-09-27. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  16. ^ Unattributed (2008-08-22). "Decision on Wallis bid to join Forum (as Associate Member) deferred". Latest Pacific News Headlines. Radio New Zealand International. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
  17. ^ 國際組織參與現狀
  18. ^ "Land area rankings". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  19. ^ "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  20. ^ "United Nations" (2010 Data).
  21. ^ a b c Vula, Timoci (2011-09-09). "Slade back at the helm". Fiji Times. Archived from the original on 2014-08-08.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  22. ^ Fisher, Mue (2011-09-09). "Forum Leaders endorse Slade's second term as SG". PRESS STATEMENT (83/11). Forum Secretariat. Archived from the original on 2014-02-25.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  23. ^ Dave Peebles -Pacific Regional Order 2005 1920942467- Page 141 "As discussed in Chapter Four, in 1995 the Forum instituted a new annual meeting, the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM). According to the Forum Secretariat, the FEMM 'plays a key role in assessing regional economic developments, ...
  24. ^ "Page Not Found - Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 May 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  25. ^ a b "Page Not Found - Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 May 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  26. ^ "Solomon Islands Ready to Trade Under PICTA", Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
  27. ^ "Vanuatu ready to trade under PICTA", People's Daily Online
  28. ^ [1] Protocol
  29. ^ Pacific Trade in Services Negotiations - First Round, Pacific Island Forum Secretariat
  30. ^ Gao (2008-08-22). "Fiji ministers "angry" at Pacific Islands Forum's suspension warning". World. Xinhuanet. Retrieved 2008-08-23. "Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Pacific leaders were losing patience with Fiji's interim government. He said Australia will mobilize any resources necessary to restore democracy to Fiji."
  31. ^ Unattributed (2008-08-19). "UN to Help Pacific Island States Fight Climate Change". Environment News Service. Archived from the original on 2014-08-30.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  32. ^ Unattributed (2013-09-19). "Nuclear contamination still an issue for Marshall Islands". Radio Australia. Retrieved 2013-09-19.
  33. ^ Unattributed (2013-09-19). "Marshall Islands minister unhappy with John Key nuclear response". Radio New Zealand International. Retrieved 2013-09-19.
  34. ^ "Geo Politics At Play Over Leader's Lack of Expressed Commitment on West Papua". PIANGO. Retrieved 30 September 2016.

External links


.ki is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Kiribati.

From the early 1990s to the early 2000s the domain was managed on behalf of the Republic of Kiribati by an Australian ISP, with the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, based in Honiara, Solomon Islands as original sponsor, then transferred to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Development of Kiribati and finally to the Ministry of Communications, Transport, and Tourism Development. In 2002 direct management of the ccTLD was transferred to Telecom Services Kiribati Limited. This initial set up was done by Franck Martin. As of 2007, the registry is being handled by the Telecommunications Authority of Kiribati using a system of multiple registrars similar to that used by gTLDs; however, few sites are using .ki domains. Because of the location of Kiribati and limited Internet connection, it is not uncommon for a website in Kiribati, such as a government website, to be very slow or inaccessible, however a lot of .ki sites are hosted outside Kiribati.

45th Pacific Islands Forum

The 45th Pacific Islands Forum was held from 29 July to 1 August 2014 in Palau. The forum's official opening was held in the capital Ngerulmud, in Melekeok State, but the majority of events were held in Koror, Palau's largest city and former capital. The official theme of the meeting was "The Ocean: Life & Future". Topics under discussion include climate change, commercial fishing, non-communicable diseases and the possibility of readmitting Fiji to the forum.

Australia–Palau relations

Australia–Palau relations are the bilateral relations between Australia and Palau. Both countries are members of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).

Feleti Teo

Feleti Penitala Teo OBE (born 9 October 1962) is the Executive Director of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and a former Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum. Teo has also served as Attorney General of Tuvalu and Director General of the Forum Fishery Agency.

Forum Fisheries Agency

The Forum Fisheries Agency is an organization run by the Pacific Islands Forum.

It operates the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre, headquartered in the Solomon Islands, and annually runs an Operation Kurukuru -- a joint effort to board and inspect suspicious fishing vessels.

Greg Urwin

Gregory Lawrence Urwin PSM CSI (21 August 1946 – 9 August 2008) was an Australian career diplomat and top Pacific specialist. Urwin held the post of Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, an important inter-governmental regional organisation from 2004 until 2 May 2008. Urwin had been the longest serving Australian diplomat in the Pacific at the time of his death in 2008. Urwin was also the first non-Pacific Islander to become Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum.During his tenure as a diplomat and Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Urwin was considered to be instrumental in the rebuilding of failed states and promotion of political stability in the region - especially with the RAMSI mission in the Solomon Islands.

Henry Naisali

Hon. Henry Faati Naisali (12 August 1928 – 20 October 2004) AO, CMG, MBE, OBE was a Tuvaluan politician who served as Deputy Prime Minister of Tuvalu (1985-1989), Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum (1988-1992) and Pro-Chancellor of The University of the South Pacific (1985-1990). He is notable for co-founding the Tuvalu Trust Fund which lead Tuvalu to achieve greater financial autonomy.

Naisali was educated in New Zealand and trained as an accountant. He participated in the negotiations in London which resulted in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony being separated into the British colonies of Kiribati and Tuvalu.

Ieremia Tabai

Ieremia Tienang Tabai (modern orthography - Tabwai), born 16 December 1949, was the first Beretitenti (President) of the Republic of Kiribati. During his presidency he was described as being the most able leader of the Pacific island states.He was born in Nonouti in 1949, and went to New Zealand to receive his education (St Andrew's College in Christchurch and then going onto

Victoria University in Wellington). He then returned to Kiribati and worked as an accountant. He was elected to the House of Assembly of the Gilbert Islands, representing Nonouti, in 1974.

In 1976, the Gilbert Islands received limited self-government, and Tabai served as leader of the Opposition in a system dominated less by formal political parties than by loose coalitions of like-minded members. In this position, he regularly expressed criticism of the perceived centralist tendencies of Chief Minister Naboua Ratieta's government, expressing particular distaste for Ratieta's plans for an expensive defence department and the westernisation he was bringing to Kiribati. He fought in favor of traditional Gilbertese culture, helped to publicise the complaints of village copra growers, and criticized what he saw as a disproportionate amount of government expenditure on Tarawa over the other islands. Tabai became Chief Minister in 1978.

He demonstrated a talent for negotiation when he led his government in discussions with the United Kingdom over a financial settlement regarding the demands of the Banabans for compensation for the loss of their ancestral homeland of Banaba (Ocean Island), which had been devastated by phosphate mining, and their demands that it become independent of Kiribati. In 1979 Tabai was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) by Queen Elizabeth II, and became Beretitenti of the Republic of Kiribati at independence on 12 July 1979. He served as Beretitenti from 1979 until 1991, with a short interruption from 1982 until 1983, serving the maximum number of terms allowed by law. In 1982 he received an honorary knighthood from the Queen - Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG).Tabai was a member of the National Progressive Party. As Beretitenti, he displayed a strong aversion to being dependent on aid, saying at one point the people were "better poor but free". During his administration, he signed a deal for tuna with fishing authorities from the Soviet Union. The Soviets chose not to renew the deal, saying that the catch they gathered was not worth the licensing fee Tabai demanded. Under his administration, the government also placed its earnings from phosphate mining in a trust fund. The interest from the fund had been used to pay for development projects.After retiring from politics, Tabai served as Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum from 1992 until 1998.

In May 1996 he was appointed an Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia, "for service to Australian-Pacific Islands countries relations, particularly as Secretary-General to the South Pacific Forum".In 1999 he was fined for trying to establish an independent radio station in Kiribati, which he described as "censorship". In 2000, he founded a newspaper, the Kiribati New Star.Tabai returned to politics and was re-elected to the Kiribati parliament, again representing Nonouti, in 2007. He retained his seat in the 2011 and 2015-16 elections. He is aligned with the Boutokaan Te Koaua (Pillars of Truth) party.

He also serves as a secretary for Pacific Magazine.

Majuro Declaration

The Majuro Declaration is an initiative of the Pacific Islands Forum, which was signed on 5 September 2013 at Majuro in the Marshall Islands during the 44th Pacific Islands Forum summit. At the summit the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum nations recognised the need for strengthened national systems to plan for, access, deliver, absorb and monitor climate change and for donor countries to continue to simplify and harmonise their assessment, implementation and reporting processes for financing projects directed to climate change adaptation, mitigation and risk reduction.The intention of the Majuro Declaration is to highlight the commitment of the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum nations to the reduction and phasing down of greenhouse gas pollution worldwide, with the leaders wanting to spark a “new wave of climate leadership”.

Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations

The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) is an umbrella agreement between members of the Pacific Islands Forum (the Forum Island Countries plus Australia and New Zealand) which provides a framework for the future development of trade cooperation.

It was first signed at Nauru on 18 August 2001 and entered into force on 3 October 2002. It is a framework agreement that sets an outline for the future development of trade and economic relations across the Forum region as a whole.

It does not contain substantive trade liberalisation provisions; rather it envisages a step-by-step process of trade liberalisation. This starts with a free trade agreement in goods among Pacific Island countries (PICTA – the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement), in the process of implementation as of September 2008, and later likely to be extended to services. PACER provides for programmes of assistance to the island country members with trade facilitation and capacity building. It also foreshadows future negotiations on Forum-wide reciprocal free trade (including Australia and New Zealand). For the moment these negotiations are not scheduled until 2011, but they are likely to be brought forward as a consequence of the Pacific Island countries' negotiation of an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union.

In May 2005, Forum Trade Ministers decided that there was a need to move beyond SPARTECA towards a more comprehensive framework for trade and economic cooperation between Australia, New Zealand and the FICs, as provided for under PACER, to foster economic growth, investment and employment in the Pacific region. They called for a study to investigate the potential impacts of a move towards such a comprehensive framework and for an analysis of FIC needs in regard to capacity building, trade promotion and structural reform. Terms of reference for the study were approved in 2006 and a draft of the study presented to Trade Ministers in 2007.

PACER includes a Regional Trade Facilitation Programme to improve the trading capacity of Pacific Island countries. This provides technical assistance at a regional level through the Pacific Islands Forum, Secretariat of the Pacific Community and Oceania Customs Organisation on a number of key issues in regards to customs facilitation, quarantine procedures and standards and conformance assessment. This regional trade facilitation work is financially supported by New Zealand.

PACER Plus is the proposed free trade agreement between the Forum Island Countries and Australia and New Zealand. The Forum Island Countries strongly believed of the need to have an independent body to provide advice and support for the negotiation of the PACER Plus, therefore the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser (OCTA) was to be established. On 29 March 2010, the Chief Trade Adviser Chris Noonan was appointed, this is the first step towards establishing the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser. The independence of the OCTA may have been compromised by the assistance it is receiving from some donor agencies.

A key element for improving intra-regional trade will be to improve air services and shipping links in the region, so that goods can be moved more quickly through the region and to other markets. The Pacific Islands Air Services Agreement (PIASA) which came into force in October 2007 is intended to lead to a single aviation market and bring benefits in terms of increased access to air routes between Pacific Island Countries, more airline alliances and code-sharing arrangements, and cost savings for airlines and travellers.

Progress in opening up the aviation market follows success by the region in improving shipping. In 1977 the Pacific Islands Forum set up the Pacific Forum Line a regional shipping line with the mandate to function both as a business and means of regional development. The company, headquartered in Auckland, began trading in 1978. It struggled in its early years but is now profitable. The New Zealand Government is a shareholder in the line. Work is proceeding under the Pacific Plan on options for improving feeder shipping services to a number of small island states

Pacific Alliance Leaders Meeting

The Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) is a forum between the government of Japan and leaders in the Pacific Islands region. The Pacific Island Leaders Meeting was established by Japan in 1997 in order to facilitate and strengthen relations with the leaders of the nations of the Pacific Islands Forum. Since its foundation, PALM has become an important venue of dialogue between Japan and Pacific Island nations for important issues such as development aid and climate change.

Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) is an intergovernmental agency established in 1979 to facilitate regional co-operation and co-ordination on fisheries policies between its member states in order to achieve conservation and optimum utilisation of living marine resources, in particular highly migratory fish stocks, for the benefit of the peoples of the region, in particular the developing countries. The office campus is located in Honiara, Solomon Islands

Pacific Plan

The Pacific Plan, endorsed by Forum Leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Port Moresby in 2005, is a document designed to strengthen Pacific regional integration and cooperation. Its four key pillars are designed for development progress: economic growth, sustainable development, good governance, and security. As a 'living document', it states that the Pacific, as a region, must work to address these challenges to raise living standards, increase access to opportunity and stimulate pro-poor growth for its peoples. Pacific Forum Secretariat, 2007

Pacific Union

The Pacific Union is a proposed development of the Pacific Islands Forum, suggested in 2003 by a committee of the Australian Senate, into a political and economic intergovernmental community. The union, if formed, will have a common charter, institutions and currency. Although former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard spoke of a Pacific Union whilst in office, his government's emphasis was focused on bilateral relations and agreements with the individual states of the Forum.

Polynesian Leaders Group

The Polynesian Leaders Group (PLG) is an international governmental cooperation group bringing together eight independent or self-governing countries or territories in Polynesia.

The idea of a Polynesian regional grouping had been discussed for several years, notably in response to the Melanesian Spearhead Group, a regional grouping for countries in Melanesia. In September 2011, Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi initiated a meeting with the leaders of Tonga, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands and Niue on the margins of the Pacific Islands Forum summit in Auckland. These initial talks led to a second meeting in Apia which, on November 17, led to a memorandum of understanding formally establishing the Polynesian Leaders Group (PLG).The Group does not have a fixed Secretariat at present, despite initial suggestions that one would be established in Apia. The Group held its first formal meeting in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands in August 2012.

Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is the Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). The Secretariat is based in Suva, Fiji.

The Secretary General of the Secretariat is appointed to a three-year term in office by the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum member states. The Secretary General reports directly to the leaders of the member states and the Forum Officials' Committee (FOC). He or she automatically serves as the permanent chairman or chairwoman of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP).

South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement

The South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement (SPARTECA) is a nonreciprocal trade agreement in which Australia and New Zealand offer duty-free and unrestricted access for specified products originating from the developing island member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum. Signed in 1980 in Tarawa and subject to Rules of Origin regulations, the agreement was designed to address the unequal trade relationships between the two groups. The textiles, clothing and footwear (TCF) industry has been a major beneficiary of SPARTECA through the preferential access to Australian and New Zealand markets. The agreement entered into force on 1 January 1981.

Tuiloma Neroni Slade

Tuiloma Neroni Slade (born 8 April 1941 in Samoa) held the post of secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat from 2008 to 4 December 2014. He was elected to the position for three years on 20 August 2008. Slade was reappointed to a second term by the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum on 8 September 2011.

Waigani Convention

The 1995 Waigani Convention is a treaty that bans the exporting of hazardous or radioactive waste to Pacific Islands Forum countries, and prohibits Forum island countries from importing such waste. The convention has been ratified by Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. It entered into force in 2001.

States that are eligible to ratify the convention but have not yet done so are France, the United Kingdom, Marshall Islands, the United States, and Palau. Palau has signed the agreement but has not ratified it.

Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)
Associate members
Observer Organisations
Dialogue partners
and policies
Political economy
Regional organizations
Exports by product

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