The Pacific Islands Forum
The Pacific Islands Forum is a political grouping of 16 independent and self-governing states.
Members include Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshal Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
New Caledonia and French Polynesia, previously Forum Observers, were granted Associate Membership in 2006. Forum Observers include Tokelau (2005), Wallis and Futuna (2006), the Commonwealth (2006), the United Nations (2006) the Asian Development Bank (2006), Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (2007), the World Bank (2010), the ACP Group (2011), American Samoa (2011), Guam (2011) and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (2011), with Timor Leste as Special Observer (2002).
The annual Forum meetings are chaired by the Head of Government of the Host Country (currently Cook Islands), who remains as Forum Chair until the next meeting.
Since 1989, the Forum has held Post Forum Dialogues with key Dialogue Partners at Ministerial level. There are currently 14 partners – Canada, People’s Republic of China, European Union, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States.
The Pacific Islands Forum was founded in 1971 as the South Pacific Forum. In 2000, the name was changed to the Pacific Islands Forum to better reflect the geographic location of its members in the north and south Pacific.
Founding members of the Pacific Islands Forum were Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, Tonga and Western Samoa – now Samoa.
The Secretariat to the Forum was initially established as a trade bureau in 1972 and later became the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Co-operation (SPEC). In 2000, when the name of the Forum changed, the Secretariat became the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is based in Suva, Fiji. The Secretariat’s mandate is delivered through the annual Leaders’ Communiqués and high level ministerial meeting decisions.
The Forum Secretariat is led by the Secretary General (currently Tuiloma Neroni Slade of Samoa) who is directly responsible to the Forum Leaders and to the Forum Officials’ Committee (FOC). FOC is the Secretariat’s governing body comprising representatives from all Forum members.
The Forum Secretariat is also mandated to coordinate the implementation of the Pacific Plan for strengthening regional cooperation and integration.
The Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat is permanent Chair of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP). CROP brings together nine main regional organisations in the Pacific region:
The Forum Secretariat also has an office in Geneva, Switzerland, for the Permanent Delegation of the Pacific Islands Forum to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
As part of its outreach assistance to Members, the Forum Secretariat has desk officers in the Smaller Island States (SIS) of Cook Islands, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, and Tuvalu to complement the resources of its smallest Members. The Forum Secretariat also has a representative based in Solomon Islands and plans to widen representation in other member countries.
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is an international organisation established by treaty, enjoying legal personality in each of its sixteen member countries.