Pacific Regionalism

When Pacific Islands Forum Leaders met in 2014 they embraced Pacific Regionalism as:

"The expression of a common sense of identity and purpose, leading progressively to the sharing of institutions, resources, and markets, with the purpose of complementing national efforts, overcoming common constraints, and enhancing sustainable and inclusive development within Pacific countries and territories and for the Pacific region as a whole."

The Framework for Pacific Regionalism represents a high-level commitment to pursuing deeper regionalism. It articulates the vision, values and objectives of an enhanced Pacific regionalism, and sets out a process for developing and prioritising regional public policy. This is intended to be an inclusive process, by which anyone can propose ideas for regional initiatives to address the key challenges facing the Pacific.

In 2014, in response to a comprehensive and independent Pacific Plan Review by Sir Mekere Morauta, KCMG, former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Leaders’ of the Pacific Islands Forum adopted the Framework for Pacific Regionalism. The Framework sets out the vision, values, objectives and approaches towards deeper regionalism, while recognising the inherently political nature of this ambition. It also outlines a regional public policy process to negotiate and agree a handful of “game-changing” regional priorities.

What is in the Framework for Pacific Regionalism?

The Framework rests on the belief that deeper regionalism will help increase socio-economic and development prospects, expand market opportunities, improve service delivery, and contribute to security and good governance for Pacific people and for the region as a whole; and that to drive deeper regionalism, we need good processes and clear political direction.

The Framework for Pacific Regionalism is a short and readable document that Pacific peoples can easily refer to for guidance on how regional priorities are set and monitored by Leaders. Download the Framework here.

The Framework has six sections and one annex:

Vision: The Framework begins with a short and memorable vision statement for the region, drawing wording from the Leaders’ Vision of 2004, with some updates to reflect the 2014 context: “a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity, so that all Pacific people can lead free, healthy, and productive lives”.

Values: The Framework sets out a set of values that should underpin all of the work we do in the region, and be reflected in all policy making. These values capture cross-cutting issues such as gender equality, inclusiveness, and good partnerships.

Strategic objectives: The Framework presents four high-level strategic objectives for regionalism, which continue on from the four pillars of the Pacific Plan: sustainable development, equitable and inclusive economic growth, strengthened governance, and security. All regional initiatives forwarded for Leaders’ consideration would be expected to support these objectives.

Forms of regionalism: The Framework sets out a range of options for pursuing regionalism, including coordination, cooperation, collaboration (which includes service pooling), harmonisation, economic integration, and institutional integration.

Processes for priority setting: The Framework specifies a robust process that should be followed to support rigorous application of special criteria for regionalism, and well-focused, high-level attention on only the highest priorities for regional action.

Under this process, a wide range of stakeholders—including civil society, other regional organisations, the private sector, and development partners—are invited and encouraged to submit proposals through the Forum Secretariat for regional collective action.

A specialist sub-committee of the Forum Officials Committee (FOC) will oversee the selection of a small number of priority regional initiatives for Leaders’ consideration, submitting its recommendations to Leaders via the FOC.

Ministers and officials will have an ongoing role in driving regional cooperation through decisive collective action in their areas of expertise, and in providing direction to regional organisations when they sign off on annual work plans.

Measuring progress: The Framework explains how progress in pursuing regionalism should be measured, through monitoring and evaluation of specific initiatives, regular assessment of progress towards regionalism (including the appropriateness and effectiveness of the Framework itself), and reflection on the contribution of regionalism towards national plans and objectives. All CROP agencies would have a role to play in these measurements.

Annex: Tests for regionalism: An annex to the Framework presents tests or criteria for determining which regional initiatives will be considered as priorities for regional collective action. These tests will help support good decision-making and promote transparency in priority-setting.

Click the links below for more information:

Background Information:
The Pacific Plan (2005-2012)
Pacific Plan Review (2013)

Recent Media Commentary:
Q&A with the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor New Forum
Forum SG Dame Meg Taylor in-depth on her Pacific listening tour

Contact: For more information about the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, including how to submit a regional initiative, contact the Pacific Regional Office at the Forum Secretariat:

Telephone: +679 322 0327

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