Economic Policy

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    Forum Leaders have called for accelerated regional economic growth through sustainable management and development of the region’s resources and building the trade capacity and infrastructure needed to benefit from trade opening.

    Finance Economic Ministers have also reaffirmed the importance of strengthened regional economic integration to address development challenges, including inflationary pressures and challenges related to correspondent banking relationships and debt vulnerabilities.  Forum Economic Ministers also emphasised the importance of developing and discussing regional solutions and opportunities going forward.    

    To deliver on these priorities the Forum Secretariat coordinates regional economic initiatives including:

    • the development of the Pacific Roadmap for Economic Development (PRED) and its Implementation Plan
    • facilitation of the Pacific Economic Sub-Committee (PESC)
    • work on Correspondent Banking Relationships (CBR)
    • establishment of the Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF)
    • support for Forum members on economic policy initiatives in the region including diversifying sources of finance.
    Forum Economic Minister Meeting
    2022 Forum Economic Ministers Meeting, Vanuatu

    The Forum Secretariat implements the outcomes of the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM); these are the economic aspirations of Forum Member countries and territories. The Forum Secretariat is tasked with implementing regional collective actions that support these outcomes while at the same time respecting the sovereignty of Forum Members and recognising the different stages of development of Members. 

    The FEMM takes place annually and is made up of Forum Member states Finance and/or Economic Ministers.  Aside from the FEMM plenary, the meeting is also open to CROP agencies and Forum Observers at the discretion of the Secretary-General and features dialogues between members and development partners as well as private sector and civil society organisations.  

    Some of the key decisions that have come out of FEMM in recent years include:

    • Pacific Economic Sub-Committee (PESC) – The FEMM endorsed the establishment of PESC in 2022 to provide oversight of the implementation of FEMM decisions.  

      The PESC is made up of senior economic officials of Forum member countries and meet regularly during the year to deliberate on key initiatives endorsed by FEMM.  The  PESC is also responsible for formulating the FEMM Agenda and issues of priority to be discussed at FEMM.

    • Formulation of the Pacific Roadmap for Economic Development (PRED) – FEMM endorsed the formulation of the the PRED in 2023.  Forum Leaders endorsed the 2050 Strategy of the Blue Pacific Continent in 2022 and the subsequent approval of the 2050 Strategy implementation Plan in 2023.  

      Behind the vision of Leaders is the economic prosperity and wellbeing of the Pacific people, the PRED seeks to align the vision of Leaders to pathways that will enable Forum members to achieve socio-economic wellbeing for all Pacific people.  The PRED will be one of the vehicles that enables members to achieve this vision.

    • Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF) – FEMM endorsed the reframed and redesigned version of the PRF and urged the collective support towards PRF as a transformative initiative that emphasises the importance of national and regional approaches to benefit Pacific communities at grassroots level to quickly access climate finance for adaption needs effectively.
    • Correspondent Banking relationships (CBR): At the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) in August 2023, Economic Ministers endorsed a report by the World Bank on the closure of correspondent banking relationships in the Pacific. The report showed that CBRs continue to decline, although experiences differed between Member Countries.  The decline of CBRs is taking place against the general global decline over the past decade. 

      The analysis of de-risking initiatives in the Pacific reflected the varied range of interventions and actions.  While such interventions resulted in strengthened integrity frameworks and regulations, improved data collection and management, and better compliance and enforcement capacity, they have not had a clear impact on reversing the de-risking trend. 

      The Secretariat is collaborating with partners like World Bank, Australia, New Zealand, US Treasury and ADB to implement the FEMM outcomes on the matter.  As a result, a detailed multi-year roadmap was developed and endorsed by PESC to deliver the recommendations in the World Bank report, in line with the FEMM mandate.

      Memorandum of understanding between the United States Department of the Treasury and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

      REPORT: The Decline of Correspondent Banking in Pacific Island Countries

      Correspondent Banking relationships (CBR) Roadmap

      Draft Environmental and Social Commitment Plan (ESCP)


    • EU List of Non-Cooperative Tax Jurisdictions: Forum Economic Ministers dealt with this at their meeting in August 2023. In the latest review of the EU list in 14 February 2024, four Pacific Island Forum Members: Fiji, Palau, Samoa, and Vanuatu are on the EU list.  The Pacific is disproportionately over-represented on the list, noting that they account for a small percentage of tax revenues foregone by EU Members, compared to other countries on the list or those not on the list. Listed countries are placed in a disadvantaged position in terms of reputational damage and in their ability to access international development assistance and investment flows.

      The Secretariat has been working with its Members on the list to enable compliance with the EU concerns, but the process has been slow.  The Secretariat will continue to support Member states and engage in regional and international advocacy, facilitate the flow of information and coordinate assistance between the EU and listed members, as directed by Forum Economic Ministers.

    Forum Leaders and Finance Ministers recognize the need to generate economic prosperity from our natural resources and therefore the Forum Secretariat also prioritises the need to strengthen focus on blue economy and/or fisheries sector to contribute to the regional agenda of economic prosperity from our resources.  Economic Ministers reaffirmed the importance of capturing the centrality of the ocean in harnessing and maximizing sustainable returns from the blue economy while ensuring the health and integrity of the ocean and its resources.  This will also be a key area of focus under the PRED and is also aligned to the 2050 Strategy and its Implementation Plan.  

    The Secretariat also supports regional partners such as FFA and SPC and their members in their endeavors to increase economic returns from fisheries, a decision by Forum Leaders in 2015.

    The Forum Secretariat acknowledges the support of development partners in driving regional economic priorities as a collective.  Critical to supporting the work of the Economic Policy team are our CROP Agencies, that is, FFA, SPC, SPREP and USP.  Also key to our engagement are international organization such as IMF, World Bank, ADB, PFTAC, PASAI and UN Agencies such as UNDP, UNCDF and UNESCAP.  We also acknowledge academia and other non-traditional partners such as UNSW that have provided support to the team.  We will continue to drive engagement and collaboration with all relevant partners.

    Correspondent Banking Relationships (CBR)