The Pacific Islands Forum could be headed for some changes after Pacific foreign ministers met and discussed important issues in Suva.
On the table were topics such as the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent (2050 Strategy), the Suva Agreement, climate change, the Rarotonga Treaty and related nuclear issues, climate change related sea level rise, and maritime zones.
There was a hint that a review of the Pacific Islands Forum is very likely. While the meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum leaders convenes next week, the foreign ministers have the task to discuss the Pacific’s united foreign policy.
China’s wider security and trade deal which it had offered to Pacific nations individually is on the top of the agenda as well.
While the region will discuss China, some Pacific nations do not hold diplomatic ties with China. Tuvalu for one will have something to say about China given their treatment during the Ocean Conference last week.
The meeting was chaired by Fiji’s Minister for Trade and Commerce Faiyaz Koya in the absence of Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama who is in Indonesia.
“We can sit together at this table and get to the heart of the matters which are critical to our region. This face-to-face meeting gives us an opportunity to be clear where clarity is needed, to understand each other and to provide flexibility where needed……and where necessary to step out and Talanoa or take a few bowls of kava when we need to paint the picture with more clarity,” said Mr Koya in his opening remarks.
“The agenda before you begins with an opportunity to think critically about broader global and regional trends including geopolitics. As well as our own region dynamics, within this context we need to ensure that we build on our own solidarity as a Pacific Family and to set ourselves on the right course for our people and for the Blue Pacific Continent.
From the outset, the 2050 Strategy for a Blue Pacific Continent looks to be the main topic for the Forum. The 2050 Strategy is a critical element in regional work and is placed to be the ‘north star’ of future national and regional policies and development.
The review of institutional processes at the secretariat will also take place and with that there will be deliberation over the Report of the Forum Officials’ Committee on the appointment procedures for the position of the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum and the implementation of the Suva Agreement.
The Suva Agreement has now become a political commitment to resolve impasses within the Pacific.
Mr Koya said like all families, even the Pacific family endured rough patches, but the region’s strength lied in its resolve to work together as one Blue Pacific Continent.
“History has shown that the Pacific Islands Forum has been at its best in moments of challenge, when our solidarity and resolve have been both necessary and tested,” he said.
“Rest assured that the Forum and its Secretariat will emerge from our current challenges with a renewed vigor to serve its members and to serve our people,” he said.