BLUFAustralia needs to put in a considered diplomatic effort to ensure the Pacific Island's forum's survival and ensure that all forum members benefit from being members.
The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) comprises Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, Australia and NZ. Previously there was a gentleman's agreement that the Secretary-General's position rotated around each of the regions. In 2021 it was the turn of Micronesia, but instead, a Cook Islander from the Polynesian region was narrowly elected. The Micronesian countries (pop c 312,000) were upset and gave notice that they intended to leave the Forum. Many Pacific nations depend on tourism and have been hard hit by Covid-19 travel bans. And when this is taken together with the area being subject to competition between China and the US, there are serious maritime security implications. The writer is optimistic that a compromise will be found and further argues that Australia needs to work hard to ensure that members do not leave the Forum. Consider how Australia benefits from being a member of the PIF.
- Home page The Pacific Islands Forum
- 2020 RAND U.S. Versus Chinese Powers of Persuasion Does the United States or China Have More Influence in the Indo-Pacific Region?
- Feb 2021 The Guardian 'Marginalising our own brothers and sisters': the disrespect Micronesia has been shown is a tragedy for the Pacific
- Feb 2021 ABC Pacific Islands Forum future on the line at critical meeting of Micronesian leaders
- Feb 2021 The Guardian Pacific Islands Forum in crisis as one-third of member nations quit