Pacific Islands Forum

Outgoing Forum chair wants Pacific speaking with one voice

Samoa takes over the chairmanship of the Forum at the 48th Forum summit in Apia early next month.

But Mr Christian will still be an integral part of the organisation, becoming one of the Forum Troika Leaders, made up of past, present and incoming Forum chairs.

At a recent meeting with the Forum secretary general, Dame Meg Taylor, Mr Christian spoke of the socio-economic and related development issues facing the region.

A critical matter for him is air transport, which has long been seen as a barrier to island nations' attempts to strengthen their economies.

People’s Republic of China continues to support the Pacific Islands Forum

The money was handed over to Forum’s Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor last week.

During the handover, the SG thanked China for their ongoing support through the fund and strong relationship between China and Pacific.

“I’d particularly like to thank you for the ongoing support to the Pacific Trade and Invest (PTI China) office in Beijing. The trade relationships we have with China are very important and the work of this office continues to help in their development,” she said.

PIF to send observers

The PIF observer team to arrive in the country this week will comprise of Solomon Islands Electoral Commissioner Taeasi Sanga, Nauru Electoral Commissioner Joseph Cain and Tonga Electoral Commissioner Pita Vuki.

The mission will be supported by staff from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

The 14 days of nationwide polling will begin on June 24.

PIF Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor, said the Forum was pleased to accept the invitation from the Government of Papua New Guinea.

Forum expansion unlocks new questions

RNZ reports the Forum was set up in 1971 to counter the influence of the major colonial powers, but with French Polynesia and New Caledonia added at this year's summit, France has effectively become a member of the body.

This raises questions about whether other territories in the region, such as Tokelau, American Samoa or Guam should now be included.

The director of the Pasifika Centre at Massey University, Malakai Koloamatangi, said the move had opened a lot of avenues that had seemed closed in the past.

Forum urged to act decisively on West Papua

RNZ reports for years Papuans have claimed they have been denied basic rights, particularly self-determination, and are constantly subject to Indonesian state oppression.

Demographic change in the region has also left Papuans fast becoming a minority, dominated by Indonesian culture, and has added urgency to the latest call by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) for help from the Pacific Islands Forum.

RAMSI not leaving Solomons till June 2017

The mission's special coordinator made the distinction after a Pacific Islands Forum meeting last week alluded to the mission being decommissioned in September.

Quinton Devlin says this is not the case, saying that the Forum Leaders' meeting in September will simply be an opportunity to consider the progress achieved by Solomon Islands.

He says the Forum's announcement in September would be a mere formality before the Australian-led mission leaves Solomon Islands next June, after 14 years.

PNG to chair PIF till September

Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato in his ministerial statement to Parliament today said the government will do its utmost to ensure that PIF’s agenda for development is actively progressed.

“In line with our government’s commitment to regional co-operation, we have made sure that our assessed contributions to the PIF, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and other regional organization are all paid so that these organisations can work together effectively,” he said.

PIF declaration will initiate global recognition of region’s vulnerabilities

It will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month.

The UN meeting will be held on September 25-27 in New York to formally adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda.

This momentous agenda will serve as the launch pad for action by the international community and by national governments to promote shared prosperity and well-being for the next 15 years.

Tonga calls for regional airline

'Akilisi Pohiva attended his first Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Port Moresby last week.

Mr Pohiva says it was a good chance to observe regionalism at work.

However he says greater cooperation is also needed when it comes to the airways of the Pacific.

MSG leader wants unified Pacific position on climate

The comment from Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, comes after his fellow Pacific Islands Forum leaders failed to reach a unified position on the issue.

Most countries had wanted to push for a temperature increase over pre-industrial levels of less than 1.5 degrees celsius at the COP21 meeting in Paris.

But this was opposed by New Zealand and Australia and the Forum concluded with a weaker 'agree to disagree' position.