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Pacific Islands regional organisation

Pacific islands regional organisations

Australia greatly values its close historical, political, economic, development, security and people-to-people links with the island countries and territories of the Pacific. Australia works closely with Pacific island countries to support economic growth, stability, and sustainable development. Australia is a founding member of and active participant in the main political and technical organisations in the Pacific, which play an important role in developing collective regional responses to critical issues, including responding to the impacts of COVID-19.

  • The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) is the region's principal political grouping. Established in 1971, its membership comprises Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Tokelau and Wallis and Futuna are associate members. The Forum's annual Leaders' Retreat is the peak regional political meeting for political discussions on deeper regional cooperation and integration. DFAT also supports Australia’s participation in the annual and ad-hoc Forum Ministerial Meetings. Forum members are serviced by a Secretariat based in Suva, Fiji. In 2020, Australia contributed approximately 32% of the budget for the PIF Secretariat. See the Pacific Regional – effective regional institutions page for further information about Australia’s support to the PIF.
  • The Pacific Community (SPC) delivers technical assistance, policy advice, training and research services for the region. The SPC membership comprises American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, France, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States of America, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna. Its programs span a number of sectors addressing sustainable economic development, natural resource and environmental management, and human and social development. In 2020, Australia contributed approximately 28.5% of the SPC budget. See the Pacific Regional – effective regional institutions page for further information about Australia’s support to SPC.
  • The Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) is an advisory body that assists members to strengthen national capacity and regional solidarity to maximise benefits from the conservation and sustainable use of their tuna fisheries resources. Alongside fisheries management and development assistance, the FFA operates the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre which provides a central link for coordinated action against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. In 2019, Australia contributed approximately 18% of the FFA budget. See the Pacific Regional – Economic growth: fisheries assistance page for further information on Australia’s support to the FFA and other regional fisheries assistance.
  • The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) provides assistance in order to protect and improve the Pacific environment and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations. For example, SPREP contributes to Pacific engagement on United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations. Australia provides $4.3 million core funding to SPREP annually, as well as additional program funding. For example, the Pacific Ocean Litter Project ($16 million, 2019-2025) focuses on reducing the sources of single-use plastics in the marine environment. See the Australia and the Pacific: partnering to support sustainable oceans and livelihoods page for further information on Australia’s support to SPREP and other regional environmental protection assistance.

Cooperation and collaboration between Pacific regional organisations is promoted through the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP). Established in 1988 by Forum Leaders, CROP comprises the four organisations listed above, as well as the following five organisations:

  • The University of the South Pacific (USP), a premier provider of tertiary education in the Pacific region and an international centre of excellence for teaching, research and consulting on all aspects of Pacific life (see the Pacific Regional – Economic growth: education page for further information on Australia’s support to USP and other regional education assistance)
  • The Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP), housed in the East-West Center in Hawaii, assists Pacific Islands Leaders to advance their collective efforts to achieve and sustain equitable social and economic development consistent with the goals of the Pacific islands region's people
  • The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), which is the mandated inter-governmental body for the tourism sector in the region, with the mission to market and develop tourism in the South Pacific
  • The Pacific Power Association (PPA), which promotes the direct cooperation of Pacific island power utilities in technical training, exchange of information, sharing of senior management and engineering expertise and other activities of benefit to the members
  • The Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) which oversees aviation safety and security in the Pacific Islands using guidelines provided by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat acts as CROP's permanent chair and provides secretariat support. Further information can be found at the CROP website.

See the Pacific Regional - effective regional institutions page for further information about Australia’s support for Pacific regional organisations.

Partnerships

Australia has signed Partnership Arrangements with some of the key regional bodies, which set out our shared visions for cooperation and integration.

Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Meetings

In addition to the annual Leaders Retreat, the Pacific Islands Forum convenes a range of other high-level ministerial meetings. There are standing annual meetings of Forum Foreign Ministers and Forum Economic Ministers Meetings. An annual meeting of Pacific Women Leaders will commence in 2021 and Forum Trade Ministers will begin to meet every two years. The Forum also coordinates with other Pacific regional organisations to facilitate high-level government contact.

More information is on the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Meetings page.

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