Feature Articles & Opinion Editorials

February 27, 2023

Communique of the 2023 Pacific Islands Forum Special Leaders Retreat

The Pacific Islands Forum Special Leaders Retreat was held in Nadi, Fiji, on 24 February 2023, and was attended by Heads of State, Government, and Territories from the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. French Polynesia was represented by its Vice President, and New Zealand by its Deputy Prime Minister. Australia and Papua New Guinea were represented at Ministerial level. The Special Leaders Retreat was held at Denarau Island, Nadi.
February 6, 2023

OP-ED: Japan must work with the Pacific to find a solution to the Fukushima water release issue – otherwise we face disaster

Over the past 20 months, Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) members have been in dialogue with the government of Japan on its proposed plans to release over a million tonnes of contaminated nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean as announced in April 2021. I was heartened by the very strong position taken by PIF Members from the outset, that Japan should hold off on any such release until we are certain about the implications of this proposal on the environment and on human health, especially recognising that the majority of our Pacific peoples are coastal peoples, and that the ocean continues to be an integral part of their subsistence living. We have taken significant steps to work with Japan to understand their position and the rationale underpinning its unilateral decision. As a region, we committed to working with them at the technical level and engaged an independent panel of five scientific experts in key fields such as nuclear power and radiation, high energy physics, marine chemistry, biochemistry, marine biology, and oceanography to provide an independent scientific assessment of the impacts of such a release.
February 25, 2022

OP-ED: In a sea of climate disappointment, the ocean must take centre stage in all future climate discussions

In this opinion piece, Oceans Commissioner and PIF Secretary General, Henry Puna, discusses the importance of having a climate ocean agenda and a continued push for a greater oceans focus in the UNFCCC process.
February 16, 2022

Blue-Pacific priorities to the fore at France Summit

Brest, France, Feb 11th, 2022- Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna has called on all States to play their part when it comes to maintaining the health of the ocean. SG Puna made the plea as he attended the One Ocean Summit conference in Brest, France, also attending in his capacity as the Pacific Ocean Commissioner. Commissioner Puna drew attention to the priorities of the Blue Pacific including the importance of finalizing and adopting the agreement for marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions commonly known as BBNJ. In addition, he outlined the ground-breaking Declaration on Preserving Maritime Zones in the face of Climate Change-related Sea-level rise, recently adopted by Forum Leaders. (Click headline for full article)
September 23, 2021

Building a secure, inclusive Pacific-addressing gender inequality in COVID-19 times: with Forum Gender Specialist, Dr. Fiona Hukula

Our Blue Pacific, like the rest of the world has had to reassess the way we do business, public service, and everyday life. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges in our sea of islands, but it has also presented us the opportunity to build on our strengths-which lie very much in our kinship and relational ties as well as our ability to live of our land and sea. If anything, the pandemic has highlighted our need to continue to reflect on our dependence on imported goods, especially food and how we can live a more healthy and sustainable life. (Click headline for full article)
August 27, 2021

Where to next for the nuclear-free Blue Pacific? Full-circle insights with Samoa’s Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia

Every journey has four distinct features.   A point of reference, a starting line, sign posts, and a final destination. My point of reference for the Rarotonga Treaty was the establishment of the Pacific Islands Forum as a separate entity from the South Pacific Commission 50 years ago in August 1971. It was significant because it provided space for Pacific Leaders to discuss peace and security and political issues freely which they couldn't do within SPC because the metropolitan powers were present, and some of the issues were sensitive and directly affected some of them. So issues like Independence, Decolonization and Nuclear testing became the Pacific Forum's DNA.
May 14, 2021

“We have had enough”– Tuvalu’s Prime Minister on why the world needs to get behind the Pacific Resilience Facility

Climate change is our Pacific reality. Climate-induced disasters in the Pacific are now more frequent and severe. We are more at risk than any other region in the world. Five major cyclones have swept through the Pacific since 2015, causing losses of up to two-thirds of our GDP. In a matter of hours, one disaster wipes out a generation of development gains. Vulnerable communities, particularly women and girls, are most affected.
March 9, 2021

Remembering Papua New Guinea’s Grand Chief-NBC tribute interview with Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor

Basically, if we can start at the beginning and your role in the early days of PNG coming out of colonialism and into independence where was the late Grand Chief in all of this and how did you end up working in the role? SG Dame Meg Taylor If I may Leyann first of all, I would just like to extend my deepest sympathies publicly to Lady Veronica Somare and of course to Betha, Sana, Arthur, Michael and Dulcianna, all the family for the loss and our nation's loss. I first met Sir Michael Somare when I was at university at UPNG in 1970, with Rabbie Namaliu and Leo Hannet and several others, he had a PANGU party branch at UPNG and that's it in terms of the the interactions that I had with Chief. And then I joined the board of the National Museum, and art gallery, and he was also a member and I was a young, a very young person to be on that board. But we worked together. And that's how I knew him.
January 29, 2021

“Our strength lies in our solidarity”- Fiji’s clear call for regionalism.

This year marks 50 years since the founding of the Pacific Islands Forum. Six sovereign nations and the Cook Islands came together in Wellington in 1971 to form what was then the South Pacific Forum. The small island states of the Pacific were newly independent, and soon more would join as new nations formed from the rapidly diminishing colonial presence in our part of the world. Today we are 18 full members, plus associate members and partner states. Our success, however, is not just measured by our membership, because this is not a club; it is measured by our accomplishments, because we are a forum of sovereign nations confronting serious challenges in our region. With the support from the larger countries of Australia and New Zealand and other partner states and organizations, Pacific Island states have boldly and unashamedly asserted our interests and exercised our rights as sovereign nations through this forum. We have never assumed that our size should relegate us to a back seat in determining the future of this region—or indeed, the world. And we never will. So as we mark our golden anniversary this evening, we must take the opportunity to reflect on what we have achieved together, as one collective through the Pacific Islands Forum—and celebrate those achievements. Together, we fought for a nuclear-free Pacific and committed to the Rarotonga Treaty. Together, we negotiated and advocated what became the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea—and we are asserting our rights under that convention. Together, we have refined and committed to a region of democracy, peace and strengthened regional security.