Forum Dialogue Partners
The Forum Dialogue Partner mechanism (formally known as the Post Forum Dialogue mechanism) was established by Forum Leaders in 1989 to invite selected countries outside of the Pacific Islands region with significant cooperation and engagement and political or economic interests, to participate in a dialogue with Forum Leaders.
The purpose of the Forum Dialogue Partner mechanism is to facilitate dialogue and engagement with countries outside of the Blue Pacific region which have significant cooperation, engagement and interests with the region, in order to build understanding, support and action on the Forum Leaders’ vision and regional priorities.
The Criteria and Guidelines for Forum Dialogue Partner can be accessed here.
The criteria for Forum Dialogue Partners, which must be met by countries at the time of admission and then continuously adhered to, are:
- Demonstratable commitment to advancing the vision and priorities of the Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum.
- Long-established historical connections to the Pacific region which could include strategic, security, economic, social, and cultural links.
- Long-term forward commitment to the Pacific region as demonstrated through foreign policy commitments, engagement strategies, diplomatic missions and engagement with regional organisations, and transparency in declaring economic, political, and strategic interests in engaging in the region.
- Dedicated support for the sustainable and resilient development of the Pacific region including development assistance, trade and investment promotion, knowledge transfer and technical cooperation, people to people exchange, and south-south cooperation.
- Shared interests and common positions on international issues and a commitment to using global networks and membership of international organisations to support Forum priorities.
- Commitment to engaging with the Forum in accordance with the Blue Pacific Principles for Dialogue and Engagement.
Current Dialogue Partners
There were five founding Dialogue Partners (Canada, France, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States of America). China became the sixth Dialogue Partner in 1990. The numbers have grown progressively since and currently there are 21 partners: Canada (1989), Chile (2021), People’s Republic of China (1990), Cuba (2012), European Union (1991), France (1989), Germany (2016), India (2003), Indonesia (2001), Italy (2007), Japan (1989), Republic of Korea (1995), Malaysia (1997), Norway (2021) Philippines (2000), Singapore (2021), Spain (2014), Thailand (2005), Turkey (2016), United Kingdom (1989), and the United States of America (1989).
Blue Pacific Principles for Dialogue and Engagement
A the 50th Pacific Islands Forum Meeting in Tuvalu in 2019, Forum Leaders endorsed the Blue Pacific Principles to guide Pacific Islands Forum’ Dialogue and Engagement, including with Dialogue Partners. These principles are:
- One Blue Pacific – recognising and engaging with the full Forum Membership;
- Regional priorities – embedding and progressing the Forum’s regional priorities;
- Partnership approach – joint planning, programming and delivery by both the Pacific Islands Forum and the Forum Dialogue Partner(s);
- Utilising existing mechanisms – aligning with, and seeking to build-off existing regional and international mechanisms, processes and meetings; and
- Collective outcomes and impact – developing joint outcomes statements and outlining a clear process for follow-up and implementation.
(i). Annual Dialogue with Pacific Islands Forum Leaders
An annual meeting of Forum Dialogue Partners with Pacific Islands Forum Leaders takes place during the Pacific Islands Forum Meeting. Such meetings focus on the role of Forum Dialogue Partners in supporting Forum Leaders’ priorities, both through their engagement in the region and in the international arena.
A summary of the 2019 meeting between Forum Leaders and Dialogue Partners, held in Tuvalu, can be accessed here
(ii). Regional Development Partners Roundtable
As called for by Forum Leaders, since 2018, a Regional Development Partner Roundtable linked to the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) has been held, to support regional development partner coordination and the alignment of regional financing to Forum Leaders’ priorities. There is naturally a high level of overlap between Forum Dialogue Partners and development partners to the region, and therefore their participation in both meetings.
In addition to these mechanisms, a number of Forum Dialogue Partners have either semi-regular or established summitries with either the Forum or sub-groupings of Forum Members.
(iii). Triennial Reassessment of Forum Dialogue Partners
Since 2011, Forum Dialogue Partners have been required to participate in a triennial reassessment process, designed to review Dialogue Partners’ ongoing alignment to the criteria for membership and to Forum priorities. The first such assessment was conducted in 2012. A second assessment was completed in 2015, leading to an additional criteria for membership – ‘cooperation on the international agenda’. Of the 17 Forum Dialogue Partners, 12 provided reports in 2015 and since then, Forum Dialogue Partners membership has grown to include 18 partners.
The third assessment was undertaken in 2019 with the purpose to review Forum Dialogue Partners’ ongoing alignment to Forum Dialogue Partners criteria and to the Forum’s regional priorities – particularly in the context of the 2014 Framework for Pacific Regionalism and the 2018 Strategy for Forum International Engagement and Advocacy. Out of the 18 Forum Dialogue Partners, 13 provided reports. In considering the findings of the 2019 review, Leaders recognised the importance of effective partnerships and engagements, while noting with concern that not all Forum Dialogue Partners were effectively engaging with the Pacific Islands Forum.
Process for Becoming a Dialogue Partner
Countries interested in applying to be a Forum Dialogue Partner should write a letter to the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum expressing their interest and including a detailed submission (3 – 4 pages) addressing, in turn, each of the six criteria for Forum Dialogue Partners. Further details on this process is set out in the Criteria and Guidelines for Forum Dialogue Partners.