Smaller Island States

In 1991, the then South Pacific Forum recognised the special development needs of the Smaller Island States and on 16-17 January 1992, the Inaugural Summit of the Smaller Island State Leaders was held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

The Smaller Island States (SIS) of the Pacific Islands Forum represent the most vulnerable of Forum Island Countries and its membership comprises of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu.

Against a background of ‘unique and particular’ vulnerabilities linked to their small size, lack of natural resources, and remoteness, SIS face a range of development challenges that limit their capacity to ensure resilience and long-term sustainable development.


Cook Islands

Federated States of Micronesia


Marshall Islands

Forum Leaders are serious about ensuring the sustainable development of the SIS. The adoption of the SIS Regional Strategy 2016-2020 by Forum Leaders in 2016, confirms a clear and strategic set of key results and outcomes needed to enhance sustainable livelihoods of the SIS. As a consequence of setting priorities under the Strategy, a specific focus has been given to issues common to the group or requiring further work. The SIS Strategy was endorsed by SIS Leaders in Koror, Palau on 24 June 2016 and later endorsed by Forum Leaders in Pohnpei on 9 September 2016. Five priority areas specific in the SIS Strategy are: climate change, labour (mobility), health, marine, and air & sea transportation.

All Pacific stakeholders are encouraged to acknowledge the SIS Regional Strategy 2016-2020 as the basis for aligning their support to the SIS regional priorities and aspirations within the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.

The Forum Secretariat is committed to ensuring that engagement by relevant stakeholders with the SIS is delivered through the SIS Regional Strategy including the articulation of potential technical and financial assistance, through the Strategy’s companion implementation plan, as endorsed by SIS Leaders in September 2017 in Apia, Samoa.

The Smaller Island States Programme Unit, based at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji was established in 2006.

The objectives of the SIS Programme Unit are to:

  • Ensure that the Smaller Island States derive the fullest possible benefit from the Framework for Pacific Regionalism and the SIS Regional Strategy 2016-2020;
  • Ensure that SIS perspectives are represented in all regional and international fora;
  • Provide practical policy advice to SIS on the implementation of their commitments under the SIS Regional Strategy;
  • Provide in-country capacity through the SIS Officers to allow the SIS to further realize the benefits of current and future regional assistance in the Strategy’s priority areas of climate change, labour (mobility), health, marine, and air & sea transportation;
  • Advocate the ‘unique and particular’ vulnerabilities of SIS throughout the Secretariat through the promotion of a ‘whole-of-Secretariat’ approach with an ultimate aim of mainstreaming these ‘unique and particular’ vulnerabilities in the work programme of the Secretariat and CROP agencies;
  • Provide secretariat support services to the Annual SIS Officials and Annual SIS Leaders’ Meetings;
  • Coordinate the Smaller Island States Attachment Programme both within the Forum Secretariat and among other CROP agencies specifically targeted at assisting SIS in their capacity building needs.

SIS Officers (SISOs) have been engaged by the Forum Secretariat since 2006. The SISOs were established within governments to effectively facilitate and implement the SIS work programme. As such, the key function of an SISO is to provide an essential link between the Smaller Island States and the Smaller Island States Programme Unit of the Forum Secretariat to facilitate and coordinate the effective implementation and progress of decisions of SIS and Forum Leaders.

Current Smaller Island States Officers in the region.







TUVALUMr. Pugameau Taufilo