Pacific News Minute: Tuvalu To Host Pacific Islands Forum Summit Later This Month

Aug 1, 2019

Later this month, leaders from across the Pacific will gather in Tuvalu for the 50th annual summit of the Pacific Islands Forum.

The agenda for this year’s summit was set at ministerial meetings in Suva last week. Economic Ministers endorsed a proposal for what they called a resilience facility, a financial platform to focus on preparedness for disasters and for the effects of climate change.

Meanwhile, Foreign Ministers agreed to develop a long-term plan called “A 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.” Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor, said, “While we are the subject of geo-political maneuvering and strategies of others, the Blue Pacific collective remains focused on charting our own destiny.”

Other agenda items include climate change, regional security, ocean governance and human rights violations in West Papua.

The Fiji Sun reports that Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama will attend the summit for the first time in 10 years. When Bainimarama was slow to reinstitute elections after his military coup in 2006, Australia led the move to impose sanctions on Fiji. Bainimarama has since won two general elections and while he’s recently reconciled with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the Fiji Sun emphasized that he still objects to the outsized influence of Australia and New Zealand on the Forum.

At the same time as the forum summit, Tuvalu will also host a meeting of the Polynesian Leaders Group, which had originally been scheduled last month in American Samoa.