Pacific Islands Forum

Puna set to go to heal Pacific rift

The five northern Pacific states, Palau, Nauru, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, vowed early last year to pull out of the organisation.

They were angry their nominee for secretary general, Marshall Islands diplomat Gerald Zackios, had been overlooked in favour of Cook Islands Prime Minister Puna.

The spokesman for the FSM government said the Micronesian states have been given an undertaking by both New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne that Mr Puna is to step down by June.

Puna set to go to heal Pacific rift

The five northern Pacific states, Palau, Nauru, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, vowed early last year to pull out of the organisation.

They were angry their nominee for secretary general, Marshall Islands diplomat Gerald Zackios, had been overlooked in favour of Cook Islands Prime Minister Puna.

The spokesman for the FSM government said the Micronesian states have been given an undertaking by both New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne that Mr Puna is to step down by June.

PIF members discuss Fukushima treated nuclear wastewater with Japan

The Government of Japan committed to ongoing dialogue with Forum Members as a priority follow up to the PALM9 Summit in July. This followed Japan’s announcement in April of plans to begin discharge in 2023, for a period of up to 40 years. The announcement drew strong global response, including from the Forum Chair and Leaders.

In his opening comments at the third briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Henry Puna noted the issues require “open and frank consultation” along with sustained dialogue at the political and technical level.

Kiribati withdraws from Pacific Islands Forum

The formal communication was made to the Government of Fiji as the depositary of the 2000 Agreement Establishing the Pacific Islands Forum. 

In a statement, the Kiribati Government said the decision to withdraw from the Pacific Islands Forum was premised on the selection of the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum which in essence must be made based on consensus in line with the Gentlemen’s Agreement on sub-regional rotation. 

Pacific Islands Forum marks 50th anniversary

The leaders of the Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, Tonga and Samoa together with Australia and New Zealand met in Wellington from 5th-7th August 1971. This was the first South Pacific Forum meeting.

At the time, the only regional organisation established was the South Pacific Commission which was created in 1947.

The leaders of the newly independent island nations understood the external influences that existed in that regional body, which included colonial powers. It was clear another forum was needed.

PIF's Dame Meg disappointed at lack of action by major emitters

But Dame Meg Taylor has also raised concerns about the lack of sufficient action by others.

She welcomes the US, Japan, UK, Canada and South Korea's commitments to end financing of coal-fired power plants overseas.

However, Dame Meg said it's disheartening that other major emitters have not acted decisively to curb the global climate change emergency.

She also said it's regrettable that no new climate finance commitments were made, despite developing countries knowing the promised 100 billion dollars per year by 2020 has not been delivered.

Micronesia receives unreserved apology from Forum

The dialogue was in regards to the impasse that has transpired from the process of selecting the Pacific Islands Forum secretary general.

Micronesian leaders in attendance - Nauru President Lionel Aingimea and Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo welcomed the sincere words by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape, Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General Dame Meg Taylor, in saying “sorry” to Micronesia for what has resulted in a damaged Pacific family.

EU pleas for Forum to stay united

In February, the five Micronesian members of the Forum announced they would leave in protest at the failure of the organisation to appoint their nominee for secretary general of the regional body.

Instead of choosing Marshall Islands diplomat, Gerald Zackios, the Forum chose former Cook Islands prime minister, Henry Puna.

The Pacific delegation for the EU has issued a statement, saying it believed a strong Pacific Islands Forum, as the premier political regional organisation for the Pacific, was fundamental for this region.

Fiji urges Micronesia to rethink plans to leave forum

The leaders said they saw minimal, if any impact, by departing the region's primary body.

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama says Micronesia must stand in solidarity with their Pacific counterparts.

The standoff stemmed from Micronesia's frustration at its candidate no getting the sceretary-general's position at the Forum Secretariat following what it called a 'gentlemen's agreement' the subregion would get the top job at PIFS.

Former Cook Islands prime minister Henry Puna was elected to replace Papua New Guinea's Dame Meg Taylor last month.

Marshalls follows Palau, FSM in initiating Forum withdrawal

"Cabinet approved the withdrawal from the Pacific Islands Forum last Thursday," said Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Casten Nemra.

"(The) next step is for Nitijela (parliament) to endorse the move through a resolution."

The move by the Marshall Islands follows similar actions by Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) over the past week.

The five Micronesian presidents, including those from Kiribati and Nauru, met 8 February and agreed on the withdrawal, and that they saw minimal if any impact by departing the region's primary body.