Reflecting on 50 years on regionalism, Leaders highlighted that the Pacific Islands Forum stands at a critical juncture in its history. Leaders acknowledged that many economies and communities across the region continue to contend with a range of social, economic and development challenges, whilst having to continually adapt to the evolving challenges posed by COVID-19, as well as the current climate emergency. These challenges exacerbate the region’s existing vulnerabilities and dependencies.
Leaders noted that the region continues to be a highly contested sphere of interest, in a wider geopolitical setting with external powers seeking to assert their own interests. In the current strategic context, Leaders recognized the importance of remaining unified as a Forum family to address common challenges and to capitalize on key opportunities. Furthermore, Leaders also recognized the importance of regional unity and solidarity in dealing with intensifying geostrategic interest, particularly to ensure the achievement of shared and common objectives.
Leaders acknowledged with sadness the Republic of Kiribati’s decision to withdraw from the Pacific Islands Forum, welcomed Kiribati willingness to remain open to dialogue to promote Forum unity and emphasize the importance of genuine consultation and engagement, including through the issuance of a collective statement. Leaders further agreed to continue dialogue with the Republic of Kiribati between now and the Special Leaders Meeting through the good offices of the Forum Chair and Secretary General and explore options for closer diplomatic engagement, including through the appointment of a dedicated Special Envoy.
Leaders agreed that for the purposes of regional rotation, Australia would be under the Melanesian sub-grouping and New Zealand under the Polynesian sub-grouping. and they need convene another Special Leaders Meeting towards the end of the year under Fiji’s Chairmanship to consider and endorse the remaining phases of the Transition Plan. Leaders recognized the importance of ongoing continuity in the transition of the Secretariat leadership in 2024.
They also acknowledged Secretary General Henry Puna and the Honorable Mark Brown, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands and the Government of Cook Islands for their efforts to resolve the impasse and their commitment to protect the solidarity of the region and agreed to ensure that the leadership transition was done in a manner that is dignified and seamless.–

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