Palau will remain a member of the Pacific Island Forum and its plans to leave the regional body along with the four Micronesian island nations, have been withdrawn.
Attending the first in-person meeting of the Pacific Island Forum leaders last week, President Surangel Whipps Jr. and the Presidents of the four Micronesian island nations, accepted the ‘Pacific Islands Forum Reform Package’, a document that appeased the Micronesian leaders’ demand for fair representation and respect within the regional body.
The ‘reform package’ was offered for the consideration of the Micronesian Presidents Summit member states “as a demonstration of leadership and brotherhood” states the press release from the Office of the President.
It recognized and acknowledged the perspective of the Mekreos Communique, the Micronesian Presidents Summit statement that called for honoring the “gentlemen’s agreement’, respect, and fair representation within the regional organization.
To achieve equal representation of the three subregions, Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia, the ‘reform package’ created two Deputy Secretary-General positions, each coming from one of the three subregions to include the Secretary-General.
In addition, both Secretary-General and Forum chair positions will rotate by subregion with Micronesia to hold the next Secretary-General position beginning in 2024. Also, a sub-regional office of the PIF will be established in the Micronesia subregion.
It was agreed that the Pacific Ocean Commissioner will be a separate position from the Secretary-General and it will be based in Micronesia. The Commissioner’s term will be three years and the Commissioner will report directly to the Forum.
The Micronesian leaders, according to the statement, “felt that the solidarity and integrity of the PIF were strengthened by the Gentlemen’s Agreement” and that the institutionalized agreement will result in “a stronger Pacific Island Forum and a stronger Pacific.”
The acceptance of the ‘Reform Package” is said to prevented the disintegration of the Pacific region’s premier political body and affirmed that the “united Pacific represents the region’s best chances at maintaining peace (and preventing war), developing prosperity (preventing hardship), and mitigating and adapting to Climate Change (and preventing civilizational collapse).
The Pacific Island Forum Reform Package went into effect immediately upon the acceptance of the Micronesian Presidents.