FSM, Palau, and RMI endorse Pacific Islands Forum reform package

Leaders of the Micronesian Presidents’ Summit (MPS) said they would rescind their withdrawal from the Pacific Islands Forum when all members adopt a reform package that provides amongst other things the selection of the regional organisation’s secretary-general and chairman.

The proposed package was offered and endorsed during a meeting in Suva this week, 6-7 June, attended by the President of the Federated States of Micronesia, David Panuelo, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr, John Silk, Special Envoy of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Forum Chair Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Samoan Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa, and Mark Brown, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands.

In a joint statement, the MPS stated that the proposed package in its original form showed recognition and appreciation for the perspective of the Micronesian Presidents Summit as originally stated in the Mekreos Communique.

“Following candid and genuinely friendly discussions on the basis of good faith, mutual trust and respect, and Pacific solidarity, the proposed reform package has been approved by the Micronesian Presidents’ Summit. It is agreed that, on the basis of good faith and approval of the reform package by the end of June 2022, each Micronesian country shall rescind its withdrawal from the Pacific Islands Forum.”

The reform package includes that:

  •  all members of the Pacific Islands Forum agree that equal representation of the three sub-regional bodies of Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia, is essential;
    • As such, there shall be two Deputy Secretary-General positions, each hailing from a separate sub-region as the Secretary-General.
  • all members of the Pacific Islands Forum agree to rotate both the Secretary-General and the Forum Chair by sub-region, with Micronesia to hold the next Secretary-General position beginning in 2024 for a term of five years.
  • Create, and immediately install, a Pacific Ocean Commissioner as a role separate and distinct from the duties of the Secretary-General. The office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner shall be based in Micronesia, the term of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner shall last three years, and the Commissioner shall report directly to the Leaders.
  • A Pacific Islands Forum sub-regional office shall be created in the Micronesia sub-region.

The package, the final version of which, is expected to be ready for signing at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting on 12-14 July in Suva.

The Micronesian countries threatened to withdraw from the PIFS after a falling out over the selection of Henry Puna to the SG’s post last year.

Photo: Office of the President, FSM

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