This week, the Cook Islands becomes the centre stage for an event that holds a pivotal place on the regional calendar. The Pacific Islands Forum, commonly known as PIF, serves as the primary political decision-making body for the Pacific region.
The agenda for this year’s summit is expected to revolve around pressing concerns, with climate change discussions taking the forefront, setting the stage for COP28. Additionally, delegates will grapple with the intricate challenge of managing the escalating geostrategic competition, particularly in light of China’s growing influence in the region.
However, on the eve of this significant gathering, there are notable absences from the guest list. Officials have confirmed that leaders from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Zealand will not be in attendance. This absence has raised questions about the potential impact on the summit’s ability to make progress on critical regional issues.
So what can we realistically expect from the deliberations over the next few days in Rarotonga? The Australia Pacific Islands Business Council has curated some links from regional media outlets with a range of points of view. Here are some of them:
This link from The Guardian gives an overview of the Pacific Islands Forum and puts this week’s meeting in context:
Radio New Zealand Pacific details some of the main issues that will be discussed at the leaders’ meeting:
Here’s a link to a 43 minute episode on the forum from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation