Backgrounder: Pacific Islands Forum 2008-08-18 14:26:17   Print

    ALOFI, Niue, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- The 39th Pacific Islands Forum(PIF) Leaders Summit will be held here from Aug. 19 to 21 with participation of 16 heads of government of the independent and self-governing states in the Pacific.

    The PIF, known until Oct. 27, 2000 as the South Pacific Forum, is a key political and economic policy organization in the Pacific. Forum leaders meet annually to develop collective responses to regional issues.

    The first PIF was held in 1971 in Wellington, New Zealand. The meeting was stemmed from a desire by leaders to address common issues from a regional perspective and to give their collective views greater weight in the international community.

    The forum's membership has increased from the original seven founding members (Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, Tonga and Samoa) to also include Micronesia, Kiribati, Niue, Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

    The PIF's agenda is based on issues raised by members and reports from the Secretariat and other regional organizations and committees. Decisions by the Leaders are reached by consensus and are outlined in a Forum Communique, from which policies are developed and a work program is prepared. The annual Forum meetings are chaired by the Head of Government of the host country, who remains as Forum Chair until the next meeting.

    This year's main theme is climate change, as the effect of "global warming" has been a threat to food security and safety of island communities. As a consequence, many Forum Island countries are already subjected to sea level rising.

    Since 1989, the Forum has held Post Forum Dialogues with key Dialogue Partner (PFDP) at ministerial level. The 14 PFDP countries include: Canada, China, the European Union, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Britain and the United States.

    The 20th Post-Forum Dialogue Partners' Plenary will be held on Thursday. Focal point for all Post Forum Dialogue arrangements is Coral Pasisi, regional and International issues of common concerns.

    The Forum's administrative arm is the PIF Secretariat, based in Suva, Fiji. Niue hosted the Forum last time in 1977. The country was to have hosted the Forum in 2004, but was hit by Cyclone Heta on New Year's Day of the same year which destroyed or damaged 95 percent of the islands infrastructure.

    The PIF held its 38th annual summit meeting in Tonga. 

Editor: An
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