SI assures Forum of commitment to regional architecture.


SOLOMON Islands has assured the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Henry Puna of its commitment to remain engaged throughout the process on the review of the ‘regional architecture’.

The ‘regional architecture’ or ‘Pacific Integration’ came about with the establishment of PIF in 1971, to drive the agenda of Pacific countries colonised by Great Britain, France and others.

Its purpose is to bring all Pacific Island countries together on a platform to discuss ways to deal with pressing issues like climate change and economics and socials issues.

However, with the influence of geo politics, like China in the region recently, the focus of PIF started to shift to dealing with international issues like security, rather than focusing on addressing the plights of islanders.

Australia and New Zealand are the major funders of PIF, that also comprises of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Speaking at a joint press conference with PIF SG, Puna in Honiara last Thursday, Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Jeremiah Manele said the review must strive to ensure that regional institutions and processes remain fit for purpose, reduce duplication, avoid inter-agency competition for mandate and funding and most importantly that it is member state led and driven.

Furthermore, he said integration as part of the Review of the Regional Architecture can also look at allowing for free movement of people across our respective borders and putting wheels on trade frameworks to facilitating movement of products into respective trade markets.

In response to free access to the members, Puna said, “you know that is consistence with the vision of ourselves as Pacific, we are one family.

“When we are family, there is no barriers, there is no holding back, your home is my home.

“And it makes sense for our bigger partners to respect that tradition that they must give us free access to their home,” he said.

Puna said he’s pleased to say that there is progress on the front, that Australia and New Zealand are starting to slowly open their doors to our people.

“So, we can look for optimism to what will happen in the future,” he added.

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