Pacific Island nations are facing complex, interconnected challenges, but taking a regional approach to addressing these issues provides an opportunity to influence world policy and meet the region’s development challenges.
Join Dr Colin Tukuitonga, Director-General of the Pacific Community, who will share his personal observations and reflections at the annual ST Lee Lecture at The Australian National University (ANU) College of Asia and the Pacific.
The Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) of the Pacific region face significant challenges, including complex vulnerabilities, dependencies and uncertainties that arise for countries and communities as the region copes with economic development, globalisation, the social and economic costs of noncommunicable diseases and the damaging effects of climate change.
As a result, regionalism is presented as a compelling strategy for the SIDS. Regionalism provides an opportunity for SIDS to influence world policy, build capacity in the region, promote good governance, maintain peaceful neighbourly relations and create positive development outcomes. Pacific leaders believe that there are significant benefits to sharing and combining resources for leverage, influence and competitiveness and for overcoming geographical and demographic disadvantages. It also creates a bigger cooperative region in which Pacific peoples will have more opportunities for activities not viable at the national level.
The key policy instrument for fostering and supporting regionalism is the Framework for Pacific Regionalism (FPR) which was endorsed by the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in 2014. The Framework is intended to support “focussed political conversations and settlements that address key strategic issues, including shared sovereignty, pooling resources and delegating decision-making”.
Dr Tukuitonga’s presentation will focus on the impact of the FPR on meeting the development challenges of the region. He will discuss notable examples of ‘regionalism’, including regional tertiary education provisions, increased returns from tuna fisheries and the gains made in climate change. Opinion is divided of how effective the FPR has been in fostering shared sovereignty, pooling resources and delegated decision-making.