Tuvalu and Tonga Prime Ministers Among First Delegates In Rarotonga
The 52nd annual Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting (PIFLM) is scheduled to take place in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, from November 6 to November 10, 2023. Prior to the leader’s meeting, Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Kausea Natano, and Tonga’s Prime Minister, Hu’akavameiliku, were among the first delegates to arrive in Rarotonga, setting the stage for meaningful discussions. Other prominent figures expected to arrive ahead of the majority of the delegates include Premier Dalton Talagi of Niue, President Moetai Brotherson of French Polynesia, and President Surangel Whipps Jr of Palau.
The remaining Pacific leaders are scheduled to arrive on a charter flight later on Sunday, Cook Islands time. However, it has been noted that the Prime Ministers of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea are unlikely to attend this year’s event. Solomon Islands is preparing to host the Pacific Games, a flagship event, with the opening ceremony set for November 19. Additionally, New Zealand, a significant regional partner, has yet to form a government, raising uncertainty about their attendance at the meeting.
Prime Minister Mark Brown, who also serves as the Forum Chair, will host this important gathering of Pacific leaders, marking a significant moment for regional cooperation and diplomacy. The event aims to address shared challenges and develop impactful strategies for the future.
During a conversation with Pacific journalists the Cook Islands Prime Minister emphasized that the primary focus of the meeting is to address issues of paramount importance to the Pacific, with the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy guiding discussions. He encouraged Pacific journalists to share stories that are of utmost importance to the people of the Pacific, as media narratives often fall short of capturing the genuine experiences and concerns of Pacific communities. With numerous Pacific journalists covering the PIFLM, Prime Minister Brown says he anticipates a more comprehensive and accurate portrayal of Pacific stories in the coming weeks.
In anticipation of the PIFLM, journalists from Palau, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Kiribati and New Zealand have traveled to Rarotonga to provide extensive coverage of the meeting. The Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Rarotonga serves as a crucial platform for Pacific nations to address shared challenges and chart a course towards a brighter future. With the diverse perspectives and concerns of the Pacific in mind, the leaders at the PIFLM aim to develop impactful strategies that will have a lasting impact throughout the region in the future.
The Pacific Islands Forum is a regional organization with an expanded membership that includes nations like Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, and others. The Forum’s agenda is based on reports from the Secretariat and related regional organizations and committees, as well as other issues that members may wish to raise. Decisions by the leaders are reached by consensus and outlined in a Forum Communiqué, 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.