The Pacific Islands Forum is a regional intergovernmental organisation, and is held every year between the leaders of 18 countries from across the Pacific. The smallest member country is Niue with population 1,600, and the largest is Australia at more than 25 million people.
This forum established in 1971 with the goal “to work in support of member governments, to enhance the economic and social wellbeing of the people of the South Pacific”. PIF gives a united voice and a greater say in advocating for their own future on the global stage. This forum also identified four pillars in the 2005 Pacific Plan: “economic growth, sustainable development, good governance, and security.”
In this 49th forum held in Nauru, issues concerning governance and development were discussed by Pacific Islands leaders. But there are two important issues arising because of the enormous impact. These two issues are about the oceans and climate change.
Forty-Ninth Pacific Islands Forum: A Summary of the Communiqué
Pacific Forum Secretariat has released the forum communique to the public. The communique has 57 points with several urgent topics. One of this topic is about Regionalism Priorities where Pacific leaders welcomed the opportunity for building a Strong Pacific for ‘our people and our islands’ by prioritising collective on the following priorities: Regional Security Declaration, Climate Change and Disaster Resilience, Fisheries, Oceans, Childhood Obesity and Early Childhood Development/Non-Communicable Diseases, and West Papua.
However, Pacific Media Watch reports that there was no significant response to Vanuatu’s call for the Forum to support its plan to submit the West Papua decolonisation issue to the United Nations next year.
The final communique “recognised the constructive engagement by Forum countries with Indonesia with respect to elections and human rights” and called for further dialogue.
On the 33rd point, the communique stated that “Leaders recognised the constructive engagement by Forum countries with Indonesia with respect to elections and human rights in West Papua (Papua) and to continue dialogue in an open and constructive manner.”
Asia Pacific countries are well aware of the importance of maintaining the sovereignty of other countries over their countries & begin to limit the presence of separatist groups to drive the forum agenda which should focus on collaboration and empowerment.
UMLWP Effort to Get Media Attention
Previously, UMLWP actively made efforts to get support from other Asian Pacific countries through their representative, Vanuatu. Their actions to get media attention include:
Before the trial, UMLWP invited Fiji Opposition Leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa to pressure the Fiji government to support Vanuatu. They also invited the West Papua Action Auckland group to pressure the New Zealand government to support Vanuatu.
During the hearing, ULMWP held a demonstration in Jayapura & Sentani which ended in the the dismissal of the demonstration because they did not have a demonstration permit.
“We just secured [them]. We want to seek clarification because the permit for their demonstration was rejected as it did not fulfill the requirements.
“We’ll question them and explain things. They’ll be returned home this afternoon. We were just eliminating a threat to Kamtibmas [Keamanan dan Ketertiban Masyarakat or public law and security],” said Victor Mackbon, Jayapura Police Chief Assistant Superintendent.
During this time, UMLWP has always moved with efforts to get media attention and public sympathy. Even after arrest, ULMWP action committee called for the Papuan people to mobilise today and for all the people in the land of Papua to hold joint prayers on Tuesday September 4.
“Whatever the form, we appeal to the ordinary people to hold actions, private and public meetings, seminars and prayers”, ULMWP action coordinator Boy Daby said at the Papuan Traditional Council (Dewan Adat Papua or DAP) offices in Expo, Waena.
Payne, Marise (Sept 6 2018) Forty-Ninth Pacific Islands Forum: Communiqué Retrieved from foreignminister.gov.au: https://foreignminister.gov.au/releases/Pages/2018/mp_mr_180906a.aspx?w=E6pq%2FUhzOs%2BE7V9FFYi1xQ%3D%3D
Doherty, Ben (Sept 6, 2018) Australia tried to water down climate change resolution at Pacific Islands Forum: leader Retrieved from theguardian.com:https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/06/australia-tried-to-water-down-climate-change-resolution-at-pacific-islands-forum-leader
Doherty, Ben (Sep 2, 2018) Pacific Islands Forum: what is it and why have some media been banned? Retrieved from theguardian.com: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/02/pacific-islands-forum-what-is-it-and-why-have-some-media-been-banned
Dziedzic Stephen (Sept 7, 2018) Australia signs declaration on Pacific climate ‘threat’, islands call on US to return to Paris deal Retrieved from abc.net.au: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-05/australia-and-pacific-nations-sign-climate-security-declaration/10204422
Anonim, (Sept 6, 2018) NZ welcomes new Boe Pacific security plus climate declaration Retrieved from Livenews.co.nz: https://livenews.co.nz/2018/09/06/nz-welcomes-new-boe-pacific-security-plus-climate-declaration/