Time for the Pacific Islands Forum to Step-Back and Heal,” is the title of a paper by Dr. Deon Canyon for Security Nexus. This paper recommends six steps to restore the Pacific Islands Forum into a vehicle that better represents all Pacific Islanders and nations.

The Pacific Islands Forum has lost five of its eighteen members in response to an action taken by Polynesian nations, France, Australia and New Zealand that flew in the face of a “Gentlemen’s Agreement.” The agreement is not based on tradition or a history of past practices as reported by almost every commentator, but rather it is based on the Pacific Way – a private understanding that from now on, leadership of the PIF should rotate around Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia. PIF’s loss of an entire sub-region is an incredible set-back for regional identity and regional security, and takes a good deal of meaning away from the PIF’s Blue Pacific Continent concept. This paper proposes seven recommendations for healing the division.

Dr. Canyon is a professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI APCSS) in Honolulu, USA. The views expressed in this article are the author’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the DKI APCSS or the United States Government.

Security Nexus is a peer-reviewed, online journal published by the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.