Excerpt from The Interpreter

Pacific Islands countries face the classic challenge as strategic competition unfolds across the Indo-Pacific, finding themselves wedged, like the proverbial meat in the sandwich, between two great powers. Small states do have agency, of course, and can influence the behaviour of larger powers. Amalgamating interests under the banner of a regional body such the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) is one solution small states can employ.

The PIF is soon to decide on new leadership. Dame Meg Taylor, the present secretary general, participated in a webinar entitled Blue Pacific Futures, hosted this week by the Center for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies at Georgetown University and the Center for Pacific Island Studies at the University of Hawaii, reflecting on the challenges and opportunities faced by the organisation.

In her prepared remarks, Dame Meg underscored the importance of the PIF in engaging in “collective efforts in areas that are pertinent to our development as a region”. She said two primary goals had been obvious at the outset of her term, which began in December 2014: to reignite the politics of regionalism with a meaningful agenda and to ensure the voice of the Pacific people was heard and heeded.

Image: PIF Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor during the 2016 UN General Assembly (Rick Bajornas/UN Photo) – retrieved from Lowy Institute’s The Interpreter

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