Pacific Resilience Facility is 2024 priority for Pacific Islands Forum

It’s been seven years in the making, but the Forum leadership is determined to see the Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF) established as a matter of urgency. Speaking to the media recently Forum Secretary-General, Henry Puna and Director of Programmes and Initiatives, Zarak Khan, explained the work the Secretariat is undertaking ahead of this year’s Leaders’ meeting in Tonga.

A wide-ranging consultation process will be held across the region, to establish what should go into the PRF Constitution. Its objective is to provide easier access to finance for community projects to tackle the climate crisis. At the same time, the Forum Secretariat is working with partners to secure funding pledges that will achieve the required US$500 million initial capitalisation. SG Puna made it clear in response to media questions that accepting pledges from high-emitting countries (such as Australia and Saudi Arabia) did not ‘absolve’ them from doing more to achieve the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Agreement.

Campaigning underway in Solomon Islands

With the elections just two months away, campaigning is ramping up in Solomon Islands. Whilst many outside the country are focused on issues of foreign policy and geopolitics, much of the focus inside the country is on matters that are much closer to home.

Outgoing Opposition Leader Matthew Wale leads the Coalition for Accountability, Reform and Empowerment (CARE) and has announced flagship policies including free education and a commitment to create 25,000 jobs in four years. Outgoing Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has campaigned on the large infrastructure projects his coalition government secured with the support of China and other international partners.

When it comes to foreign policy, Sogavare has said he wishes to pursue a ‘Look North’ approach whilst balancing relationships with traditional partners such as Australia. Meanwhile, Wale has promised increased consultation about foreign policy and a commitment to prioritising the national interest.

Other Pacific News

In Vanuatu, a motion of no confidence has been lodged against Prime Minister Charlot Salwai. This comes as the country is preparing to hold its first referendum, aimed at bringing greater stability to politics in the country.

In Fiji, the Civil Aviation Authority has denied rumours that exports of kava are being blocked because of drug smuggling concerns. Recently, 12kg of cocaine was found in a kava shipment that was destined for Australia.

Papua New Guinea has been rocked by news of a major massacre in the country’s highlands region. There appear to have been dozens of fatalities although the exact number is unclear. This is an escalation of ongoing inter-tribal conflict in the area.

A delegation from American Samoa has been in the region recently to canvas support for its bid to become an Associate Member of the Pacific Islands Forum. This is with a view to seeking full membership in the future.

Swiss Re Insurance has stated that it will not provide insurance or reinsurance products to deep sea mining ventures. This is the latest development in an activity that is polarising in the Pacific islands region.


Dr Tess Newton Cain is a Senior Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and project lead for the Griffith Pacific Hub.