PACIFIC ISLAND FORUM/MICROXIT
PACIFIC ISLAND FORUM IN CRISIS AS ONE-THIRD OF MEMBER NATIONS QUIT
The Pacific Islands Forum – the Pacific’s most influential regional body – is in disarray after nearly one-third of its member countries quit en masse.
The countries of the Micronesian sub-grouping – Palau, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, and Nauru – have all abandoned the forum over the selection of the new secretary-general for the forum, following the election of Polynesia’s candidate in defiance of a long-standing convention that dictated it was the Micronesia’s turn to provide the forum’s leader.
The mass defection represents a significant crisis for the forum, at a time when the Pacific faces acute pan-regional challenges, including recovering from the economic devastation of Covid-19 travel bans and lockdowns, and the existential threat posed by climate change.