43rd Pacific Islands Forum in Cook Islands
29 August, 2012
The 43rd annual Pacific Islands Forum will focus on the challenges faced by Pacific nations. Photo: Erin Magee / AusAID
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is taking part in the Pacific Islands Forum this week, being held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. This year marks the 43rd annual forum, which will focus on the challenges Pacific nations face as islands surrounded by large ocean areas.
Created in 1971 to address common issues from a regional perspective, the forum provides a strong voice for Pacific views in the international community. It brings together 16 Heads of Government, including Australia, and is the key regional political organisation in the Pacific.
An underlying objective of recent forums has been strengthening the effectiveness of development assistance. This goal was expressed in the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination in the Pacific, announced at the 2009 forum held in Australia. The Cairns Compact promotes aid transparency and mutual accountability in the Pacific and sets clear regional standards on aid effectiveness.
Australia is keen to ensure the forum and its partners maintain the momentum of the Cairns Compact. We believe building on the Compact’s success in delivering improvements in development coordination will result in tangible development outcomes for our Pacific neighbours.
The theme for this year’s forum is 'Large Ocean Island States—the Pacific Challenge'. This marks a shift in view from what were previously thought of as 'small island states', recognising the unique challenges and opportunities presented by the geography of Pacific island countries.
Australia is committed to helping our Pacific neighbours address these challenges and gain from the opportunities, particularly in the areas of climate change, education, labour mobility, oceans and fisheries. Australia is also working with Pacific governments to build on their gains in gender equality—helping women and men work together for improved economic prosperity across the region.
Last Reviewed: 29 August, 2012