Pacific Islands regional organisations
Australia places a special value on its close historical, political, economic, aid and community links with the island countries and territories of the Pacific, and is committed to playing an active and constructive role in our region. The strength of this commitment is reflected in the fact that Australia is the leading donor of aid to the independent countries of the Pacific, supporting their sustainable economic and social development through bilateral and regional programs. This assistance is complemented by a program of defence cooperation with many of the Pacific island states, contributing to their efficient and sustainable use of maritime resources and enhancing regional security. Australia also has significant trade and commercial interests in the region - the Pacific is Australia’s closest market.
Australia is a founding member of the principal regional organisations in the Pacific:
- The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) is the region’s principal political institution. The Pacific Islands Forum (formerly known as the South Pacific Forum prior to 2000), which the Secretariat services, brings together the independent and self-governing states of the Pacific in an annual leaders’ summit.
- The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (formerly known as the South Pacific Commission) is a non-political organisation delivering technical assistance, policy advice, training and research services to 22 Pacific Island countries and territories.
- The Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), aimed at enabling members to maximise sustained benefits from the conservation and sustainable use of their fisheries resources.
- The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), promoting regional cooperation in environmental matters.
Cooperation and collaboration between Pacific regional organisations is promoted through the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP), comprising PIFS and the heads of other regional inter-governmental organisations. In addition to the organisations listed above, the other members of CROP are:
- The Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP) assists Pacific islands Leaders to advance their collective efforts to achieve and sustain equitable social and economic development consistent with the goals of the Pacific islands region’s people.
- The South Pacific Travel Organisation (SPTO) is the mandated inter-governmental body for the tourism sector in the region, with the mission to market and develop tourism in the South Pacific.
- The University of the South Pacific (USP) is a premier provider of tertiary education in the Pacific region and an international centre of excellence for teaching, research and consulting on all aspects of Pacific life.
- The Pacific Power Association (PPA) is an organisation established to promote the direct cooperation of Pacific island power utilities in technical training, exchange of information, sharing of senior management and engineering expertise and other activities of benefit to the members.
- The Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) is a regional international organisation overseeing aviation safety and security oversight in the Pacific Islands using guidelines provided by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Australian support for Pacific Islands regional organisations
Australia's core funding for regional organisations comprises assessed membership contributions and support for ongoing priority core programs. Australia also provides additional funding for implementation of specific initiatives and significant support to regional aid mechanisms.
DFAT is responsible for Australia’s Official Development Assistance in the Pacific.