Forum Dialogue Partners
The Post Forum Dialogue (now referred to as Forum Dialogue Partners) was initiated by Forum Leaders in 1989 in Kiribati with the aim of inviting selected countries and organisations, which had an active and constructive involvement in the region, to participate in a dialogue with Forum Members. The intent of the mechanism is to build understanding, support and action on the Forum’s regional priorities, based on for the following criteria:
- Long-established historical links with the region which may include significant security links;
- Significant trade and investment links with the region;
- Long term commitment to the region through participation in regional organisations and/or the establishment of diplomatic missions;
- Cultural and social identification with communities in the region; and,
- Development assistance to the region through key bilateral and/or multilateral programmes and shared interests or common positions on key international issues.
Current Dialogue Partners
There were five founding Dialogue Partners (Canada, France, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States of America). China became the sixth Dialogue Partner in 1990. The numbers have grown progressively since and currently there are 18 partners: Canada (1989), People’s Republic of China (1990), Cuba (2012), European Union (1991), France (1989), Germany (2016), India (2003), Indonesia (2001), Italy (2007), Japan (1989), Republic of Korea (1995), Malaysia (1997), Philippines (2000), Spain (2014), Thailand (2005), Turkey (2016), United Kingdom (1989), and the United States of America (1989).
Blue Pacific Principles for Dialogue and Engagement
A the 50th Pacific Islands Forum Meeting in Tuvalu in 2019, Forum Leaders endorsed the Blue Pacific Principles to guide Pacific Islands Forum’ Dialogue and Engagement, including with Dialogue Partners. These principles are:
- One Blue Pacific – recognising and engaging with the full Forum Membership;
- Regional priorities – embedding and progressing the Forum’s regional priorities;
- Partnership approach – joint planning, programming and delivery by both the Pacific Islands Forum and the Forum Dialogue Partner(s);
- Utilising existing mechanisms – aligning with, and seeking to build-off existing regional and international mechanisms, processes and meetings; and
- Collective outcomes and impact – developing joint outcomes statements and outlining a clear process for follow-up and implementation.
(i). Annual Dialogue with Pacific Islands Forum Leaders
An annual meeting of Forum Dialogue Partners with Pacific Islands Forum Leaders takes place during the Pacific Islands Forum Meeting. Such meetings focus on the role of Forum Dialogue Partners in supporting Forum Leaders’ priorities, both through their engagement in the region and in the international arena.
A summary of the 2019 meeting between Forum Leaders and Dialogue Partners, held in Tuvalu, can be access here
(ii). Regional Development Partners Roundtable
As called for by Forum Leaders, since 2018, a Regional Development Partner Roundtable linked to the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) has been held, to support regional development partner coordination and the alignment of regional financing to Forum Leaders’ priorities. There is naturally a high level of overlap between Forum Dialogue Partners and development partners to the region, and therefore their participation in both meetings.
In addition to these mechanisms, a number of Forum Dialogue Partners have either semi-regular or established summitries with either the Forum or sub-groupings of Forum Members.
(iii). Triennial Reassessment of Dialogue Partners
Since 2011, Forum Dialogue Partners have been required to participate in a triennial reassessment process, designed to review Dialogue Partners’ ongoing alignment to the criteria for membership and to Forum priorities. The first such assessment was conducted in 2012. A second assessment was completed in 2015, leading to an additional criteria for membership – ‘cooperation on the international agenda’. Of the 17 Forum Dialogue Partners, 12 provided reports in 2015 and since then, Forum Dialogue Partners membership has grown to include 18 partners.
The third assessment was undertaken in 2019 with the purpose to review Forum Dialogue Partners’ ongoing alignment to Forum Dialogue Partners criteria and to the Forum’s regional priorities – particularly in the context of the 2014 Framework for Pacific Regionalism and the 2018 Strategy for Forum International Engagement and Advocacy. Out of the 18 Forum Dialogue Partners, 13 provided reports. In considering the findings of the 2019 review, Leaders recognised the importance of effective partnerships and engagements, while noting with concern that not all Forum Dialogue Partners were effectively engaging with the Pacific Islands Forum.
Process for Becoming a Dialogue Partner
Countries or international organisations interested in becoming Forum Dialogue Partners are requested to write a letter to the Secretary General. The letter should outline the general interest the applicant has in the region and include a detailed attachment outlining how the applicant meets each of the criteria for Dialogue Partner access.
To assist with processing the application the applicant should also outline its position on international issues which are of particular interest to the region.
Following receipt of the full application, the Forum Secretariat will provide an assessment of the application and prepare the application for consideration by the Forum Officials Committee (FOC). If endorsed by the FOC, the application is then presented to the Forum Leaders for their consideration.
In the case where the FOC does not endorse the application, the applicant will be notified by letter and advised of possible next steps if any.
At any stage in the preparation of the application the applicant can call on the Forum Secretariat to assist with clarifications of the process and/or detail of information required in the application.
The full criteria to become a Forum Dialogue Partner including Entitlements and Expectations can be found here.