U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit
Recognition of Cook Islands and Niue: The United States will recognize the Cook Islands and Niue as sovereign states, following appropriate consultations.
President Biden hosted the first U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit (PICS) in Washington on September 28-29. The Summit demonstrated the United States’ deep and enduring partnership with Pacific Island countries and the Pacific region and reflected our broadening and deepening cooperation on key issues such as climate crisis, pandemic response, economic recovery, maritime security, environmental protection, and advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific.
View the latest on the Summit Page here.
“The United States is a proud Pacific power. We will continue to be an active, engaged partner in the region.”
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.”
“The history and the future of the Pacific Islands and the United States are inextricably linked.”
Vice President Kamala Harris.”
.@POTUS at the U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit: This summit honors the deep history that our nations share and longstanding trade and diplomatic relationships — and a shared fight to defend freedom. Full remarks: https://t.co/RsIt18Gmag pic.twitter.com/TWE5hJ1usq
— Department of State (@StateDept) October 2, 2022
FACT SHEET: President Biden Unveils First-Ever Pacific Partnership Strategy
Recognition of Cook Islands and Niue: The United States will recognize the Cook Islands and Niue as sovereign states, following appropriate consultations.
The Pacific Islands region – an “ocean continent” spanning nearly 15 percent of the Earth’s surface – is a vital sub-region of the Indo-Pacific. It holds opportunities and challenges, from the climate crisis to an increasingly complex geopolitical landscape. The United States recognizes that geography links the Pacific’s future to our own: U.S. prosperity and security depend on the Pacific region remaining free and open.
To that end, the Biden-Harris Administration is elevating broader and deeper engagement with the Pacific Islands as a priority of its foreign policy. This national strategy, the first-ever from the U.S. government dedicated to the Pacific Islands, both reflects and advances that commitment. It supports the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States and is aligned with the goals of the Pacific Island Forum’s 2050 Strategy.
As part of its Pacific strategy, the United States will pursue four objectives:
I. A STRONG U.S.-PACIFIC ISLANDS PARTNERSHIP
The foundation of our engagement in the Pacific Islands must be strong ties between the United States and the Pacific Islands, individually and collectively. We will:
- Fulfill and Increase U.S. Commitments to the Pacific: We will fulfill our historical commitments and strengthen our enduring relationships with the full Pacific Islands region, including by:
- Successfully completing negotiations on the Compacts of Free Association (COFA) with the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia
- Successfully concluding negotiations on the South Pacific Tuna Treaty Annex amendments and associated Economic Assistance Agreement for 2023 and beyond
- Build U.S. Capacity to Support the Pacific: The United States will demonstrate the level of diplomatic attention the Pacific deserves and position ourselves to best meet the needs of Pacific Island countries, including by:
- Expanding U.S. diplomatic missions from six to nine across the Pacific
- Deploying additional personnel across the Pacific
- Reestablishing a USAID mission in Fiji
II. A UNITED PACIFIC ISLANDS REGION CONNECTED WITH THE WORLD
The Pacific Islands region is stronger united, with the Pacific Islands Forum at its core. The Pacific Islands Forum provides a platform for Pacific Islands to speak with a common voice to drive Pacific priorities and engage other partners, including the United States ‑ a proud Dialogue Partner of the organization. We will coordinate with other nations and do so according to principles of Pacific regional cooperation, transparency, and accountability. We will:
- Bolster Pacific Regionalism and Elevate the Pacific in the Regional Architecture: The Pacific Islands are stronger when regional institutions are strong. The United States will continue to support the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), ensuring it remains at the center of the regional architecture. The U.S. will elevate its commitment to Pacific regionalism by:
- Appointing the first-ever U.S. envoy to the PIF
- Encouraging connectivity with existing multilateral groupings, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Quad
- Supporting other regional organizations
- Coordinate with Allies and Partners, within and beyond the region: The United States will continue to closely coordinate with our Allies and Partners to ensure our support for the Pacific Islands is effective and meets the needs of the people. We will prioritize consultation and coordination with the Pacific Islands and the PIF, including by:
- Bolstering the Partners in the Blue Pacific, an initiative among Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom to better meet the needs of people across the Pacific
III. A RESILIENT PACIFIC ISLAND REGION PREPARED FOR THE CLIMATE CRISIS AND OTHER 21ST CENTURY CHALLENGES
The Pacific Islands region faces daunting and mounting challenges. Chief among these challenges is the climate crisis, an existential threat to many Pacific Islands. The United States is committed to maintaining its global leadership in combatting the climate crisis, while partnering with the Pacific Islands in adapting to and managing the impacts of climate change on lives, health, and livelihoods. The region also faces challenges to security and sovereignty, including in the maritime domain. The Biden-Harris Administration will work in partnership with Pacific governments and people to ensure they have the autonomy and security to advance their own interests. We support the Pacific Islands as they guard against corruption and protect the dignity of Pacific Islanders. We will:
- Combat the Climate Crisis and Build Climate Resilience in the Pacific: Of all the 21st-century challenges we face, none is more pressing for the Pacific Islands region than climate change. We will collaborate with the Pacific Islands to tackle the climate crisis and limit its effects on the Pacific, including by:
- Striving to enhance the adaptive capacity and build upon the resilience of Pacific Islands to the devastating impacts of climate change through the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE)
- Collaborating with partners and international institutions to improve Pacific Island countries’ access to adaptation finance from multiple sources
- Driving action and supporting investment in climate mitigation in the region
- Support Marine Conservation, Maritime Security, and Sovereign Rights: The United States will support the Pacific Islands as they continue to shoulder the great responsibility of stewardship over the Blue Pacific Continent, including by:
- Increasing United States Coast Guard (USCG), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Department of Defense (DOD) presence
- Coordinating security cooperation and training with likeminded partners and with civil society
- Developing sustainable, climate resilient “blue” economies to sustainably manage Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), including fisheries and protected areas and coordinate security cooperation and training with other partners
- Support good governance and the human rights of all people: The Pacific Islands region is home to diverse democracies and participatory governance. The United States will continue supporting democracy, human rights, and good governance, including by:
- Building capacity among Pacific Island stakeholders in government, private sector, media, academia, and civil society
IV. EMPOWERED AND PROSPEROUS ISLANDERS
To fully empower the Pacific to capitalize on the opportunities of the 21st century, the United States is committed to increasing trade and investment with the Pacific Islands, including through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment; expanding people-to-people ties, including through the Peace Corps; increasing English-language programming and overall professional advancement; bolstering health architecture in the Pacific; and providing educational and development opportunities for Pacific Islanders, with a particular focus on women and youth.
- Create Economic Opportunities and Forge Connectivity: The United States will partner with the Pacific Islands and partners and allies to drive economic growth and prosperity regionally and globally. We will focus on key logistics, transportation, and technologies to enhance connectivity within the Pacific Islands region and with the world, including by:
- Collaborating with partners on submarine cable implementation and upgrades and other connectivity options
- Working with Pacific Island leaders to leverage private sector solutions to advance strategic projects and commercial priorities in the region.
- Bolster Health Architecture to Promote Health Security: The United States will partner with public-health experts and networks to improve how the region effectively prevents, detects, and responds to infectious disease threats, including by:
- Working to meet the COVID-19 vaccination needs of the region to lift the Pacific Islands out of the emergency phase of COVID-19
- Strengthening regional health security in preparation for future outbreaks
- Partner with Pacific Islanders to Strengthen People-to-People Ties and Seize 21st Century Opportunities. We will support Pacific Islands in their objective to ensure that everyone can realize their full potential including by:
- Offering enhanced educational experiences through student and professional exchange, enhanced curriculum, and the establishment of Pacific Studies programs in the United States
- Empowering Pacific youth through leadership development opportunities
- Returning Peace Corps volunteer presence to Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and Vanuatu this year and actively exploring options for opening missions in other countries
FACT SHEET: Roadmap for a 21st-Century U.S.-Pacific Island Partnership
The Biden-Harris Administration announces U.S. commitments to implement the Declaration on U.S.-Pacific Partnership
The first-ever United States-Pacific Island Country Summit marks a new milestone in U.S.-Pacific cooperation. It builds on a long history, forged in sacrifice in World War II and reinforced by strong people-to-people ties. As an outcome of the Summit, the President and Pacific leaders issued the Declaration on U.S.-Pacific Partnership, a forward-looking vision statement reflecting our shared commitment to expand and deepen our cooperation in the years ahead. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to implementing this vision; to that end, President Biden announced a slate of ambitious initiatives to meet Pacific priorities.
The United States has directly provided over $1.5 billion to support the Pacific Islands over the past decade and today has announced over $810 million in additional expanded programs. These initiatives seek to improve the lives and wellbeing of all Pacific Islanders by expanding diplomatic engagement, including through the historic announcement that the United States will recognize Cook Islands and Niue, following appropriate consultations; combatting the climate crisis; launching a new Trade and Investment Dialogue; providing development assistance; enhancing maritime security; expanding educational opportunities; enhancing security, health, and digital capacity; and addressing painful legacies of war. These new initiatives include the 10-year $600 million Economic Assistance Agreement request to Congress, which is associated with the South Pacific Tuna Treaty. Additionally, the Administration’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment aims to deliver game-changing projects in the region.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration we will:
I. STRENGTHEN AND SUPPORT U.S.-PACIFIC ISLANDS PARTNERSHIP
The foundation of the U.S. approach in the Pacific is strong and productive partnership with the Pacific Islands.
- First-ever National U.S. Strategy for the Pacific Islands: The Biden-Harris Administration has launched the first-ever U.S. Pacific Partnership Strategy for the Pacific Islands. This strategy is an addendum to the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States and will align with the Pacific Islands Forum’s 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
- Recognition of Cook Islands and Niue: The United States will recognize the Cook Islands and Niue as sovereign states, following appropriate consultations.
- Executive Education for Rising Pacific Leaders: The United States will encourage and support opportunities for rising leaders in public service across the Pacific Islands. As an example, Johns Hopkins SAIS is establishing a first-of-its-kind executive-leadership program in Washington, D.C. for such leaders.
- Supporting the Tuna Treaty: The United States has pledged to request a ten-year, $600 million Economic Assistance Agreement associated with the South-Pacific Tuna Treaty. This assistance will support fisheries economic development, collaboration on climate resilience, blue economy and maritime security. State Department has already committed $10 million to support broader cooperation under the treaty.
- Resilience and Adaptation Fellowship Program for Rising Leaders: The Administration will work with Congress to commit $5M to establish a fellowship program in partnership with the University of the South Pacific and premier universities in the United States, such as the University of Hawaii and University of California Santa Barbara. The program will offer rising leaders in the Pacific Islands the opportunity to gain expertise in natural resource economics and management, climate resilience, sustainable food systems, renewable energy development, water security and waste management.
- Compacts of Free Association: Compacts of Free Association with the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau have formed a bedrock of U.S.-Pacific cooperation for nearly four decades. In light of the critical nature of these complex negotiations, President Biden appointed Ambassador Joseph Yun as Special Presidential Envoy for Compact Negotiations in March. Since then, Yun has led an interagency team that includes senior officials from the Departments of State, Interior, Defense, Energy, and the White House in multiple rounds of negotiations. We expect the negotiations for all three Compact agreements to conclude by the end of this year; current agreements expire in September 2023 for the FSM and RMI, and one year later for Palau. At the Summit, leaders of FSM, RMI, and Palau expressed appreciation at the progress in the negotiations and expressed a strong desire to conclude the negotiations by the end of this year.
II. BUILD U.S. CAPACITY IN THE PACIFIC
The United States is investing in diplomacy across the Pacific by expanding the number of facilities, officers and programs active in the region. By expanding our own capacity, we will better meet the needs of our Pacific partners. In addition to the establishment of U.S. Embassies in Solomon Islands, Tonga and Kiribati, the United States is announcing:
- First-Ever Envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum: The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to Pacific regionalism, with the Pacific Islands Forum at the center, as a vital part of the Indo-Pacific regional architecture. To that end, President Biden designated former Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga, Nauru, and Tonga Ambassador Frankie Reed as the first-ever U.S. Envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum. In this new capacity, the Ambassador will expand U.S. ties and coordination with the Pacific Islands Forum and its members.
- Elevate USAID Presence in the Pacific: Working with Congress, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will open a Pacific regional mission in Suva, Fiji by September 2023, and elevate its presence in Papua New Guinea through a country representative office.
- Return and Expansion of the Peace Corps: Peace Corps volunteers will return to Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and Vanuatu to support communities on education, health, community economic development, and climate action. Additionally, the Peace Corps is finalizing its assessment of Solomon Islands and exploring options for returning to other Pacific countries.
III. COORDINATE WITH ALLIES AND PARTNERS
The United States will amplify its efforts to support the Pacific in close partnership with its allies and partners, including through the new Partners in the Blue Pacific initiative.
Partners in the Blue Pacific: The Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP), launched in 2022, is a new effort from the United States, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom to make our partnership, individually and collectively, with the Pacific more efficient and effective. The Partners welcome the intent of Canada and Germany to join, as well as the engagement of France, the European Union, the Republic of Korea, and India; the PBP invites further cooperation with all those that share its values, objectives, and approach – principally that of consultation and partnership with the Pacific. The PBP will focus on six prospective lines of effort:
- Climate Change Resilience, Adaptation, and Disasters
- Secure and Resilient Technology and Connectivity
- Protection of the Ocean and Environment
- People Centered Development
- Resources and Economic Development
- Political Leadership and Regionalism
IV. TAKE URGENT ACTION ON THE CLIMATE CRISIS, CLEAN ENERGY, AND SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE
The United States will continue to play a leading role in accelerating global efforts to combat the climate crisis in this decisive decade, recognizing the existential threats this crisis presents to the Pacific Islands. The United States will address climate challenges in the Pacific with an investment of over $130 million in substantial resourcing, support, and partnerships, and leverage an additional $400 million in private financing.
- Support for Climate Forecasting and Research: The Biden-Harris Administration will provide new funding, subject to Congressional notification and domestic procedures, to help forecast climate and extreme weather events in the Pacific Islands. The Administration intends to:
- Provide $15 million to help Pacific Islands adapt and build resilience to climate change and extreme weather events by enhancing their ability to identify, anticipate, and prepare for climate impacts on public health and safety, food security, water resources, coastal and ecosystem management, and overall sustainable development.
- Provide $7 million to expand Pacific Island weather and ocean data collection that will provide more accurate and reliable information on ocean conditions that are critical to sea-state forecasts and formulating advisories and warnings to ensure public safety.
- Ocean Mapping Support: The United States is partnering with Palau and other Pacific Island countries to advance ocean mapping projects that will be used to make informed decisions about how to use ocean resources sustainably.
- Resilient Pacific Blue Economy Program: The Administration is working with Congress to provide $4.8 million to establish a Resilient Blue Economies program. The program will help the Pacific Islands climate-proof their “blue” economies. The program will strengthen the capacity of the Pacific Community to combine climate science, marine spatial planning, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture governance, and marine conservation to promote resilient Pacific economies across the region.
- Climate-Smart Infrastructure: Under its Global Partnership for Climate Smart Infrastructure, the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will help mobilize more than $400 million in financing for climate projects that advance Pacific Island countries’ net-zero goals. These activities will also facilitate the deployment of U.S. private-sector solutions in renewable energy and grid modernization to Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga, while helping these countries meet their clean energy, energy security and decarbonization goals.
- Cooperation to Combat Wildlife Trafficking: The Biden-Harris Administration will provide $3.25 million in capacity-building to Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu to combat wildlife trafficking and support implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
- Sea-Level Rise: The United States is adopting a new policy on sea-level rise and maritime zones. This policy recognizes that new trends are developing in the practices and views of States on the need for stable maritime zones in the face of sea-level rise, is mindful of the Pacific Island Forum’s Declaration Preserving Maritime Zones in the Face of Climate Change-related Sea-Level Rise, commits to working with Pacific Island States and other countries toward the goal of lawfully establishing and maintaining baselines and maritime zone limits, and encourages other countries to do the same.
- Natural Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Assistance: Together with its Partners in the Blue Pacific, the United States will provide $5 million, pending Congressional notification and domestic procedures, to bolster the Pacific Islands’ ability to detect and respond to devastating natural disasters. In addition, in 2022, USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance is providing over $14 million to Pacific Islands countries in both humanitarian response and early recovery, risk reduction, and resilience programming in the region.
- Pacific American Fund: In 2022, USAID awarded eight new sub-grants under the Pacific American Fund with a total value of $4.9 million that benefit eight Pacific Island countries (Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu). Subject to availability of funds, USAID intends to award a new round of grants under the Pacific American Fund in 2023 with a value of up to $6 million. These grants seek to bolster communities’ resilience to disasters and climate risks; enhance livelihoods; improve food security, access to water, health and education; support governance; and encourage sustainable natural resources management and biodiversity conservation.
- Climate Adaptation and Other Foreign Assistance: The State Department and USAID intend to support $27 million in programs and technical assistance with the Pacific Islands that invest in adaptation and energy resilience and advance good governance. For example, these programs may support the region’s transition to low emission development by promoting sustainable forest management and improving the sustainability of clean energy investments.
- Addressing Pacific Regional Challenges: The FY 2023 President’s Budget includes $51 million for the State Department and USAID Pacific Islands Regional programming. Programming will address transnational challenges including transborder natural resource issues and biodiversity, regional connectivity and energy security, climate change, and health security.
V. FORGE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AND SUPPORT ECONOMIC RECOVERY
The United States will target more than $50 million in direct support for Pacific Island recovery to enable strong growth for years to come.
- Trade and Investment Dialogue: The United States will establish a Trade and Investment Dialogue with the Pacific Islands to promote trade and address market access barriers. We will work with Pacific partners to establish this dialogue by the end of 2022, to credibly target economic, investment, and market-access needs in 2023.
- Memorandum of Commercial Cooperation with Pacific Island countries: The United States will develop a tailored Memorandum of Commercial Cooperation to facilitate U.S. private-sector engagement in Pacific Island countries on priority projects in infrastructure, climate and energy security, digital connectivity, gender equality and equity, and health and health security.
- Support for Infrastructure in the Pacific Islands: The Biden-Harris Administration will invest in infrastructure across the Pacific, including climate-smart infrastructure. It will:
- Deploy, through the Pacific Island Strategic Infrastructure Initiative, $3 million in technical assistance from USTDA to support feasibility studies, environmental-impact studies, and other project preparation assistance required to help unlock financing for public infrastructure projects, pending Congressional notification and domestic procedures.
- Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST): The United States is committing $500,000 to expanding GIST into the Pacific to help island countries increase environmental and economic resilience by kick-starting businesses that focus on technology solutions to resiliency challenges, pending Congressional notification and domestic procedures.
- Transportation Partnership with the Pacific Islands: The Administration will provide $7 million in new funding through USTDA and the Department of Transportation, pending Congressional notification and domestic procedures, to support technical assistance on sustainable transportation infrastructure and accelerate decarbonization of the transportation sector. The Partnership will promote the implementation and integration of emerging technologies to make transportation systems in the region safer, cleaner, smarter and more resilient to the effects of climate change.
- Expanding Electrification Partnership: The Biden-Harris Administration announced an additional $18 million, subject to Congressional notification and domestic procedures, to expand USAID’s Papua New Guinea Electrification Partnership (PEP) throughout the Pacific Islands. USAID’s PEP activity supports a multilateral partnership with Australia, Japan, and New Zealand that seeks to expand energy access in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and provide a framework for expanding this partnership throughout the Pacific Islands. Through an investment of $18 million, USAID intends to increase the region’s access to affordable and clean energy, improve the performance of energy utilities, promote transparent private sector investments in the energy sector, and expand off-grid clean energy systems in the region.
- Port and Aviation Connectivity: USTDA will deploy over $1 million in partnership-building activities that will connect the Pacific Islands with U.S. private sector solutions that can meet their transportation infrastructure needs. USTDA will support an Airport Checkpoint Design Reverse Trade Mission that will bring aviation security representatives from Fiji, Kiribati and Samoa to the United States.
- Indo-Pacific Opportunities Program: USAID will invest $1 million to strengthen Pacific Islands’ abilities to manage domestic financial resources to respond to economic shocks, improving capacity to better plan for, finance, implement, and manage infrastructure investments.
- Tourism in Solomon Islands: The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will launch a new partnership with the Solomon Islands Ministry of Culture and Tourism aiming to spur tourism investments and jobs in the Solomon Islands. The United States and Solomon Islands signed a $20 million threshold program grant agreement to reduce poverty by addressing constraints to economic growth in the tourism and forestry sectors.
VI. BOLSTER SECURITY COOPERATION AND MARITIME PROTECTION
Geography links the United States’ security to the Pacific Islands. In addition to its existing capacities in the region, the United States will focus on investing in the Pacific Islands security capacity, including coast guards, law enforcement, and disaster response.
- Maritime Security and Marine Protection: The State Department is partnering with the U.S. Coast Guard to provide over $3 million to enhance U.S. Coast Guard training and capacity-building in the Pacific Islands for maritime security and marine protection.
- Law-Enforcement Training: The State Department is partnering with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to provide $2.8 million for FBI-led law enforcement training to Pacific Island countries. Launched to enhance the capacity of the law-enforcement community in the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Palau, this program will expand in 2022 to include Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands.
- Bilateral Security Negotiations: The United States is currently engaged in bilateral security negotiations with Fiji for a new Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) and will soon begin negotiations with Papua New Guinea on a Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA). The United States will pursue other opportunities to negotiate agreements that support Pacific objectives to respond to humanitarian disasters and protect their maritime domains.
- Global Defense Reform Program: The State Department will deliver $2 million in new assistance to improve security-sector governance and institutional capacity of select U.S. partners through advisory support efforts.
VII. IMPROVE DIGITAL CONNECTIVITY AND CYBER SECURITY
The United States will invest in work with the Pacific Islands to improve the region’s connectivity, bandwidth, and cybersecurity.
- Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership: The Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Program will support up to $3.5 million over five years to support the digital transformation of Pacific Islands countries. It aims to foster an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure digital ecosystem in the Pacific Islands. Its priorities are to improve broadband access, strengthen digital policy and regulations, advance digital platforms and solutions for the delivery of public services, and enhance digital skills and literacy.
- Capacity to Fight Cybercrime: The State Department will provide $1.6 million for capacity-building in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu to detect, disrupt, and successfully prosecute cybercrimes.
VIII. COMBAT COVID-19 AND SUPPORT HEALTH SECURITY
COVID-19 has wrought devastation on the world, including in the Pacific; the United States will provide further assistance to the Pacific, including additional vaccines and economic assistance.
- COVID-19 Vaccines: To date, the US has provided over 1 million life-saving doses of Pfizer vaccine to countries in the Pacific Island countries and continues important efforts to get “shots in arms”. We are proud to have delivered over 620 million doses to over 116 countries. We continue to stand ready to offer vaccine doses to countries who need them through our partnership with COVAX to AMC eligible countries in the pacific rim region and around the world.
- Global Health Security Expansion to Pacific: Building on the $57 million in COVID assistance USAID has provided to the region since 2020, USAID plans to invest $5 million in Global Health Security (GHS) funds, to strengthen prevention, detection, and response capacities in PICs to minimize threats posed by emerging infectious diseases.
- Diminishing Dengue with Climate Services: The State Department intends to provide an additional $500,000 to develop dengue early warning and response systems in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau, to advance regional health security and climate resilience.
IX. ADDRESS WAR LEGACIES
The United States is committed to addressing the scars of war across the Pacific region.
- Addressing Unexploded Ordnance: Throughout the Pacific, the United States directly assists nations to expand safe land use for agriculture, infrastructure, development, and tourism projects through remediating unexploded ordnance (UXO). In Palau, the United States just provided $1.1 million to continue its support to a sustainable national UXO clearance program through the National UXO Safety Office. In the Solomon Islands, the United States is initiating a $1 million project to assist the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to survey and remove UXO. The United States is also exploring UXO assistance options for Kiribati and the Marshall Islands in late 2022 and maintains a Quick Reaction Force to support UXO engagements across the Pacific at the request of host nation partners.
Declaration on U.S.-Pacific Partnership
We—the governments of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and the United States of America—meet on the occasion of the first-ever U.S.- Pacific Islands Summit, held at the White House in Washington, D.C. from 28-29 September 2022. Forged by shared history, sacrifice, and values, our partnership has contributed to prosperity, peace, and security in the Pacific Islands, the United States, and the world for generations. Today, in the face of a worsening climate crisis and an increasingly complex geopolitical environment, we recommit ourselves to working together in genuine partnership to address the mounting challenges of our time.
First, we resolve to strengthening our partnership.
We share a vision for a resilient Pacific region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity, where individuals can reach their potential, the environment can thrive, and democracy will be able to flourish. The Pacific Islands vision is reflected in its guiding documents which include the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, a vision that the United States strongly supports. Achieving our shared vision requires a sustained partnership that is rooted in mutual respect, transparency, and accountability. This long-term partnership will require greater capacity; Pacific leaders welcome the United States’ commitment to enhance its engagement, including by expanding its diplomatic presence, the ties between our peoples, and U.S. development cooperation across the region.
We place the highest priority on the resolution of unresolved issues and the timely and successful completion of negotiations relating to the Compacts of Free Association between the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau—one of the cornerstones of U.S.-Pacific cooperation for nearly four decades. The United States recognizes that new resources must be part of any successful negotiation. The United States will amplify its efforts as a Dialogue Partner in the Pacific Islands Forum and will work with partners in consultation with the Pacific to deliver results for the region efficiently, effectively, and transparently.
Second, we commit to bolstering Pacific regionalism.
The Pacific Islands region is stronger united. We acknowledge the important role played by the Pacific Islands Forum in this regard.
Together we commit to bolstering Pacific regionalism, elevating and strengthening Pacific voices in international fora, and enhancing U.S. engagement with relevant Pacific regional organizations, including the Pacific Islands Forum and the Council of Regional Organizations of the Pacific agencies. We will seek greater connectivity between these organizations and other partners who share Pacific objectives and values.
We recognize the central role of the international system, particularly the United Nations, in addressing transnational challenges. Crises will continue to affect our global community in the future. We therefore recognize the urgency of strengthening the global governance architecture to make it fit for purpose and to ensure effective and timely responses to such crises, taking into account the special circumstances of small island developing states (SIDS).
Third, we are committed to tackling the climate crisis together as a priority.
We take the climate crisis as the highest priority of our partnership, for it remains the single greatest existential threat to the livelihoods, security, traditional and customary practices, and wellbeing of people in the Pacific region, including as reflected in the Boe Declaration on Regional Security.
We are united in our commitment to implement the Paris Agreement and we are committed to work together to advance progress at COP27 and beyond. We urge all countries – especially major emitters – whose 2030 nationally determined contributions targets are not yet aligned with the Paris temperature goal to increase their ambition and align such targets with a 1.5 °C pathway before COP27. We urge all developed countries to deliver on their commitment to the goal of mobilizing $100 billion annually through 2025 to support developing countries, in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation. We urge all countries to reduce collective anthropogenic methane emissions at least 30 percent by 2030 from 2020 levels.
We recognize the importance of international collaboration and accelerated action especially within this decade on aviation and shipping emissions, to help put both sectors on a pathway aligned with keeping a 1.5 °C limit to temperature rise within reach.
As we combat the climate crisis, we will also work together to enhance the Pacific Islands’ climate resilience; increase their access to climate finance; cooperate to support the Pacific Islands to adapt to the impacts of climate change, from rising sea levels to more frequent flooding, cyclones and typhoons, drought and extreme weather events that contribute to the heightened risk of water, energy; and food and health insecurity. We are further committed to working together and with other countries and stakeholders to scale up finance and support related to averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage, in particular for vulnerable developing countries.
Fourth, we are committed to enhancing our cooperation to advance economic growth and sustainable development in the Pacific.
We commit to linking our economies more closely for the benefit of all our peoples.
We also seek to forge links within the region, supporting infrastructure, transportation connectivity, cybersecurity capacities, and digital infrastructure in the Pacific.
We will be expanding our cooperation to enhance the development of the sustainable blue economy, including small- and medium-sized enterprises, labor, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, trade, tourism, and addressing supply chains issues and food security.
We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on Pacific economies. Economic recovery will be a top priority requiring finance not only for rebuilding purposes but to meet the commitments we made in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. To this end, we support the work of the UN Panel on Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) for Small Island Developing States and look forward to their recommendations. We encourage relevant international institutions to consider incorporating the MVI into their assessment processes where appropriate.
We further acknowledge the urgent and immediate need for assistance with vulnerability to debt, post-COVID-19.
Fifth, we are committed to supporting each other to better prepare and respond to natural disasters.
The Pacific region continues to bear the brunt of extreme natural disasters from dangerous high tides, tsunamis, ashfalls and volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and increasing frequency of severe cyclones, hurricanes, and droughts. The increasing occurrence of these natural disasters poses existential threats to Pacific SIDS and require protracted periods of recovery, putting further pressure on limited fiscal spending space. To this end, urgent actions and long-term planning are required to increase the capacity of Pacific SIDS to predict and cope with these disasters and to implement adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and resilience strategies. The recent events in Tonga, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Kiribati in recent years clearly demonstrate the devastation of natural disasters in the region.
Sixth, we resolve to protect the Blue Pacific and enhance the laws that govern it.
Together we will strengthen our cooperation on maritime security, maritime conservation, and the sustainable use of the Pacific Ocean based on the rule of law.
We acknowledge the threats posed by climate change-related sea-level rise to regional security, peace, prosperity, and development. It is essential that maritime zones and the rights and entitlements that flow from them must be maintained without reduction, notwithstanding any physical changes connected to climate change-related sea-level rise, recognizing that SIDS and other coastal States have planned their development in reliance on their rights to such maritime zones. We will continue to cooperate on fisheries-related economic development and oceans resilience through the Multilateral Treaty on Fisheries between the Pacific Islands States and the Government of the United States of America and its related Economic Assistance Agreement, while also forging new ties to improve maritime domain awareness, search and rescue, and maritime security; to curb the scourge of marine debris and plastic pollution; and to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing—a threat to the Pacific environment and livelihoods.
We will build partner capacity and capability to ensure rapid response to contingencies and emerging threats, including maritime security and safety.
Together we will find solutions to the major challenges facing the Ocean including through our commitment to conserve and protect 30% of the Ocean by 2030. We further commit to concluding very soon negotiations on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity and a robust international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. We renew our commitment to implementing Sustainable Development Goal 14 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including its targets through genuine and durable partnerships, in a manner that fully addresses the special circumstances of SIDS.
We reaffirm the legal rights and obligations that apply with respect to all states under international law as reflected in UNCLOS.
Seventh, we resolve to maintain peace and security across the Blue Pacific Continent.
The Blue Pacific Continent has been a place of peace for nearly eight decades. We seek to ensure it remains so. In promoting peace and security, we recognize the importance of international law as reflected in UNCLOS, including on freedom of navigation and overflight. We will oppose all efforts to undermine the territorial integrity and sovereignty of any country, large or small. We condemn all wars of aggression, including Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine.
We reaffirm our respect for the ability of nations to make sovereign decisions in the best interests of their people. The Pacific Islands note the United States’ commitment to enhance and deepen its security cooperation in the region. All of us in the Pacific region and the global economy benefit from peace and stability.
Eighth, we commit to continuing our cooperation in addressing COVID-19 concerns and other health-related issues.
We will continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious-disease threats while strengthening regional and national health systems and capabilities, and strengthening the capability to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats, including through relevant regional organizations; and increase our collective commitments towards adequate, stronger, and sustainable global financing for future pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response.
Non-communicable disease is a top health priority for the Pacific Islands. We recognize the importance of addressing this issue given its impact on the health of our populations and the economic prosperity of our nations.
Ninth, we commit to expanding opportunities for all our peoples.
Our deepest ties are between our peoples. We will strengthen connections between the United States and Pacific Islands through support for education, training, youth development, and exchange opportunities. We will identify priority areas for strengthening people-to-people ties and ways to address them.
We will redouble our commitment to gender equity and equality, including the elimination of gender-based violence, both online and offline, taking full account of the 2012 Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration. Together we will continue to strengthen democratic institutions across the Pacific, including through support for accountability, transparency, anti-corruption, civil society, human rights, and an independent and free media environment.
We acknowledge the critical role of the diaspora in the sustainable development of Pacific Islands and commit to strengthen links between the diaspora and local communities. We encourage expanding opportunities for diaspora investments.
We recognize the power of sports in bringing people together and commit to support the development of sports in the Pacific region. Expanding sports ties between our countries and peoples will lead to greater understanding of one another’s societies and build support for areas like health and youth development. We also recognize the positive influence of coaching and the structures which support sport.
Tenth, we reaffirm our commitment to comprehensively address the legacies of conflict and the promotion of nuclear nonproliferation.
World War II ended nearly 80 years ago, but its scars remain in the Pacific. We, too, acknowledge the nuclear legacy of the Cold War. The United States remains committed to addressing the Republic of the Marshall Islands’ ongoing environmental, public health concerns, and other welfare concerns.
The United States is committed to the safe removal and disposal of unexploded ordnance, and hereby acknowledges the concerns of Pacific Island States regarding other remnants of World War II. We are united in our support for the nuclear nonproliferation regime, including the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; as well as the important role of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Eleventh, way forward and future implementation of the Partnership.
This joint vision will guide us as we enter the most consequential period in the history of our partnership. Its implementation will proceed in accordance with, and be guided by, the principles it sets out: mutual respect, transparency, and accountability. To that end, our political leaders, as appropriate, and our officials will meet regularly, bilaterally and collectively, to ensure our partnership continues to deliver practical results for our people and the world. We welcome cooperation with all partners, in the region and beyond, who share in the objectives and values stated hereto. This statement is made in the respect of the competences of the signatories and of the respective governments.
September 29, 2022
Prime Minister Mark Brown of Cook Islands
Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama of the Republic of Fiji
President David W. Panuelo of the Federated States of Micronesia
President Edouard Fritch of the Government of French Polynesia
Charge d’Affaires Josie-Ann Dongobir of the Republic of Nauru
President Louis Mapou of the Government of New Caledonia
President Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. of the Republic of Palau
Prime Minister James Marape of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea
President David Kabua of the Republic of the Marshall Islands
Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa of the Independent State of Samoa
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of Solomon Islands
Prime Minister Siaosi ‘Ofakivahafolau Sovaleni of the Kingdom of Tonga
Prime Minister Kausea Natano of Tuvalu
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. of the United States of America
Ambassador Odo Tevi of the Republic of Vanuatu
Additional Information – Remarks, Fact Sheets etc
- Biden hosts first Pacific Island country summit
- Declaration on U.S.-Pacific Partnership
- Pacific Partnership Strategy (in full)
- Remarks by President Biden at the U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit
- FACT SHEET: President Biden Unveils First-Ever Pacific Partnership Strategy
- FACT SHEET: Roadmap for a 21st-Century U.S.-Pacific Island Partnership
- United States releases historic Pacific strategy, promising to fight climate change, rebuff China’s ‘coercion’ – The US Ambassador to NZ Tom Udall and international relations expert Robert Patman spoke to AM.
- United States to recognise Cook Islands as a sovereign state
- Background Press Call by Senior Administration Officials Previewing the U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit
- USAID Announces Expansion in the Pacific Region And Reaffirms Commitment to bolster Resilience In The Pacific Islands at the 2022 U.S.-pacific Island Country Summit
- U.S. Pacific Island Country Summit roundtable on Climate Action with Special Envoy Kerry
- United States Announces Enhanced Engagement with the Pacific Islands
- MCC’s Solomon Islands Grant a Key Element of the U.S.-Pacific Partnership
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken At the U.S.-Pacific Island Country Leaders Working Lunch On People-Centered Development in the Pacific
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken and President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands David Kabua, President of the Federated States of Micronesia David Panuelo, and President of Palau Surangel Whipps Jr. Before their Meeting
- Joint Statement on Partners in the Blue Pacific Foreign Ministers Meeting
- U.S. Environmental and Conservation Priorities
- Readout of The Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP) Ministerial
- Announcing the Special Presidential Envoy for Compact Negotiations
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken at the Ministerial Meeting of the Partners in the Blue Pacific
- United States Announces Commitments at Seventh Our Ocean Conference
- United States Congress and the Pacific Island Country Summit
- Fact Sheet: 2022 Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders
- Blinken, partners advance Indo-Pacific cooperation
- U.S. a ‘steadfast partner’ in the Indo-Pacific
- U.S. and Pacific partners aid Tonga after disaster
- The climate crisis threatens these marine creatures [photo gallery]
- Fact Sheet: U.S. Relations with Samoa