This week Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters are in Nauru attending the 49th Pacific Islands Forum. Against the backdrop of well-publicised strategic anxieties and foreign policy recalibration towards the Pacific Islands here, here and here, this year’s pre-eminent annual meeting of regional leaders is shaping up to be particularly interesting.
First, a new security declaration, known as Biketawa Plus, will be launched. This will be the newest addition to the regional security architecture since the Biketawa Declaration was signed eighteen years ago. The 2000 Biketawa Declaration is best known for mandating the fourteen year-long Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and the new declaration, likely to be named the Boe Declaration after Nauruan Prime Minister Baron Waqa’s home district of Boe, seeks to expand both regional cooperation and the concept of security.