Regionalism on its way to the Pacific

Regional integration projects are a growing phenomenon and paradoxically occur in tandem with what is loosely called “globalization”. Regionalism has the distinct characteristics that countries in a definable geographic area have significant historical experiences in common and find themselves facing the same general problems, which has resulted in the development of socio-cultural, political, and/or economic linkages that distinguish them from the rest of the global community. If the relations among particular groupings of geographically proximate countries are being nurtured, it can lead to the development of organisations charged with the management of crucial aspects of the region’s collective affairs.

Located in between the powerful economic hegemonies of NAFTA  and the ASEAN, is The Pacific Area, which since 1971 has formed a political coalition of states – the Pacific Island Forum.

The PIF is an intergovernmental organisation, which includes the membership of 16 different states in the Pacific. Since its creation in 1971 it has actively followed the role of  rying to “accelerate improvements to development coordination in the region, to maximise the effectiveness and impact of the resources of Pacific island  governments” (Pacific Plan 2010, 146), hence enhancing the cooperation between the independent countries of the Pacific Ocean. This cooperation was further thickened by the establishment of the regional Trade Agreements PICTA and PACER[1],
which would ensure free trade within the region, further  adding to the integration and the
interdependence of states within the region.

The increased level of integration and hence the significance of the forum caused in 2003 The Australian Strategic Policy Institute to reveal that the current Australian prime minister was promoting the idea of a “European Union of the South Pacific[2]


[1]    Pacific Island Forum
“Regional Trade”, http://forum.forumsec.org/pages.cfm/economic-governance/regional-trade-1/  accessed on the 26th of October

[2]    UPI.com
“Australia proposes South Pacific union “http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2003/07/22/Australia-proposes-South-Pacific-union/UPI-22191058905125/” accessed on the 26th of October