The Pacific Islands Forum was founded in 1971 as the South Pacific Forum. In 2000, the name was changed to the Pacific Islands Forum to better reflect the geographic location of its members in the north and south Pacific.
Founding members of the Pacific Islands Forum were Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, Tonga and Western Samoa – now Samoa.
The Secretariat to the Forum was initially established as a trade bureau in 1972 and later became the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Co-operation (SPEC). In 2000, when the name of the Forum changed, the Secretariat became the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
The annual Forum meetings are chaired by the Head of Government of the Host Country who remains as Forum Chair until the next meeting.
Since 1989, the Forum has held Post Forum Dialogues with key Dialogue Partners at Ministerial level. There are currently 15 partners – Canada, People's Republic of China, Cuba, European Union, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States.
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is based in Suva, Fiji. The Secretariat's mandate is delivered through the annual Leaders' Communiqués and high level ministerial meeting decisions.
The Forum Secretariat is led by the Secretary General (currently Tuiloma Neroni Slade of Samoa) who is directly responsible to the Forum Leaders and to the Forum Officials' Committee (FOC).
FOC is the Secretariat's governing body comprising representatives from all Forum members.
The Forum Secretariat is also mandated to coordinate the implementation of the Pacific Plan for strengthening regional cooperation and integration.
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Forum Leaders agreed through the Forum Compact in August 2009 that the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) should, among other things, establish and report annually to the Pacific Islands Forum on a process of regular peer review of Forum Island Countries' (FICs') national development planning and budget processes to:
a. promote international best practice in key sectors,
b. improve effective budget allocations and implementation to achieve national development priorities; and
c. guide support from development partners.
The Cook Islands works with PIFS on Aid Effectiveness, which refers to the relative strength of development assistance and development cooperation in achieving its stated goals and objectives. Continual attempts are being made by the donor community in collaboration with multilateral organisations and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in ensuring that development assistance is as effective as possible. Such attempts are generally aligned with efforts to increase the degree of donor assistance harmonisation, with some focus given to reducing duplicated assistance efforts, greater harmonisation through joint donor formulation of country assistance programs and the like, regular donor and development assistance recipient meetings on terms and conditions of development cooperation, and adherence to internationally ratified aid effectiveness principles.
One key action is the Cook Islands Peer review scheduled for 2013, more details on this PIFS program on http://www.forumsec.org/pages.cfm/strategic-partnerships-coordination/pacific-principles-on-aid-effectiveness/peer-reviews.html