top of page
  • Writer's pictureAdmin

Palau vice president endorses US territories' membership in Pacific Island Forum

By Frank Whitman

Palau Vice President Uduch Sengebau Senior called for an “enhanced organizational structure” and the inclusion of the American Pacific island territories in the larger Pacific Islands Forum.

 “What becomes clear is that the MIF is rapidly emerging as a critical 

organization for moving forward Micronesian issues both regionally and internationally,” Senior said in her closing remarks at the conclusion of the 26th Micronesian Islands Forum Tuesday.

She noted the organization's role in assisting members in meeting domestic development needs.

“It is quite apparent that we need an enhanced organizational structure that is led by a professional secretary general and that is backed by staff and committee coordinators to ensure that identified issues are carried forward and implemented in a timely fashion,” she said.

She also called for a joint agreement to formalize MIF and a clarification of the relationship between MIF and the Micronesian Presidents Summit.

The 26th MIF took place June 2 and 3 in Guam. 

The MPS comprises leaders of the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau and the Marshall Islands.

“Under this broader MIF umbrella, the MPS should focus on the political relationship within the larger Pacific region through the Pacific Islands Forum,” Senior said.

PIF comprises Australia, Cook Islands, FSM, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

“Within this context, we must recognize that the jurisdictions in our Micronesian subregion and in our Pacific region must have the right to join together in subregional and regional organizations regardless of our political affiliation,” she said. 

She announced Palau’s support for the membership in PIF of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa, and for the participation in PIF of partners, including the Republic of China (Taiwan).

Palau is one of only a dozen nations in the world with full diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Senior saluted the success of the MIF standing committees in identifying the islands’ needs. “We now need to give them the support that they deserve by identifying sufficient funding to provide them,” she said.

She also encouraged members to align existing efforts with the MIF Secretariat, including the local 2030 Islands Network and the Pacific Community. She noted the successful collaboration between the MIF and the Guam Green Growth and Sea Grant in supporting the 26th MIF meeting as well as support from the Pacific Community to the Gender Equality Committee.

We can replicate those collaborations and forge other partnerships with the support of like-minded friends, including the U.S., Australia, Japan, Republic of China, (Taiwan), and others,” she said.

“Covid-19 and climate change have demonstrated to all of us our vulnerability to major economic and environmental shocks,” Senior said.

“Only through continued discussion, meetings and collaboration will our region be able to address these resulting issues in a dynamic ocean of change. And we very much appreciate and need the friendship and relationships that we develop through this regional meeting," she added.

Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. was unable to attend the MIF due to a prior commitment, Senior said.

Subscribe to

our digital

monthly edition


bottom of page