Pacific Security Snapshot | 02 May 2024


➣ Increasing measures taken around the region to protect environmental security

➣ Results uncertain following elections in Solomon Islands

➣ PNG discusses plans for a council on gun violence and control

➣ Progress and setbacks for LGBTQI+ communities


Pacific leaders travelled to Greece in April for the 9th Our Oceans Conference. The conference aimed to progress regional collective efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and other challenges affecting Pacific maritime territories.

The Government of American Samoa is continuing to explore the possibility of joining the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat as a member. American Samoa currently possesses observer status on the Forum.

The Indonesian Ambassador to Fiji has met with Nauru President David Adeang to strengthen ties as a dialogue partner and affirm Nauru’s role in upholding the 2018 Boe Declaration.


Solomon Islands took to the polls in April. The country’s security relations were a focus of the campaign, with incumbent Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare platforming upon a solidified security relationship with China. Opposition members campaigned to scrap the arrangements in favour of alignment with other allies, such as Australia. Results from the election show that although Sogavare has not successfully secured the numbers needed to form government, two coalition groups are intensely lobbying to create the new government. One group is led by Jeremiah Manele, who replaced Sogavare as leader of Our Party, and Matthew Wale of the Democratic Party leads the other. The election of the Prime Minister will take place at the beginning of May. The impact of these elections on the broader security context of the region remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, geopolitical dynamics play out in domestic spheres with evolving international security dynamics and escalating global conflict. For example, Fiji’s support of Israel has raised questions about its traditional role as a peacekeeper.

Climate Security

Environmental organisations warn that coastal communities in Tonga remain vulnerable following the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption and tsunami in 2022 and continue to face food and water shortages.

Tokelau and Tuvalu are taking proactive measures to protect their language and cultural practices in the event of loss to climate change. The methods are drawn from a digital cultural preservation strategy that documents and records sacred sites.

Fiji, Australia and New Zealand will form a multilateral coalition to address problems of overfishing in the region. The move comes alongside Fiji’s goal to prioritise better equipped infrastructure for the management of environmental disasters.

Maori leaders, along with Polynesian elders from Tonga, Tahiti, Hawai’i, and Rapanui, have signed a treaty granting whales personhood. This will recognise whales as legal persons. The declaration seeks to support Indigenous stewardship over their ancestral waters, which in turn will allow for stronger conservation of whales and the ocean.


Questions surrounding gun control in PNG were discussed at a conference between members of the PNG military, police, the United Nations and the European Union. The discussion indicates that a council will be established to serve as an overarching body to monitor gun violence and gun control.

Gender and Social Security

Same-sex relationships have been decriminalised in Cook Islands, in a move towards improved Gender Equity and Social Inclusion. However, LGBTQI+ communities in the region continue to face discrimination as demonstrated by the recent death of a transgender woman in Fiji, allegedly due to a hate crime.

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