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Polynesian Leaders Group

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Seat  by rotation
Establishment  2011
Polynesian Leaders Group
Members  3 sovereign states  Samoa  Tonga  Tuvalu 5 territories  Cook Islands  Niue  American Samoa  French Polynesia  Tokelau

The Polynesian Leaders Group is an international governmental cooperation group bringing together eight independent or self-governing countries or territories in Polynesia.

Contents

The idea of a Polynesian regional grouping had been discussed for several years, notably in response to the Melanesian Spearhead Group, a regional grouping for countries in Melanesia. In September 2011, Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi initiated a meeting with the leaders of Tonga, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands and Niue on the margins of the Pacific Islands Forum summit in Auckland. These initial talks led to a second meeting in Apia which, on November 17, led to a memorandum of understanding formally establishing the Polynesian Leaders Group (PLG).

The Group does not have a fixed Secretariat at present, despite initial suggestions that one would be established in Apia. The Group held its first formal meeting in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands in August 2012.

Goals

Announcing the launch, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said the member countries would work together "through this group to seek a future for our Polynesian people and countries where cultures, traditions and values are honored and protected. Where sustainable economic prosperity is achieved, where democratic values are observed, human rights promoted and protected as well as upholding the rule of law." It was also announced that the countries would cooperate in the fields of "education, culture and language, transport, environmental conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation, health, agriculture and fisheries, tourism, trade and investment".

The fourth section of the Memorandum of Understanding read; The meeting decided that through the PLG, members will work together in the spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation to: Encourage sharing knowledge and experiences in awareness and education to promote and protect cultures, traditions and languages; Encourage mutual support of development efforts in areas including but not limited to: transport, energy, environmental conservation, climate change, education, health, agriculture and fisheries, tourism, trade and investment; Encourage respect for the quality of governance, observance of democratic values and human rights rule of law and right to self-determination; Encourage the strengthening of connections with institutions of regional and international cooperation.

Membership

There are eight founding members: three sovereign states (Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu), two self-governing states in free association with New Zealand (the Cook Islands and Niue), an unincorporated territory of the United States (American Samoa), an overseas country of France (French Polynesia), and a nation that is also a dependency of New Zealand (Tokelau). Membership could potentially be extended in future.

Full members

  •  American Samoa
  •  Cook Islands
  •  French Polynesia
  •  Niue
  •  Samoa
  •  Tokelau
  •  Tonga
  •  Tuvalu
  • Observers

  •  Hawaii
  •  New Zealand
  •  Easter Island
  • New Zealand

    In September 2011, Niuean Premier Toke Talagi had noted that "we consider New Zealand and Hawaii, for example, as being part of the Polynesian Triangle so they could very well be part of the members of this Polynesian Group". Tuilaeapa, while also acknowledging that New Zealand was geographically part of Polynesia, said there might be "complications" to inviting New Zealand into the Group.

    Fiji

    In November, he stated it had been "decided that a state, territory or an indigenous Polynesian population can be invited to become a member or as an observer by a consensus decision of the founding members". A few days later, discussing the founding of the Group with Radio Australia, Tuilaeapa said that Fiji could be welcomed as a member in future. Despite Fiji being usually considered a Melanesian country just outside the Polynesian Triangle, albeit with a culture and political traditions influenced by Polynesia, Tuilaepa argued that "Fiji is within this triangle and its founding leaders considered themselves as Polynesians. Obviously, the current leadership is leaning towards our Melanesian brothers."

    Leadership

    Chairs

    References

    Polynesian Leaders Group Wikipedia


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