USA–Pacific Islands Summit: Declaration on U.S.–Pacific Partnership

On 28-29 September 2022 the inaugural United States-Pacific Island Country Summit was held, including the governments of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and the United States of America. On 29 September 2022 the United States-Pacific Island Country Summit issued the Declaration on U.S.-Pacific Partnership which, among 11 agreed points, includes:

Sixth, we resolve to protect the Blue Pacific and enhance the laws that govern it.

Seventh, we resolve to maintain peace and security across the Blue Pacific Continent.

2022 Declaration on U.S.-Pacific Partnership

Further detail on initiatives to implement the USA’s commitments is found in the U.S. Roadmap for a 21st-Century U.S.-Pacific Island Partnership, published 29 September 2022. On 29 September 2022, the USA also published a national strategy dedicated to the Pacific Islands, entitled, Pacific Partnership Strategy, which is supportive of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy and “aligned with the goals” of the Pacific Island Forum’s 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.

Significant commitments and policies of interest across a range of thematic areas of ocean governance are found within the documents cited above. To highlight here, following previous reporting (2), is the practice addressing the preservation of maritime zones:

We acknowledge the threats posed by climate change-related sea-level rise to regional security, peace, prosperity, and development. It is essential that maritime zones and the rights and entitlements that flow from them must be maintained without reduction, notwithstanding any physical changes connected to climate change-related sea-level rise, recognizing that SIDS and other coastal States have planned their development in reliance on their rights to such maritime zones […]

2022 Declaration on U.S.-Pacific Partnership

Sea-Level Rise: The United States is adopting a new policy on sea-level rise and maritime zones. This policy recognizes that new trends are developing in the practices and views of States on the need for stable maritime zones in the face of sea-level rise, is mindful of the Pacific Island Forum’s Declaration Preserving Maritime Zones in the Face of Climate Change-related Sea-Level Rise, commits to working with Pacific Island States and other countries toward the goal of lawfully establishing and maintaining baselines and maritime zone limits, and encourages other countries to do the same

Roadmap for a 21st-Century U.S.-Pacific Island Partnership

Secondly:

Recognition of Cook Islands and Niue: The United States will recognize the Cook Islands and Niue as sovereign states, following appropriate consultations.

Roadmap for a 21st-Century U.S.-Pacific Island Partnership

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