Regional Security Outlook Report, cites wide array of regional security threats in Pacific


The Pacific Island Forum’s Regional Security Outlook Report casts light on the wide array of regional security threats facing the Pacific in the coming two years.

In addition to the strategy focus areas outlined by Leaders in the 2019 Boe Declaration Action Plan (Climate Security, Human Security and Humanitarian Assistance, Environment and Resource Security, Transnational Crime and Cyber-enabled Crime and Cybersecurity), we have experienced new and varied threats over the past few years. 

Since the development of the Boe Declaration Action Plan, the Pacific region has seen several significant security threats materialise. 

Security at the national level across the region over the past two years has been highly influenced by COVID-19 related public order measures, humanitarian disasters including floods, cyclones and volcanic eruptions, and civil unrest related to political events. 

The following provides a snapshot of some of the many recent security events across the region, highlighting the greatly varied nature of security issues which the Blue Pacific Continent regularly confronts. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive disruption across the region, resulting in untold human suffering and economic turmoil. In addition to causing over 2500 deaths in Pacific Islands Countries by July 2022,1 the pandemic eroded traditional revenue bases in tourism-dependent countries, increased dependencies on already-stretched sectors such as fisheries, led countries to take on greater debt and increased community reliance on remittances. 

But it has not been all bad news. The pandemic has also forced Pacific peoples to innovate and has highlighted the value of traditional Pacific ways of working together in the face of challenges. 

Many Pacific peoples have increased their usage of modern technologies to communicate socially and transact business, significantly advancing previous digital transformation efforts. Communities have banded together to care for the sick and protect their loved ones, including with self-imposed lockdowns, and the region has stood side-by-side to help each other through the creation and implementation of the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19 (PHP-C). 

Similarly, despite a challenging post-election period in Samoa in 2021, Forum values as enshrined in the 2000 Biketawa Declaration such as upholding democratic processes and institutions, the peaceful transfer of power, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary were reaffirmed through the actions of political leaders and the Samoan community more broadly. 

The months-long period of post-polling instability culminated with more than one thousand protesters gathered in front of the Government building in Apia to protest against judicial rulings. While the protests drew a large police presence, Samoa’s democratic institutions and rule of law were maintained and the situation remained largely peaceful.