7 Nov 2016

Forum still relevant and effective - study

8:52 am on 7 November 2016

The Pacific Islands Forum is still relevant, and Pacific countries want New Zealand and Australia to remain in it, according to a new study.

Leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum in the Federated States of Micronesia in 2016.

Leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum in the Federated States of Micronesia in 2016. Photo: PNG PM media

Stephanie Lawson, from Australia's Macquarie University, has been researching the history of regionalism and the way the forum has evolved since it was formed in the 1970s.

She said the forum has grown to take on many roles, as well as some of the inefficiencies of a large bureaucracy, but it remains largely effective and relevant.

"There's plenty for the forum to do now and in the future and it's probably played a positive role in many areas of development," she said.

"I think it does have a lot of relevance, it is the premier forum for political leaders in the Pacific islands to get together, and as far as all my research has shown to date, most of the Pacific islanders want it to remain that way."

However New Zealand and Australia's membership has prompted Fiji to boycott the meetings since its suspension from the Forum was lifted in 2014.

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