The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) is an inter-governmental organization that aims to enhance cooperation between the independent countries of the Pacific Ocean. It was founded in 1971 as the South Pacific Forum. In 1999, the name was changed; Pacific Islands Forum is more inclusive of the Forum's Oceania-spanning membership of both north and south Pacific island countries, including Australia. It is an official observer at the United Nations.
The mission of the Pacific Islands Forum is “to work in support of Forum member governments, to enhance the economic and social well-being of the people of the South Pacific by fostering cooperation between governments and between international agencies, and by representing the interests of Forum members in ways agreed by the Forum”. Its decisions are implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), which grew out of the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Co-operation (SPEC). As well as its role in harmonising regional positions on various political and policy issues, the Forum Secretariat has technical programmes in economic development, transport and trade. The Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General is the permanent Chairman of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP).
Australia and New Zealand are generally larger and wealthier than the other countries that make up the rest of the forum, Australia's population is around twice that of the other 17 members combined and its economy is more than five times larger. They are significant aid donors and big markets for exports from the other countries. Military and police forces as well as civilian personnel of Forum states, chiefly Australia and New Zealand, have recently been part of regional peacekeeping and stabilization operations in other states, notably in Solomon Islands (2003–) and Nauru (2004–2009), under Forum auspices. Such regional efforts are mandated by the Biketawa Declaration, which was adopted at the 31st Summit of Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, held at Kiribati in October 2000.
In September 2011, the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands were granted observer status in the Pacific Islands Forum, while in September 2016 the French territories of French Polynesiaand New Caledonia were granted full membership.