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What led to the establishment of the South Pacific Forum?

The South Pacific Forum was established due to the need for regional cooperation and consultation among Pacific Island countries.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Pacific Island countries were undergoing significant changes. Many of these nations were transitioning from colonial rule to independence, and there was a growing recognition of the need for regional cooperation and consultation. This was particularly true in the face of external pressures and challenges, such as the Cold War, nuclear testing, and the increasing influence of external powers in the region.

The idea of a regional forum was first proposed by the Prime Minister of Fiji, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, in 1970. He suggested that the Pacific Island countries should come together to discuss common issues and challenges, and to present a united front to the outside world. This idea was supported by other regional leaders, and in 1971, the South Pacific Forum was established.

The founding members of the South Pacific Forum were Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, Tonga, and Western Samoa. The Forum's initial focus was on economic development, but its remit quickly expanded to include political and security issues. The Forum provided a platform for the Pacific Island countries to discuss and coordinate their responses to regional and international issues, and to advocate for their interests on the global stage.

The establishment of the South Pacific Forum marked a significant step in the development of regionalism in the Pacific. It reflected the desire of the Pacific Island countries to take control of their own destinies, and to work together to address the challenges and opportunities facing the region. Over time, the Forum has evolved and expanded, and it continues to play a crucial role in regional cooperation and consultation in the Pacific.

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