A stable and prosperous Pacific is essential to Australia’s security and foreign policy. However, the complexity of regional challenges demands fresh and innovative approaches.
In July 2017, GAP established the International Centre for Democratic Partnerships (ICDP) – an independent, non-profit, non-political organisation that encourages and facilitates dialogue, discussions and better relationships between Australian and Pacific established and emerging leaders. ICDP is implementing Pacific Connect – a Government-funded program to forge strong and enduring people-to-people links between the Pacific and Australia across the public, private and community sectors.
GAP SUMMIT FOR THE PACIFIC AND SMALL ISLAND NATIONS
On 18 June 2021, GAP, in association with ICDP and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), held the inaugural GAP Summit for the Pacific and Small Island Nations to consider Environment, Society and Governance (ESG) issues in the context of a post-pandemic recovery.
GAP is now pursuing a range of projects raised by the Summit, including work with the OECD on building regional economic and governance capability to empower a ‘blue recovery’ in the Pacific, a digital fisheries platform, and regional biomarine research hubs.
The Summit’s Communiqué outlines the key messages of the event which brought together 120 high-level participants from 16 countries.
PACIFIC CONNECT IDEAS EXCHANGE
On 18-19 September 2019, ICDP and GAP, with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, held the Pacific Connect Ideas Exchange at NSW Parliament House.
The event was the culmination of ICDP’s activities over the previous twelve months in strengthening Australian and Pacific people-to-people links through a series of meetings, workshops and Dialogues held in the region under the banner of Pacific Connect. Through these engagements, ICDP works with established and emerging leaders from the Pacific and Australia to help facilitate longer-term connections.
PACIFIC CONNECT ANNUAL FORUM
The first Pacific Connect Annual Forum, co-hosted by ICDP and GAP on 6 September 2018 at NSW Parliament House, brought together over 80 guests from Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
Participants discussed digital connectivity as an ‘enabler of opportunity’ in the Pacific and suggested ways to create a sustainable, people-centred, project-focused Pacific Connect community. They backed efforts to build ‘One Pacific’ through closer ties enabled by new submarine cables and improving mobile networks, and highlighted the role technology can play in supporting traditional customs and culture.