The Pacific islands are steadfast friends and neighbors of the United States, and positive relations with the Pacific region are an enduring U.S. foreign policy priority. The United States shares the values and aspirations of its Pacific neighbors, and its ties to the Pacific island countries are deep and long-standing. Counselor to the President John Podesta’s attendance at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Post Forum Dialogue (PFD) demonstrates continued U.S. commitment to the Pacific islands region and to issues that are of utmost importance to the Pacific islands and the United States, including oceans, climate change, renewable energy, economic growth, sustainable development, education, health, and environmental conservation. The U.S. delegation will include senior officials from the National Security Council, United States Pacific Command, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of State, Department of the Interior, U.S. Peace Corps, USAID, and the State of Hawaii. In addition to attending the PFD, Counselor Podesta will conduct consultations on bilateral and regional issues with heads of state of the Pacific Islands Forum members and other senior foreign officials.
The United States remains intently focused on the Pacific region and is increasing and better focusing its foreign assistance. At last year’s Pacific Islands Forum, the United States announced several, multi-year programs, such as the Pacific American Climate Fund and Disaster Preparedness for Effective Response (PREPARE). These programs are now in operation and will continue improving lives around the Pacific in the years to come. In June, Secretary Kerry hosted the “Our Ocean” Conference with considerable participation and support from the Pacific region. During the conference, the United States further committed to the protection of the ocean, a life force for the Pacific community, by announcing its intent to expand protections near the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and highlighting programs that will address the challenges of ocean acidification and marine pollution. Strong U.S engagement in the Pacific will continue with a delegation to the upcoming UN Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) conference in Samoa. The United States is dedicated to its partnerships in the Pacific region, which will continue to grow in years to come.