Regionalism in the Pacific



Publication Details

Hawksley, C. & Wolfers, E. P. (2011). Regionalism in the Pacific. In A. Cullen & S. Murray (Eds.), The Globalization of World Politics: Case Studies from Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific (pp. 83-85). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.


While Europe demonstrates tendencies towards centralization of authority and coordination through the European Parliament and Commission and common policies, Pacific regionalism is more diverse and decentralized. With an estimated 700 governmental and non-governmental organizations in the Asia-Pacific region overall (Crocombe 2007: 13), it is clear that Pacific regionalism involves several combinations of actors in different type of formal and informal organizations with a variety of purposes.

With its history of colonization, ongoing decolonization and the interplay of the interests of several regional and global powers, regionalism in the Pacific Islands is a rich tapestry of organizations that address issues of concern to different combinations of countries: global security, economi development, aid, culture, fisheries and the environment, resources. and small state interests, for example. Powerful 'non-regional' actors participate in various regional organizations a members, dialogue partners or donors, and interact with regional bodies in diverse ways. For example, Australia, together with New Zealand, plays a strong role in state-strengthening measures, providing development assistance, trade promotion and other forms of cooperation in the Pacific. However, Pacific Island states are branching out aud have also created a wide variety of regional and sub-regional organizations.

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