太平洋島諸国・国際政治講座

The New Relations between the Pacific Island Nations and Japan in the Age of Globalization

4.Ways of Linking the Pacific Island Nations with a Wider World
(1) The problem of the Island Nations as a Global Agenda

The problem of global warming and the rise of sea level threatening the PINs exhibits the necessity of considering assistance to the PINs as part of the global agenda faced by the entire international society. In this sense, the "Japan-U.S. Common Agenda--Common Issues for Cooperation with a Global View" (July 1993) provides and excellent example. It refers to a plan for assisting the Government of Palau in constructing a coral reef conservation center in the area in connection with the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI). It refers also to the Parks-in-Peril Program which focuses on Latin America and the Caribbean countries. Further progress is expected in the future in the system of assistance to the island countries by cooperation between the United States and Japan, which brings together the former's interest in the Caribbean and latter's in the Pacific islands.

Within APEC also some regional approaches have been made to environmental issues. The Environment Congress for Asia and the Pacific (Eco-Asia) has been active since its beginning in 1993. APEC has organized Environment Ministerial Meetings and adopted several statements on environment such as the APEC Environment Vision Statement and a Framework of Principles for integrating economy and environment in APEC. The SPF representatives attended these APEC meetings on environment as an observer. The PINs could, either individually or jointly through the SPF, SPREP, SOPAC etc. become more important participants in such regional cooperation aiming at environmental conservation.(*8)

(2) Outside Assistance to the Island Nations

As has been made clear by the comparison with the Caribbean Island countries, another important issue is how to combine the regional cooperation among the island countries themselves and the system of assistance from countries outside the region to the island countries. In the case of the Caribbean, historical ties with the Western European countries such as Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands remain important. In this respect, the recently agreed extension of the Lom

In the Caribbean, the United States and Canada play a large role in the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) as "outside" investors and the counterpart in the Pacific should be Japan. The five advanced countries of the Pacific Rim--the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada--should construct a core for international assistance to the PINs and Japan is in a position to take the initiative. There is no multinational organization that focuses solely on the PINs that corresponds to the CDB and it would be difficult establish a new organization. Since the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has functions that correspond to such a need, it would seem best to strengthen these functions. In that case, the ADB should refer to the example of the CDB where the specialists are almost all procured from within the Caribbean and should aim to nurture their own development specialists recruited from within the region, eventually positioning them in the individual countries. In this way PINs would become less dependent on "external" experts in economic policy. Functions of international development banks are not just in financial assistance but also in capacity building.

(3) "Asianization" of the Problem of the Pacific Island Nations

In the case of the Caribbean, the role played by Venezuela, as a major power in Hispanic America merits special attention. At the moment is not easy to find a corresponding example in the Asia Pacific. Theoretically, Indonesia would occupy a similar position in terms of geographical location and the scale of economy. However, until Indonesia recovers from its current political and economic confusions, it would not be realistic to expect too much from this country. Unsolved issues with Papua New Guinea, such as the Irian Jaya, may also be deterrents in fostering relations between Indonesia and the PINs. Malaysia, propelled by its interests in forestry resources of the PINs, maintains resident representatives in several places in the region. Philippines is another candidate among the ASEAN members which will become interested more and more in the affairs of the PINs. Despite of temporary setbacks, on a long-term basis, it will be important to begin envisioning a plan for the 21st century for a broader regional mechanism of assistance to the PINs that will incorporate many East Asian countries, once the East Asian economy has recovered. There will come a day when PECC and APEC will seriously take up the problem of the PINs as one of its important agenda.

*8: Yoko Ogashiwa, "The Pacific Island Countries in Asia-Pacific Regional Frameworks----Retrospect and Prospect", Hiroshima Peace Science, No. 20 (1997), p.347.
The New Relations between the Pacific Island Nations and Japan
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