Regionalism

“We are stronger when we work together and support each other.”

PASO Chairperson, Mr. Magele Hoe J. Viali.

PASO was born out of a Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in 2002 and founded on the concepts of sovereignty and regionalism in 2005 when the Pacific Islands Civil Aviation Safety and Security Treaty (PICASST) came into force. 

The PICASST recognises that each Member State of PASO “has complete and exclusive sovereignty over its airspace and responsibility for aviation security regulatory oversight within its territory”.

Map of PASO Member Countries

As a CROP agency, PASO has a regional aviation leadership role to progress aviation policy development and regional collaboration

Effective Pacific collective action

Article three of the PICASST articulate a vision for regional collaboration to achieve individual State obligations for regulatory safety and security oversight of civil aviation under the Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation regionally in the Pacific and in their States for the areas of:

  • Airworthiness,
  • Flight operations
  • Airports
  • Security
  • Personnel licencing

Strong Member State’s aviation regulatory frameworks are key to maintaining and establishing viable and sustainable connectivity between Pacific States and are essential as an enabler of economic growth through tourism and trade links.

PASO is underpinned by the fundamental principle that by operating as a collective, on a shared resource basis governed by the PASO Council, Pacific aviation regulation is more harmonised, compliant, cost effective and efficient than Members acting independently.

This principal aligns with the Framework for Pacific Regionalism (FPR), endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in July 2014 which articulates Pacific regionalism as:

“The expression of a common sense of identity and purpose, leading progressively to the sharing of institutions, resources, and markets, with the purpose of complementing national efforts, overcoming common constraints, and enhancing sustainable and inclusive development within Pacific countries and territories and for the Pacific region as a whole.”

The Framework expresses a vision for the Pacific as:

“Our Pacific Vision is for a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity, so that all Pacific people can lead free, healthy, and productive lives.”

The Framework recognises for Pacific Regionalism to succeed it requires the support, commitment, and ownership of all parties – Pacific people, including governments and administrations, civil society organisations, private sector representatives, regional organisations, development partners, media, and other key stakeholders.

Further to the FPR, in 2019 the Forum Leaders endorsed the development of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, which will acknowledge the growing need for urgent and immediate actions on threats and challenges of climate change. The Leaders also agreed that the Strategy must advance resources towards the protection of our Ocean’s health and integrity, sustainably managing our island and ocean resources, promoting air, sea and ICT connectivity to ensure the health and benefit of the people.

In progressing this, the Leaders tasked the review of the regional Council of Regional Organisation in the Pacific (CROP) architecture to ensure that governance and resourcing arrangements are available to deliver the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.

Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP)

PASO is member of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) and the only CROP agency with headquarters permanently based in Vanuatu.

CROP membership currently includes the following Pacific regional intergovernmental organisations: Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA); Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP); Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS);  Pacific Power Association (PPA); The Pacific Community (SPC); Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO); and the University of the South Pacific (USP). The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum is the Permanent Chair of the CROP.

As an active member of CROP, PASO contributes to Pacific regionalism efforts in the aviation safety and security regulatory oversight space, including participating in important regional issues and communicating on issues of common interest and importance to the region, in accordance with our mandate.

PASO works collaboratively to assist our Member States improve their aviation regulatory environment in the ‘Pacific way’ through regional leadership, and maintains strong relationships with other Pacific countries and territories who are not signatories to PICASST.

PASO’s broader regional aviation leadership role is to progress aviation policy development and regional collaboration, particularly for air connectivity, optimisation and economic development through the enabling of regional aviation efficiency and effectiveness for regional and State economic growth. This includes broader aviation initiatives, such as infrastructure development, asset management and maintenance support.

Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) Heads Meeting in 2018

CROP

Micronesian Presidents Summit in Palau 2018

CROP

Regional Aviation Ministerial Meeting (RAMM)

In 2018 the PASO Council endorsed PASO to work with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) to establish a regional meeting of Aviation Ministers to identify collaborative and unified approaches that could benefit the region.

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the September 2020 PASO Council recommended holding a virtual Regional Aviation Ministers’ Meeting (RAMM) in 2021, possibly in April.

The RAMM presents a unique opportunity to progress regional collaboration and solutions, and organise political support around harmonisation and cooperation for Pacific regional aviation safety, security and recovery. This Ministerial meeting provides an opportune time to reset the strategic landscape in our Blue Pacific region for air connectivity and economic recovery.

PASO is working cooperatively with the PIFS, other CROP Agencies, non-PASO Members including the Northern Pacific States and French territories, and international aviation partners including the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to progress arrangements for the RAMM.

Last Updated on November 26, 2020