At the U.S.-Pacific Islands Forum Summit meeting at the White House on September 25, President Biden renewed our commitment to enhancing our partnership with the Pacific Islands, and the respective governments, to achieve our shared vision for a resilient Pacific region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity, where individuals can reach their potential, the environment can thrive, and democracy can flourish.  Last year, the Biden-Harris Administration released the first ever U.S. Pacific Partnership Strategy with an ambitious slate of initiatives to achieve this vision and meet Pacific priorities including announcing plans to provide over $810 million in new assistance.  And in May, Secretary Blinken highlighted our commitment to working with Congress for over $7.2 billion in new funding and programs for the Pacific Islands region. 

Today, President Biden announced a new slate of activities, including plans to work with Congress to request and provide nearly $200 million in funding.  These new programs and activities continue to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to work together with the Pacific Islands to expand and deepen our cooperation in the years ahead. 

Driving Forward the U.S.-Pacific Partnership
The foundation of our approach to the Pacific remains strong and productive bilateral and regional collaboration with the Pacific Islands, and listening and responding to Pacific priorities.  Our priorities are informed by those outlined in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and in support of the Pacific regional architecture led by the Pacific Islands Forum.

  • Recognizing Cook Islands and Niue: President Biden announced that the United States recognized Cook Islands and Niue as independent, sovereign nations and intends to establish diplomatic relations with each nation.  This momentous occasion celebrates our shared history, common values, and people-to-people ties.  We also affirmed our shared values of promoting democracy, combating climate change, and supporting a free and open region that benefits people in the Pacific.  The recognition of the Cook Islands and Niue and establishment of diplomatic relations with both nations marks a historic achievement that will further strengthen our friendships and deepen our bonds for many years to come. 
  • Increasing Our Diplomatic and Development Footprint:  Since the last Summit President Biden hosted, we have opened embassies in Solomon Islands and Tonga.  We intend to open an embassy in Vanuatu in 2024, having completed Congressional notification procedures this year.  We are also discussing our interest in opening an embassy with the Government of Kiribati.  We followed through on our commitment to open a USAID regional Pacific Mission in Fiji and a Country Representative Office in Papua New Guinea.  Today, we also announced that USAID plans to double its current staffing footprint and hire more Pacific Islanders to deliver effective and Pacific-informed programs. 
  • Announcing Intent to Offer Consular Services in New Embassies:  We intend to offer U.S. Citizen passport and emergency services and visa services in the new embassies in Solomon Islands and Tonga and the future embassy in Vanuatu.  Consular services will promote deeper people-to-people ties through two-way travel. 
  • Sustaining High-Level Engagement: To build on increased high-level engagement under the Biden-Harris Administration, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield will lead the U.S. delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in November 2023.  We also announced our intention to hold the next U.S.-Pacific Islands Forum Summit in 2025.
  • Strengthening Regional Institutions:  The United States believes it is important to be guided by Pacific priorities and needs, and values a strong, unified, and resilient Pacific Islands Forum.  To that end, the United States intends to provide $500,000, subject to Congressional notification, to strengthen the Pacific Islands Forum’s institutional capacity and increase U.S.-PIF cooperation. 
  • Advancing a Democratic, Resilient, and Prosperous Pacific Islands Region:  At the inaugural U.S.-Pacific Island Summit, the United States signaled its plans to increase regional development assistance to the Pacific Islands. In line with this announcement, the Administration is requesting and working with Congress to provide an additional $64 million in development assistance across the Pacific Islands to advance priorities laid out in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and to advance additional bilateral support for Papua New Guinea and the Freely Associated States (the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau). 
  • Compacts of Free Association: The Compacts of Free Association with the Freely Associated States have formed a bedrock of U.S.-Pacific cooperation for nearly four decades.  We remain deeply committed to these partnerships.  In May we signed Compact-related economic assistance agreements with the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau, and we are forging ahead in our negotiations with the Marshall Islands. 
  • Delivering for Veterans in the Compact Nations: The Department of Veterans Affairs has chartered a new Advisory Committee on U.S. Outlying Areas and the Freely Associated States which will identify issues and recommend solutions to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for the real challenges our veterans face in the Pacific.

Tackling the Climate Crisis
Five years ago PIF Leaders declared that climate change is the “single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security, and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific.”  The United States will continue to work with the Pacific Islands to enhance global ambition to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, accelerate the clean energy transition, and help Pacific Islands adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change.

  • Sea-level rise and statehood:  For some States, particularly low-lying island States in the Pacific Ocean, increasing sea levels pose an existential threat.  Today, the President announced that the United States considers that sea-level rise driven by human-induced climate change should not cause any country to lose its statehood or its membership in the United Nations, its specialized agencies, or other international organizations.  The United States is committed to working with those States and others on issues relating to human-induced sea-level rise and statehood to advance these objectives. 
  • Supporting Maritime Limits and Boundaries:  Maritime zones are critical for the economies of the Pacific Islands, which depend on exclusive rights to resources.  The Department of State supports the participation of Pacific Island countries in the Centre for International Law (CIL) of the National University of Singapore and the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) workshop on Resolving Complex Maritime Boundaries to enhance their legal capabilities in order to negotiate and establish their own maritime limits and boundaries in the face of sea-level rise and threats to a free and open Pacific. 
  • Doubling Down on Early Warning Systems (EWS) for All and Data for Resilience:  The United States intends to provide $8 million, subject to Congressional notification and the completion of domestic procedures, to expand our Information Services for Resilience Initiative announced last September.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will continue to invest in weather and climate observations, provide critical communications services, and develop decision-support tools and products so that all Pacific Island communities have access to effective early warnings. We plan to build strong expert networks throughout the Pacific for integrating climate data and risk into island-led sustainable development, including through efforts being pioneered through the Local2030 Islands Network, which includes Pacific Island countries as well as Hawai’i, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  Additionally, the Department of State continues to advance climate-based early warning for dengue fever and plans to convene a major pan-Pacific meeting on climate-health in 2024.
  • Supporting Climate Adaptation Solutions and Mobilizing Climate Finance:  USAID intends to develop, working with Congress, a new climate finance activity that will build on the success of its current Climate Ready program, which has mobilized more than half a billion dollars in climate finance for the region.  This new activity is designed to continue to help Pacific regional organizations and national governments access the climate finance needed to support climate change adaptation efforts.  USAID also intends to continue to support grants to provide local solutions to help communities address local climate issues.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture is funding $8.5 million for the Freely Associated States for urban community forestry and invasive species science and management activities.
  • Strengthening Regional Disaster Preparedness:  USAID is providing $12.2 million to bolster local, national, and regional disaster preparedness and capacity-building interventions throughout the Pacific Islands that promote self-reliance, enabling partner countries to lessen the impacts of natural hazards and respond more effectively to disasters.  USAID also continues to support the Federated States of Micronesia’s recovery from Typhoon Wutip, which made landfall in 2019, and is providing $6.3 million of additional disaster assistance which supports ongoing efforts to reconstruct housing and public infrastructure.
  • Launching the Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP) Fisheries and Ocean Science Vessel Initiative:  Through the Partners in the Blue Pacific, the United States intends to provide $5 million, subject to Congressional notification, to co-fund a fisheries and ocean science vessel to be managed by the Pacific Community (SPC).  The vessel will support sustainable management of the region’s tuna resources at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission as well as ocean science research critical to addressing climate change impacts on the ocean. 
  • Expanding the Resilient Pacific Blue Economy Program:  The United States intends to provide an additional $1 million to the Resilient Blue Economies program we launched with the Pacific Community (SPC) in 2022.  This funding will enable SPC to collaborate with the Pacific Islands to climate-proof their sustainable ocean economies by developing marine spatial plans based on robust stakeholder engagement and rigorous scientific input.
  • Promoting Pacific Women’s and Girls’ Climate and Clean Energy Leadership:  Around the world and in the Pacific, women and girls are on the frontlines of climate impacts and solutions.  This new $1.5 million initiative supports implementation of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Pacific Energy and Gender Strategic Action Plan (PEGSAP), which seeks to promote women’s climate and clean energy leadership and economic security by increasing career and income generating opportunities for women and girls in 22 Pacific Island Countries and Territories through pilot projects to promote women-owned businesses in the sale, distribution, and maintenance of renewable energy systems, and scholarships for women and girls to pursue studies in relevant science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
  • Biosecurity Workshop and Training: The Department of State will support the Freely Associated States’ and Kiribati’s participation in the Department of Agriculture’s annual biosecurity workshop to strengthen their ability to better prevent, detect and eradicate incipient populations of invasive species from their islands as well as better manage and mitigate the damage caused by existing populations.
  • Strengthen Customs Facilitation of Disaster Relief Items:  USAID and U.S. Customs and Border Protection plan to conduct a technical workshop and subsequent virtual trainings with nine Pacific Island countries.  The workshop trains customs officials to clear relief items from both public and private partners in response to emergency situations.

Investing in Trade Ties and Economic Development
The United States is committed to partnering with the Pacific Islands, allies, and partners to drive economic growth and prosperity, including through increasing trade and investment ties; providing assistance to strengthen enabling environments, infrastructure, and macroeconomic stability; and continued support for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Expanding Access to Finance for Development:  The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and USAID intend to launch an up to $50 million flexible Microfinance Facility to expand access to finance for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Pacific Islands, with an emphasis on climate resilience and adaptation-focused enterprises, as well as women-owned enterprises. 
    • As a first step, DFC and USAID intend to issue an open expression of interest to gauge interest from financial institutions and learn about opportunities to mobilize lending in DFC-eligible countries in the Pacific Islands. 
    • We plan to leverage partnerships with the international financial institutions to support high quality, sustainable investments in resilient economic growth in the Pacific.  The Department of Treasury is working with Congress to unlock significant new financing from the World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank to spur investments to support countries addressing global challenges like climate change and boost highly concessional funding for immediate crisis response in vulnerable countries like those in the Pacific.  The United States is committed to securing strong replenishments for the International Development Association and the Asian Development Fund in 2024, with significant focus on support for small states.   
  • Deepening Economic Partnerships and Development:  The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Government of Kiribati intend to sign a $29.1 million threshold program grant agreement to advance economic growth in Kiribati in partnership with the International Labour Organization and American Councils for International Education.  Once finalized, this program would help bolster the capabilities of the Kiribati Ministry of Employment and Human Resource to promote safe, accessible, decent, and inclusive employment opportunities for Kiribati workers and to strengthen workers’ rights and resilience. In addition, through partnership with the Kiribati Ministry of Education, the program would empower youth with the skills they need to thrive in the economy of the future.  The Kiribati program would build on the MCC’s previous and ongoing partnerships in the Pacific Islands, including a $20 million threshold program with the Solomon Islands, which aims to increase tourism investment and to provide communities with revenues from sustainable forestry as an alternative to logging.
  • Building Financial Sector Resilience:  As part of U.S. efforts to promote reliable, trusted financial channels and connectivity in the Pacific, the United States intends to provide $1 million, subject to Congressional notification, to strengthen the enabling infrastructure supporting the expansion and development of electronic Know Your Customer systems that will help banks in the Pacific Islands comply with international anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements.  The Administration also intends to provide $1.25 million, subject to Congressional notification, as an extension of support for the IMF’s Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Center (PFTAC) to strengthen the capacity of Pacific countries to design and implement sound macroeconomic and financial policies, including expanded support for climate-related public financial management.
  • Delivering on the Economic Assistance Agreement Related to the Tuna Treaty:  The United States and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency have signed a new 10-year, $600 million agreement to promote economic development in the Pacific Islands and support fisheries management, development and sustainability.  President Biden included $60 million for the first year of this agreement in the President’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget request to Congress. 

Building Resilient and Secure Infrastructure
Today, the President announced plans to expand the U.S. Pacific Islands Infrastructure Initiative, working with Congress, to provide more than $28 million, and to request from Congress an additional $12 million, to support secure, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure in the Pacific Islands.  In coordination with our Pacific partners, including Japan and Australia, the United States will support a range of projects and activities intended to support inclusive, climate-resilient economic development across the region. 

  • Increasing Digital Connectivity and Redundancy:  The United States supports connecting the Pacific Islands to commercial, international subsea cables through efforts such as the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI).  Building on international commercial subsea cables under development, the United States will provide an initial investment of $3 million, subject to Congressional notification, and the Administration intends to request from Congress up to $12 million to support spurs in the region to meet the demand for additional secure ICT infrastructure investments. This announcement includes an initial investment of up to $3 million, subject to Congressional approval, for a USTDA feasibility study for the new Central Pacific Cable, which would run from Guam to American Samoa to complete the triangle with Hawaii and could connect up to an additional 12 Pacific Island countries.
    • The United States also intends to provide an additional $2.5 million to continue U.S. support for the East Micronesia Cable in partnership with Australia and Japan, on top of our prior $20 million commitment.  The cable provides digital connectivity for Kiribati, Nauru, and the state of Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia by linking them with the existing HANTRU-1 undersea cable that connects Guam and the Marshall Islands.
  • Enhancing Pacific Digital Development for the Future:  Working with Congress, USAID intends to invest an additional $2 million to accelerate the region’s digital transformation and provide more reliable and affordable connectivity by supporting the effective deployment of undersea cables and complementary satellite technologies through industry partners.  USAID also intends to assist countries as they implement their respective national broadband plans, including assisting with the transition from 3G-4G infrastructure to 5G, adopting Open RAN in their network deployments, and increasing cybersecurity readiness of key critical infrastructure.
  • Improving Infrastructure Access:  The United States plans to provide, working with Congress, up to $10 million in additional funding to initiate a range of regional infrastructure and development projects that the U.S. Government plans to develop with partners over the next several years, including tourism and ports, as well as USTDA-supported project preparation for clean energy, digital, healthcare, and transportation projects under the Pacific Islands Infrastructure Initiative.
  • Bolstering Pacific Competitive and Resilient Economies:  Working with Congress, USAID intends to provide $8 million to launch a new, demand-driven initiative to diversify trade opportunities in the Pacific and increase competition to drive economic growth.  The initiative engages public and private partners to make the business environment and economic system more efficient, transparent, and resilient, while also providing transaction advisory services to make private sector infrastructure investments more competitive.  Support also includes working with financial institutions to increase access to U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and other multilateral or bilateral financing facilities, direct financing products, and loan portfolio guarantees to increase fair, competitive, and transparent small- and medium-sized enterprise lending.
  • Renewing U.S. Support to the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility (PRIF):  The United States intends to renew our funding to the PRIF with an additional $1.25 million, subject to Congressional notification, to continue support for climate-resilient infrastructure development and donor coordination.
  • Transaction Support for Majuro Dock Expansion Project:  USAID will provide transaction advisory services to a Marshall Islands-based private sector company, Pacific International Inc., to prepare the company to secure investment and financing to expand its current dock infrastructure, a key part of the tuna value chain.  Once completed, the dock expansion project will allow RMI to increase its capacity to land and offload sustainably caught tuna as well as enable better catch documentation and enforcement of legal fishing.

Supporting Peace and Security
The United States has long supported peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the Pacific Islands.  We seek to continue to engage with the longstanding regional architecture to promote maritime security including the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and other likeminded partners including Australia, New Zealand, and France.

  • Enhancing Maritime Domain Awareness:  As part of the Indo-Pacific Quad-supported Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) initiative, the United States intends to provide, working with Congress, $11.4 million to support the IPMDA-Pacific pilot.  IPMDA-Pacific intends to bring cutting-edge maritime domain awareness technology to the Pacific Islands, and to facilitate coordination on maritime law enforcement and information analysis between the FFA, the Oceania Customs Organization, the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police’s Pacific Transnational Crime Network, and their member Pacific Islands.  This Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) funded initiative intends to work with these regional institutions to:  accelerate information analysis and exchange; build capacity for in-country information collection to support analytical efforts; and strengthen interoperability and mutual legal assistance networks between regional bodies and in-country transnational crime units. 
  • Expanding United States Coast Guard (USCG) Presence in the Pacific:  The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane, is scheduled to arrive in region in late 2023 as the first ever USCG Indo-Pacific support vessel dedicated to collaborating with Indo-Pacific partners.  By the end of 2023, USCG assets will have been deployed for a total of 380 days of operations supporting Pacific Island countries’ sovereignty this year.
  • Enhancing Ports and Customs Security:  Working with Congress, the United States intends to provide $3 million to support Pacific partners’ ability to strengthen port security and customs, counter-trafficking, and anti-money laundering efforts.  The State Department INL-funded Advancing Port Enhancement and Customs Security program intends to expand Homeland Security Investigations’ ongoing $400,000 border security programming in Vanuatu in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration to work with criminal justice institutions, particularly customs and border officials, to enhance the capability of ports, deploy airport screening equipment and further support capacity-building for law enforcement in Fiji, Kiribati, and Samoa. 
  • Training Future Military Leaders:  Over the past five years, the United States has provided over $2 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) funding for Fiji, Tonga, and Papua New Guinea.  Through the IMET program, we facilitated training for 43 students from Fiji, 16 students from Tonga, and 25 students from Papua New Guinea at U.S. professional military education institutions. These programs help build enduring ties between our security forces and train future Pacific Island security force leaders.
  • Addressing War Legacies Through Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Assistance:  Throughout the Pacific, the United States continues to make more land safe for agriculture, infrastructure, development, and tourism by locating and destroying UXO.  The United States is providing an additional $4.2 million to address this issue.
    • In addition to the $1 million in funding the United States dedicated at the 2022 Summit to locating UXO in Solomon Islands, the United States intends to provide, working with Congress, an additional $2.5 million to accelerate efforts in Solomon Islands to protect civilians from these deadly hazards. 
    • In Fiji, the United States conducted explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) training with 15 Republic of Fiji Military Forces personnel to build UXO identification and destruction capacity.
    • In Marshall Islands, the United States initiated a $1.7 million project to identify and destroy UXO remaining from World War II.
    • In Palau, the United States trained 12 local personnel in EOD, cleared 9.2 acres of land of UXO, and destroyed over 1,276 UXO items.
    • Following a request from Papua New Guinea, the United States deployed its UXO emergency response capability, the Quick Reaction Force, to address UXO needs in four provinces.
  • Honoring the Fallen:  Our ties were forged in the battles of World War II throughout the Pacific Theater.  The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and its partners continue to work closely with host nation governments all over the world to search for, recover, and identify the remains of Americans missing from World War II to return to them to their families for burial with full military honors.  In fiscal year 2024, there are 12 investigative and 15 recovery missions, terrestrial and underwater, that are planned in seven Pacific Island Nations.
  • Strengthening Cybersecurity and Cyber Capacity in the Pacific: Working with the Partners in the Blue Pacific, the United States will provide $750,000 in funding which will be used to plan, coordinate, and execute an annual Pacific Cyber Capacity and Coordination Conference (P4C) in the Pacific region for three years.  The P4C will provide a forum for Pacific Island partner nations to convene, establish, and build upon regional networks; enhance coordination on cybersecurity capacity among Pacific Island countries and among donor countries; enhance regional trust and transparency; and demonstrate breadth, depth, and choice of cybersecurity initiatives from trusted PBP partner governments.

Enhancing Our Longstanding People-to-People Ties
While our longstanding ties were forged during World War II, they have only deepened through rich exchanges between our countries and vibrant Pacific Islander diaspora communities across the United States.

  • Launching U.S. – Pacific Islands Sister City Relationships:  As we strengthen our bilateral ties with the region, the United States launched our “7 for 70” Campaign to promote deepened ties between the United States and the Pacific through the formation of new sister cities partnerships.  The United States intends to form at least seven sister cities partnerships with other Pacific Islands by 2026 in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of Sister Cities International.  These partnerships will enhance cultural, educational, youth, information and trade exchanges and relationships amongst cities in the United States and the Pacific Islands, starting with Papua New Guinea.
  • Increasing Academic and Work Exchange Opportunities for the Pacific:  The United States provided $4 million in FY2023 to support people to people exchange programs between the Pacific Islands and the United States.  This includes academic exchanges, opportunities for youth and mid-level leaders through the Young Pacific Leaders program and the Pacific Islands Professional Fellows Program, as well as funding for English Language Programs and the American Spaces across the region.  Working with Congress, the United States intends to more than double the number of academic exchange opportunities for Pacific Island countries, to include the U.S. South Pacific Scholarship Program, Fulbright, and the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program. 
    • The U.S.–Pacific Institute for Rising Leaders Fellowship, funds travel for 30 mid-career public service professionals from Pacific Island countries and territories to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington for a four-week leadership development program to improve leadership and decision-making, while deepen their understanding of key international issues.
    • For the first time ever, the United States intends to provide up to $70,000 in funding so that students from the Pacific Islands can travel to the United States for the popular BridgeUSA Ambassador Fund for Summer Work Travel.
  • Returning Peace Corps to the Pacific:  Peace Corps Volunteers have returned to Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga, working side-by-side with local counterparts in the areas of education, economic development, youth, and climate.  Peace Corps is working to return Volunteers to Vanuatu in 2024.  Peace Corps Volunteers and staff are supporting environmental education and resilience activities, literacy development, women’s economic empowerment, digital literacy, and training of communities in disaster response.  
  • Connecting Young Leaders via the Blue Pacific Youth Initiative:  The Peace Corps is launching jointly, with local partners and USAID, an initiative to engage Pacific Islander youth in their role as caretakers and advocates for their ocean continent and home.  Through funding of $400,000 from USAID, Peace Corps Volunteers will work with youth and other partners on such activities as elevating climate literacy, bolstering community adaptation projects, and reinforcing disaster mitigation plans. Peace Corps Tonga will pilot elements of the initiative through the launch of the Pacific’s first climate-specific project.  The Blue Pacific Partnership Initiative will launch a Blue Pacific Youth Champions symposium to build capacity and networking opportunities for young climate leaders. 
  • Promoting Sportsmanship Among Our Youth: Midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy Rugby team will travel to the Pacific Islands in May 2024 for rugby exhibition matches and youth empowerment programming.  
  • Celebrating Cultural Heritage at the Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture:  The United States will host the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPac) for the first time in Hawai`i in 2024.  The world’s largest celebration of indigenous Pacific Islanders, FestPac promotes the preservation and revival of traditional arts and cultures of the Pacific for future generations.  This year’s festival is also an opportunity to showcase the unique indigenous Pacific Island cultures of the United States.  The United States is pleased to announce a $750,000 grant to the Pacific Community (SPC) to support participants’ travel to Hawai`i.


Stay Connected

Sign Up

We'll be in touch with the latest information on how President Biden and his administration are working for the American people, as well as ways you can get involved and help our country build back better.

Opt in to send and receive text messages from President Biden.

Scroll to Top Scroll to Top