There is room for three more new member to be part of the Polynesian Leaders Group, one of the founding members Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi welcoming Wallis and Fatuna to the fold.
The French territory’s is now the ninth member of the PLG since the group was formed six years ago in Apia.
And it was accepted with open arms during the PLG’s annual meeting in Apia in the eve of opening the 48th annual Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting.
But Tuilaepa reminded the group to expect more new members, with Hawaii, Easter Island and New Zealand Maoris in waiting.
The three potential members have formally registered interest to be included in the group and Tuilaepa urged the PLG to consider the three applications.
“We need to be more formalized in our structure.
“I think we have reached the stage where the issues have become sophisticated in some of these issues,” said Tuilaepa. “And we (PLG) are right at the center.”
Other members of the PLG are French Polynesia, Tonga, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, Niue, American Samoa and Tokelau, while Easter Island and Hawai’i attend as observers.
The PLG was brainchild by Tuilaepa who initiated a meeting with the leaders of Tonga, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands and Niue on the margins of the Pacific Islands Forum summit in Auckland in 2011.
The initial talks led to a second meeting in Apia in November that led to a memorandum of understanding formally establishing the Polynesian Leaders Group (PLG).
Announcing the launch, Tuilaepa said the member countries would work together “through this group to seek a future for our Polynesian people and countries where cultures, traditions and values are honored and protected.”
It target is for members to achieve sustainable economic prosperity, observe democratic values, human rights and to promote and protect as well as uphold the rule of law.
It was also designed for the countries to cooperate in the fields of “education, culture and language, transport, environmental conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation, health, agriculture and fisheries, tourism, trade and investment.”