The University of the South Pacific (USP)convened the inaugural Track Two Pacific Dialogue on Security and Geopolitics earlier this month, bringing together 20 participants, including academics and researchers, civil society representatives, and government and regional officials attending in a non-official capacity.
Convened at the Laucala Campus on December 4th and 5th, the Track Two Pacific Dialogue focused on the geopolitical landscape in the region, the state of military activities in the Pacific, and Pacific responses to geostrategic dynamics.
USP’s acting Head of the School of Law and Social Sciences (SoLASS), Associate Professor Sandra Tarte, said the Track Two Dialogue aimed to foster and support dialogue on how rising geopolitical tensions are impacting the Pacific.
“While this was an initiative that USP drove, it was planned in consultation with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat with a view to support the Forum’s call for strengthened collective action to proactively manage the regional security environment. To date, most official discussions regarding regional security have not included an in-depth discussion of the issue of geopolitical dynamics and the implications for Pacific island states”.
At the end of the event, it was highlighted that the immediate next step is the finalisation of an outcomes document summarising the key items discussed, the range of views expressed, any clear areas of agreement and divergence, and identifying both information gaps and patterns that emerged during the discussions.
“It is the intention to bring this report to the next Forum Sub Committee on Regional Security in early 2024, as well as to circulate more broadly to regional governments, partner governments, regional organisations, and Pacific communities.”
Regional participants who were part of the dialogue also expressed strong views at the end of the dialogue that the process continues and that USP remains the convenor. The ongoing Track Two Pacific Dialogue is intended to be used as an integral part of the Pacific’s security architecture, providing an informal mechanism to discuss security in the Pacific outside of official processes.
About Track Two Diplomacy
Track Two diplomacy is an unofficial channel of dialogue that allows for more free and open discussion than is possible in official Track One (or even Track 1.5 diplomacy).
The Track Two Dialogue process provides a safe, informal environment in which sensitive issues can be discussed. The idea is to promote better mutual understanding of key issues, thereby building a foundation for future official dialogues.