The Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP) is an independent, non-profit, regionally focused think tank based in Port Vila, Vanuatu. The stated aim of PiPP is to stimulate and support informed policy debate in the Pacific.[1] A central feature of PiPP’s model of engagement with policy stakeholders is the distribution of research via several mediums including: research syntheses, discussion papers, forums, public debates, social networking, audio and video pod casts, press, radio and television. PiPP was established on November 21, 2007 under the Vanuatu Charitable Associations (Incorporation) Act [CAP.140]. PiPP covers policy issues across the following Pacific Island Countries: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

PiPP Activities


PiPP discussion papers focus on highlighting contemporary Pacific policy issues and stimulating debate on them. Past papers include:

Title Summary Date Published
Discussion Paper 20: NET BENEFITS - Upgrading the coconut wireless: Internet uptake in the Pacific This paper examines the shifting technology landscape in the Pacific. Published: 16.04.12
Discussion Paper 19: FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Exploring food security in the Pacific It has often been said that nobody goes hungry in the Pacific, but is this true? Such assumptions are now being challenged by a number of indicators, suggesting real challenges around food security. Published: 06.12.11
Discussion Paper 18: URBAN HYMNS - Managing urban growth Exploring the need for Pacific nations to better manage urbanisation. Published: 21.07.11
Discussion Paper 17:YOUTHQUAKE - Will Melanesian democracy be sunk by demography? The need for political reform to governing systems across Melanesia as its young population booms. Published: 22.03.11
Discussion Paper 16: MICRONESIAN EXODUS How a range of public policies can shape a country’s experience with migration. Published: 13.12.10
Discussion Paper 15: ISLAND DREAMING-A fresh look at Pacific regionalism A fresh look at Pacific regionalism. Published: 20.10.10
Discussion Paper 14: AID, TRADE, CHARADE? Rethinking the language and assumptions of the aid-centric approach to development in the Pacific. Published: 16.06.10
Discussion Paper 13: REGIONAL MIGRATION An abridged version of ‘Resources, population and migration in the Pacific: Connecting islands and rim’by Brian Opeskin and Therese MacDermott. Published: 20.04.10
Discussion Paper 12: CLIMATE COUNTDOWN- time to address the Pacific’s development challenges The sirens have sounded on climate change. Pacific islands are on the frontline and some are facing an existential threat to their very existence. Published: 14.12.09
Discussion Paper 11: DEFINING PACER ‘PLUS’ Inclusive national consultation for wider participation in PACER Plus discussions. Published: 20.10.09
Discussion Paper 10: VANUATU´S ECONOMIC GROWTH Little noticed, economic growth in Vanuatu has accelerated in recent years dispelling the myth that Pacific economies cannot grow. Published: 27.07.09
Discussion Paper 09: LENDING FIJI A HAND - The need for international engagement and a national dialogue The time for tit-for-tat squabbling is over. It is time to help steer Fiji back to its rightful position as a regional leader. Published: 09.07.09
Discussion Paper 08: THE ART OF NEGOTIATION Negotiating a Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations between the Pacific island countries, Australia and New Zealand. Published: 28.05.09
Discussion Paper 07: ADB MEMBERSHIP FEES Why increasing the cost of ADB membership matters for Pacific island countries. Published: 12.03.09
Discussion Paper 06: GOING MOBILE IN VANUATU Social and economic impact study exploring how households use telecommunications and the impact on livelihoods. Full Report visit the reports download centre. Published: 10.12.08
Discussion Paper 05: BETTER TRADE FOR THE PACIFIC An update on emerging trade agreements being negotiated by Pacific Island countries. Published: 04.11.08
Discussion Paper 04: SMALL CAN BE BEAUTIFUL A new way of looking at small island economies. Published: 28.08.08
Discussion Paper 03: BEYOND FISH AND COCONUTS Trade agreements in the Pacific islands. Published: 05.08.08
Discussion Paper 02: MELANESIAN SPEARHEAD GROUP The MSG is the strongest sub-regional political and economic alliance in the Pacific. Published: 01.07.08
Discussion Paper 01: LESSONS FROM THE EPA A trade deal between the European Union and the Pacific was never going to be easy. This paper looks back at the five years of negotiations to draw out the key lessons Published: 04.06.08

Forums and Debates

Many forums facilitated by PiPP occur via the 'MP Face to Face' programme, aimed at stimulating democratic dialogue through bringing politicians to their people in an open, public forum styled question and answer setting.[2] Forums have been held acrosss Vanuatu and have been broadcast live on Radio Vanuatu and Vanuatu's national television station (TBV).

A subregional version of the forum, known as Melanesia Face to Face, was held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in 2011. Participants including the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu, Dame Carol Kidu MP and the Director of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

PiPP also holds Annual Pacific Debates; the inaugural event coinciding with the 41st Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Port Vila. The 2011 debate occurred in Auckland during the 42nd Pacific Islands Forum meeting held in Auckland and focused on urbanisation and economic growth in the Pacific.[3]

Pacific Poll

In 2011, PiPP conducted polling which gauged public opinion on the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), the level of support for West Papuan independence,[4] and the nature of Melanesian identity.[5] The poll also measured attitudes held towards Australia.[6] This was the first poll carried out simultaneously across the four independent Melanesian countries.

Policy Focus Areas


Throughout 2011, PiPP contributed to discussion surrounding Vanuatu's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).[7] And a report on the benefits of Vanuatu's WTO membership was published.

PiPP contributes to policy debate surrounding the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER Plus) with its insights cited in the media[8] and by government departments including Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).[9]

Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Since the telecommunications sector was opened to competition in 2007, PiPP has tracked the behavioural changes and trends in the use of mobile phones. The number of people owning and using mobiles is growing fast. Universal ownership is the most likely future.[10]


PiPP works together with organisations including United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)[11] and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN HABITAT). Apart from participation in the 2011 Pacific Urban Forum[12] PiPP has raised awareness on Pacific urban issues via a 2011 discussion paper and media engagement.[13]

Election Coverage

PiPP has been an active commentator on elections throughout the region, particularly during the 2008 Vanuatu elections which resulted in a fractured and splintered Parliament.[14]

Leadership and Management Structure

Derek Brien is PiPP's executive director and co-founder, and Nikunj Soni is the board chairman and founder. A Board and Advisory Council exist to assist with research direction and policy agenda of the organisation with current members including diplomats, academics and high-level policymakers from throughout the Pacific.


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