Melanesian Spearhead Group

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Melanesian Spearhead Group
Map indicating the membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
Map indicating the membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
Seat Vanuatu Port Vila, Vanuatu
 -  Director General Solomon Islands Peter Forau
 -  as Melanesian Spearhead Group 1983 
 -  Total 585,560 km2
363,850 sq mi
 -  2010 estimate 8,348,000
 -  Density 35/km2
90.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
 -  Total US$ 20.512 billiona
 -  Per capita US$ 2,457
Time zone
a. If considered a single entity.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is an intergovernmental organization, composed of the four Melanesian states of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia.[1] It was founded as a political gathering in 1983. On 23 March 2007, members signed the Agreement Establishing the Melanesian Spearhead Group, formalizing the group under international law. It is headquartered in Port Vila, Vanuatu. A secretariat building has been constructed by the People's Republic of China and handed over to the MSG in November 2007.[2] The first MSG Director General was Rima Ravusiro of Papua New Guinea.[3] Since September 2011, Peter Forau of Solomon Islands heads the MSG.[4]

One of the key features of the MSG is the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement, a sub-regional preferential trade agreement established to foster and accelerate economic development through trade relations and provide a political framework for regular consultations and review on the status of the Agreement, with a view to ensuring that trade both in terms of exports and imports is undertaken in a genuine spirit of Melanesian Solidarity and is done on a most favoured nation (MFN) basis. Negotiations are held regularly between the members' leaders to consider the progress and developments of the agreement. After a revision in 2005, it covers 180 articles free of fiscal duty.

The MSG Trade Agreement was signed in 1993 by Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. At the 6th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Trade and Economic Officials’ Meeting on 16 April 1997 in Honiara, the Fiji delegation indicated its willingness to accede to it. This initiative was endorsed at the 1997 MSG Leaders Summit. Fiji became a formal member of the MSG Trade Agreement on 14 April 1998. The 9th MSG Trade & Economic Officials meeting was held in Papua New Guinea on 29 and 30 November 2000. This meeting saw the acceptance of the expansion of the MSG Product Schedule tariff headings from four digit to six digits, thereby facilitating MSG trade by removing the ambiguity in product identification at Customs points of entry. The agreement is General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) consistent and has been approved and accorded recognition by the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Regional Arrangements to be compatible and meeting the requirements of Article 24 of the GATT/WTO Agreement.

More recently, the Melanesian Spearhead Group got heavily involved in the political discussions following Fiji's suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum in May 2009.[5]

In July 2010, Fiji expelled Australia's acting high commissioner accusing the latter of causing the postponement of a so-called Engaging Fiji meeting.[6] Australia responded that it had to do with the lack of democracy in the country. An alternate meeting was held instead despite pressure from Australia and New Zealand.[7] It was attended by Prime Minister Michael Somare of Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister Derek Sikua of the Solomon Islands, President Anote Tong of Kiribati, Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia of Tuvalu, and Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji.[8]

In May 2013, Buchtar Tabuni, the leader of the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB) supported the notion that if West Papua was granted independence, he would support them joining the MSG.[9]

In July 30, 2015, the summit meeting of the member countries in Honiara, Solomon Islands ended with controversial decisions. Indonesia was elevated to associate member of the group, making it the official representative of West Papua while the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) remained an observer. The ULMWP was considered only as the representative of West Papuans outside the country.[10]

List leaders of members of Melanesian Spearhead Group[edit]

Country Head of Government Status governing
 Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama sovereign states
(5 of 34 provincies)
President Joko Widodo association member[11]
 New Caledonia FLNKS Head Representative Victor Tutugoro (New Caledonia Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front - FLNKS) parties
 Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill sovereign states
 Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare[12] sovereign states
 Vanuatu Prime Minister Sato Kilman[13] sovereign states
Morning Star flag.svg West Papua ULMWP General Secretary Oktovianus Mote (Morning Star flag.svg United Liberation Movement for West Papua - ULMWP) observer member[11]


PLG Formal Summits
No Date Location Host Host leader
18th March 2011 Suva  Fiji Voreqe Bainimarama
19th 13–21 June 2013 Nouméa  New Caledonia Victor Tutugoro
20th 18–26 June 2015 Honiara  Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ MSG Secretariat building handed over to govt, Vanuatu DailyPost, 6 November 2007.
  3. ^ Rima Ravusiro heads the MSG, Radio Australia, 6 June 2008.
  4. ^ New MSG boss arrives in Vanuatu, Solomon Star, 22 September 2011.
  5. ^ Fiji PM wins backing from MSG leaders, Radio Australia, 11 July 2009.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Masyarakat Papua Temui Pemerintah PNG di Sekretariat Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) , Papua Untuk Semua, 3 June 2013.
  10. ^ Melanesian Spearhead Group chooses Indonesia over West Papuan Independence Movement 30 June 2015.
  11. ^ a b [1] The ULMWP is an observer member and Melindo is an association member
  12. ^
  13. ^

External links[edit]