Country Focus

WHO Representative Office in the South Pacific

The WHO Representative Office in the South Pacific was originally established in Sydney, Australia on 13 June 1956 to cover the South Pacific area. The Office was transferred to Suva, Fiji in January 1965 and currently covers the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna. The WHO Representative in the South Pacific supervises the Country Liaison Officers in Northern Micronesia, Kiribati, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

In May 1953, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Northern Mariana Islands, the Ellice Islands (now called Tuvalu), Gilbert Islands (now Kiribati), the Marshall Islands, Palau, Tonga and New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) were assigned to the Western Pacific Region at the Sixth World Health Assembly ''without prejudice to any questions regarding sovereignty'' as an area.

New Zealand, one of the WHO founders, participated in the International Health Conference in 1946 and joined WHO on 10 December 1946.

Fiji proclaimed its independence from Great Britain in 1970. It joined WHO on 1 January 1972 as a Member State. Nauru joined WHO on 9 May 1994. Tuvalu joined WHO on 7 May 1993 as a Member State. Kiribati joined WHO on 26 July 1984 as a Member State. Marshall Islands joined WHO in June 1991 and the Federated States of Micronesia joined on 14 August 1991 as Member States. Palau joined WHO on 9 March 1995 as a Member State. Tonga joined WHO on 15 August 1975 as a Member State. Vanuatu joined WHO on 7 March 1983 as a Member State.

New Caledonia became a French territory in 1853. In 1946 it became an overseas territory of the French Republic. Direct rule by France was discontinued in 1989, and the provincial councils gained a degree of limited autonomy. Wallis and Futuna is a self-governing French overseas territory. Formerly known as Tahiti, French Polynesia is an overseas territory of France.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands was a member of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific islands dominated by the United States of America after World War II. It became a Commonwealth in political union with the United States of America in 1978.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau were initially covered by the WHO Representative Office in Singapore from 1957 to 1959. It was then covered by the WHO Representative Office in Taipei, China (Taiwan) until that Office closed on 30 June 1972. Responsibility over the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was transferred to the Western Pacific Regional Office in 1972, and it was decided that the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was to come under the WHO Representative Office, Suva, Fiji in 1976.

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WHO Representative in the South Pacific : Ahn, Dr Dong Il