A Fiji academic in Australia says the Pacific Islands Forum is going through a turbulent phase but it is still a key body in the region.
Delegates are gathering in the Micronesian state of Palau for the 45th Forum summit, which opens on Tuesday.
A leaders' retreat will be held on Thursday, when a new secretary general is expected to be named as a replacement for Tuiloma Neroni Slade, who is finishing a six-year term.
Brij Lal, of the Australian National University, says the Forum remains relevant.
"It might have become a bit unwieldy but I think that it certainly has a role to play in terms of providing technical advice, expert advice on topics and subjects that individual countries in the region might not have the capacity. You do have expertise in the Forum and I think it is a question of harnessing those for strategic purposes."
A Fiji academic at the Australian National University, Brij Lal.