In the year 2000, Tuvalu became the 189th member of the UN. In the same year, it also became a full member of the British Commonwealth, having been a special member since it became independent in 1978. These changes in status reflect Tuvalu's growing involvement in world affairs. Soon after joining the UN, Tuvalu lobbied in favor of the Republic of China's bid to join the UN and other international organizations. Tuvalu wishes to keep the ties between the two nations strong, and will continue to support Taiwan's bid for UN membership.
Tuvalu protested the 2001 failure of the United States to sign the Kyoto agreement on greenhouse gas emissions. While the United States claimed the protocol would hurt the U.S. economy, Tuvalu defended the agreement as crucial to the survival of small Pacific Island nations such as Tuvalu, which had already lost two atolls to rising sea levels.
Tuvalu joined with 13 other Pacific Island nations and territories in March 2002 when it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) confirming their involvement in the International Waters Programme (IWP). The IWP establishes community-based environmental projects involving marine and fresh water quality.
In January 2003, the United States Pacific Command selected four Pacific islanders, including one from Tuvalu, to take part in a 12-week training program to study regional security issues, programs, and missions of the U.S. military in building security relationships in the region.
Tuvalu is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum and the Pacific Community, the Asian Development Bank, UNESCO, and the World Health Organization. Tuvalu's only diplomatic office overseas is in Suva, Fiji, but it is looking to establish a mission in the United States.