Policy and Plans
In 2005, Tonga completed its initial National Communication on Climate Change. This was approved by the Government of Tonga and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)Secretariat. One of the major capacity development needs mentioned in this report was to develop a national climate change policy. At that time, the Government of Tonga was aware of the importance of including environmental issues in its national strategic plan, even though climate change was not yet considered a national priority. A climate change policy was therefore developed to address these issues. It was certainly a major step forward, as it served to define the position, direction and responsibilities of the government and relevant stakeholders in Tonga on climate change, for both the short and long term. The policy was approved by His Majesty’s Cabinet in 2006.
In 2015, it was noted that there was a need to update the policy, given the increasing emphasis, nationally and globally, on climate change and disaster risk. Widespread consultation workshops were held towards this purpose, which involved all relevant stakeholders in Tonga, including government ministries, nongovernmental organisations, civil societies, statutory boards, women’s groups and youth groups. This revised climate change policy aims to build ‘a Resilient Tonga’ by 2035. It is recognised that this is an ambitious goal, as building resilience is very costly, even without considering the funds required for loss and damage due to climate change.
The development of this Joint National Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and
Disaster Risk Management is to ensure that these priorities are addressed and implemented
at all levels and an important component of Tonga’s Second National Communication
This plan is consistent with the national, regional and international policy drivers, agreements
and frameworks on climate change and disaster risk management. It highlights national
and community priority goals and activities to be implemented to enable the people and
environment of Tonga to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to mitigate disaster
The second JNAP is the strategic action plan for climate change and disaster risk management initiatives for the next 10 years. JNAP 2 is consistent with the Tonga Strategic Development Framework (TSDF) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), It also recognises the importance and critical role of political leadership and commitment, and the role of government agencies as key actors and further embraces the role of the private sector and society towards building resilience in Tonga. There will also be existing and unforeseen challenges to achiving and maintaing the resilience of development outcomes in Tonga. These include, but are not limited to, addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, extreme weather events and slow onser events. JNAP 2 , in the context, has opportunities for reviews and, through its monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) framwork, emerging issues and additional strategic actions could be considered and adopted.