National Climate Change Awareness Week 2022 wraps up with an Exhibition

On Friday, September 23rd the Department of Climate Change wrapped up the National Climate Change Awareness Week 2022 programme with an exhibition at Queen Salote Hall.

The week-long event was hosted by the department in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders and partners to raise awareness on climate actions and to inform and educate the people of Tonga about the impacts of climate change on the environment, communities and livelihoods.

Acting Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Samiu Vaipulu said, the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that humans are directly responsible for the observed changes in climate.

“These changes will deteriorate, sine will be irreversible and some other effects will have existential threats for many of the people in the low lying islands including Tonga.”

Tonga have experienced these impacts of climate change;

  • The increasing intensity of tropical cyclones – Tropical Cyclone Gita severely hit Tonga in February 2018 and Tropical Cyclone Harold in April, 2020.
  • Over the past decade, sea level rise with an average of 6.4mm per year that causes loss of critical infrastructures, assets and habitats in low lying coastal areas.
  • Higher ocean temperature result in coral bleaching of reefs in Tonga;
  • Salt water intrusion affecting groundwater quality and increase soil salinity hence resulting in the reduction of crop yields;
  • Drought leads to water shortage especially the outer islands where rainwater is the only source of water.

Hon. Vaipulu said the theme ‘Building a Resilient Tonga’ strongly emphasize the importance of working together in harmony to build resilience in Tonga.

CEO for MEIDECC, Mr. Paula Ma’u said, “Throughout the National Climate Change Awareness Week, we have witnessed the partnerships of various stakeholders in Tonga and the ongoing support from our donors and also our partners.”

The week-long event demonstrates that climate resilience agenda can be driven and achieved by key related sectors in close collaborations with donors and development partners.

Tonga’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Implementation Road Map and Investment Plan with Project Pipeline was also launched as well as the Tonga Energy Road Map 2021-2035.

The exhibition was attended by government ministries, non-government organizations, relevant stakeholders, schools and communities to display their climate actions in building climate resilience in Tonga.