“An Inclusive Participatory Approach towards a Blue-Green Economy” – Tonga National Dialogue on Green Growth

His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala officiated a two half day national dialogue on Green Growth at the Loumaile Conference Room, Nuku’alofa convened today, Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd November, 2016.

The dialogue is a collective initiative of Government (MEIDECC & MIA), Civil Societies Forum of Tonga, Pacific Leadership Development Forum and Tonga Chamber of Commerce on the established theme of an “Inclusive Participatory Approach towards a Blue-Green Economy.”

The Acting Prime Minister and Minister for MEIDECC, Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni in his keynote address stated the seriousness to Tonga of the development of Blue-Green growth economy and a dynamic approach to the sustainable management of our seas and the ocean and thereby significant contribution to incorporate the global sustainable development goals.

“The development of Blue – Green growth economy is critical to Tonga and a productive approach to the sustainable management of our seas and the ocean and thereby a significant contribution to the alleviation of poverty, creation of sustainable livelihoods, increased food security, improved human well-being and social equity, accompanied by reduced ecological risks and environmental degradation.”

“Tonga must consider the Blue-Green Agenda for all developments in Tonga. The Blue – Green Agenda include inter alia several key elements for the mitigation of climate change, such as:

  • the protection and restoration of carbon sinks in coastal and marine ecosystems,
  • the development and promotion of zero or low carbon clean technologies,

It also contribute to significant reduction of major ocean pollutants, ensure management of solid and hazardous wastes, ensure sustainable fisheries methods and aquaculture management regimes,” he said.

He stressed that government in partnership with the Civil Societies and the Private Sector is taking this further by hosting this national dialogue to discuss Blue Green Agenda as a way to establish a ‘whole of Tonga’ approach and recognizing the need to link our global commitments and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, through Tonga Strategic Development Framework, for a more progressive Tonga, engaging all sectors of the society.

The Australian High Commissioner H.E Mr. Andrew Ford in his keynote speech emphasized that we need to recognize these days that we need to take account of the impact on the environment of economic growth. That the term green growth describes a path of economic growth that uses natural resources in a sustainable manner.

“But still the world continues to face a twin challenge: expanding economic opportunities for all in a world where many still live in poverty; and addressing environmental pressures that, if left unaddressed, could undermine our ability to seize these opportunities. Green growth is where these two challenges meet.”

He added that this National Dialogue seeks to encourage partnerships between the key development agencies to influence and shape the development of Tonga and the Australian Government’s Pacific Leadership Program (PLP) supports the Tonga National Dialogue on Green Growth to promote collaboration between leaders to incorporate sustainable development priorities into national and sub-national development plans.

The dialogue invites speakers’ form Regional Development Partners, Government, Private Sectors, Civil Societies, local communities and Resident donor partners to discuss current initiatives, identify opportunities and challenges incurred on selected thematic areas embedded in the concept of green growth. These priority areas include but not limited to ocean and conservation (blue economy), leadership, community enterprises, eco-tourism and green economy, food security/organic agriculture and waste management, youth green innovation, technology and trade, climate change and green finance.

The Opening Prayer was conducted by the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga President and Royal Chaplain, Rev. Dr. ‘Ahio followed the welcoming address by Lord Vaea, Deputy Patron of Tonga National Leadership Development Forum with the Vote of Thanks delivered by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Penisimani Fifita.

A national declaration is expected to be adopted at the end of the dialogue which will reflect the strategic direction for Tonga in terms of its national development, recognizing the partnership efforts of all relevant stakeholders involved.

ENDS

Issued by the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications