Climate Resilient Sector Project (CRSP) Ends after Six Years of Operation

25th November, 2019 A program was held last Friday, November 22 at the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, Conference Room to mark the closing of the Climate Resilient Sector Project (CRSP) after six years of operation in Tonga.

CRSP is the Government’s first large scale climate resilient project, obtained through a grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The grant was provided under the ADB Strategic Climate Fund of a US$19.25 million with an additional US$2.5 million contribution from the Tongan Government.

The Project was designed to increase resilience in economic, social, and natural eco-systems to climate variability and change and disaster risk in Tonga. The overall outcome of the project was to strengthen the enabling environment for climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction at national and local levels.

The outputs of the project include:

  • Ensuring climate resilience is mainstreamed into development planning of key vulnerable sectors
  • Improving capacity to monitor and manage Tonga climate data and information
  • Establishing a sustainable financing mechanism to support community based climate change adaptation responsive investments
  • Increasing eco-system resilience and climate infrastructure investments
  • Ensuring that the project is successfully managed and implemented.

As the main part of the program, members from various Project Implementing Units (PIUs) also present their successful stories in cooperation with CRSP, led by the Chief Executive Officer for MEIDECC, Mr. Paula Pouvalu Ma’u. This was the Government’s first project to be implemented by seven Ministries or the PIUs.

Director of the Meteorology Division under the Ministry of MEIDECC, Mr. ‘Ofa Fa’anunu said, the assistance from CRSP has increased capacity of Tonga MET Service in providing improved weather and marine forecasts, developed meteorological and coastal data to assist and inform planning for adaptation to climate change.

“This is the first time for Tonga Meteorological Service to have an automatic weather system (AWS) as of now, there are 21 AWS installed throughout Tonga.”

CRSP Students Successful Stories at University of the South Pacific (USP) Tonga

Director for the University of the South Pacific (USP), Dr Robin Havea said, this is the first time for Tonga to reach a level that such courses can carry out and completed at Tonga Campus without going to Fiji for completion.

“With the scholarships, short-term professional training and courses offered by CRSP, help students to have a better future especially in the field of Climate Change. About 95% of the students have completed these courses and now awaiting to graduate next month.”

“We are grateful for this assistance and hopefully, more chances like this in the future.”

Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) IWRM Plans

Deputy CEO for MLNR, Mr. Taaniela Kula said, CRSP has assisted us in so many ways particularly the improvements of water resources inventories and for drafting of the integrated water resources management (IWRM) and coastal zoning monitoring throughout the whole of Tonga.

“The support and assistance provided by CRSP will not only benefit us in our operation but also for a cleaner water in Tonga.”

Special Management Areas (SMA) Successful Stories

CEO for MAFFF, Dr Tu’ikolongahau told participants that with the support from CRSP, they were able to establish SMAs in Vava’u to make it to the current 44 SMAs in Tonga now.

“These SMAs in Vava’u were commissioned by His Majesty at the margin of the Vava’u Royal Agricultural Show in 2017.”

Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) CDPs, Local Government

Mr Samuela Pohiva expressed how collaborative CRSP was, in designing and monitoring the community vulnerability and disaster risk management assessments and plans.

“We have come to a stage that communities are aware of the risks of Climate Change and we are grateful that without CRSP we would not be able to gain the trust of the communities if our ministry requires any information from them.”

Ministry of Infrastructure (MOI)

CEO for MEIDECC, Mr. Paula Ma’u on behalf of MOI said, one of the components of CRSP is working closely with MOI to complete the construction of Government Primary Schools, Ha’apai Hospital, foreshores and evacuation roads.

“CRSP maybe finished this month, but it is a beginning of a long journey for us all with this assistance to address the devastation of Climate Change in order to save the lives of our people and generation to come.”

He also acknowledged the foreshore and the evacuation roads at Hahake, were commissioned by the Prime Minister, Hon. Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa on the 18th November, 2019.

Ministry of Education and Training (MET)

Mr. Ma’u again on behalf of MET conveyed the completion of constructions and the upgrading of schools to be more climate-proofing.

“Five classrooms in Tonga have been successfully completed with the help of CRSP. The involvement of this ministry as well in operating with scholarships, short-term professional training and courses offered for our students are also acknowledged.”

Climate Change Trust Fund (CCTF) & Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Exit Policy

Senior Country Coordination Officer for ADB in Tonga, Mr. Tatafu Moeaki said, “The project was never about all infrastructure, but setting government up with much needed absorptive capacity, strict compliance with procurement, safeguards due diligence, reporting and other necessary documentation requirements, giving a new understanding of donor project accountability and at the end of the day, climate ready to take on much more climate funds.”

He said CRSP may end this month but this project’s successes “bring more confidence to Tonga’s ability to implement and do more. If we look at the bigger picture, the amount of new financing initiatives and benefits that will come out of this project, is potentially high.”

ADB Tonga confirms that CRSP using ADB ratings is on track to close on the 30th November, 2019.

Ministry of Finance (MOF)

As CRSP’s key Executing Agency, Ms. Elizabeth Baker from the Ministry of Finance said there has been a few minor difficulties in operating the project but it was manageable at the end of the day.

“The Ministry of Finance is happy to report on the successes of the Project under our role as the Executing Agency.”

The event was also attended by the Minister for MEIDECC, Hon. Poasi Mataele Tei and Minister for Health, Hon. Dr ‘Amelia Afuha’amango Tu’ipulotu along with government officials and stakeholders.