Tonga Represented at High Level Thematic Debate on Sustainable Development Goals and the High Level Signing of the PARIS AGREEMENT 21-22 April 2016

Tonga was represented at two High Level events hosted by the United Nations, the President of the General Assembly High Level Thematic Debate on the Sustainable Development Goals” on 21 April 2016 and the High Level Signing of the Paris Agreement” on 22 April 2016 at the General Assembly, United Nations Head Quarters, New York, United States of America.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of MEIDECC, Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni, led the Tonga Delegation, together with the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Tonga to the United Nations, H.E Mr. Mahe 'Uli'uli Sandhurst Tupouniua, Deputy Representative to the United Nations, Dr. T. Suka Mangisi, First Secretary, Adi Odette Taumoepeau Tupou-Ganilau, AOSIS Climate Change Fellow & MEIDECC Officer, Losana Latu and Legal Officer from the Attorney General Office, Rose Kautoke. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for MEIDECC, delivered statements on behalf of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga at both forums.

The High Level Thematic Debate on the Sustainable Development Goals convened on the 21st of April 2016 chaired by the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations.  The event brought together leaders from the global political, business and civil society to focus on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. The event focused on 5 thematic areas being, action at all levels, financing poverty eradication and sustainable development, technology and data for SDGs, Partnerships for the implementation of SDGs and finally climate action in the context of sustainable development.

The 2030 Agenda is vital, as its success will result in the eradication of poverty. The event gave Tonga the opportunity to showcase on a global platform its implementation efforts at the national level. It also allowed Tonga the opportunity to learn from those with similar situations and to be more aware of existing mechanisms in place such as partnerships to assist in its implementation efforts.

The second event of the High Level Signing of the Paris Agreement was convened on the 22 April 2016. The Paris Agreement was adopted at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties in Paris, France in December 2016. It was agreed then, that the Agreement would be open for signature and subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by States on Friday, 22nd April 2016 through to the 21st April 2017.

The signing ceremony began with an official Opening Ceremony by the Secretary-General with remarks from a group of people from Member States, Civil Society Leader, Private Sector Leader and UN Messenger of Peace followed by a Performance by Julliard School quintet.

The signing of the Paris Agreement was officiated by the Legal Counsel. All world leaders and representatives followed commencing with countries which were signing and ratifying, then continuing as per Protocol from heads of states, heads of governments, vice presidents and deputy prime ministers, ministers and permanent representatives.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for MEIDECC were granted with the Instrument of Full Power to sign the Paris Agreement on behalf of His Majesty, King Tupou VI and the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga as per the Privy Council Decision on April 2016. The Kingdom of Tonga joined 174 countries in the signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement hosted by the United Nations Headquarter. Mr. Ban Ki-moon stated, this is history in the making for international law, as this is the largest number of countries to sign an international agreement on the very first day it is open for signature.

The Secretary General for the United Nations highlighted that if all countries that signed today took the next step at the national level to implement the Agreement, the world would meet the requirement needed for the Paris Agreement to enter into force€. As mentioned, a total of 175 countries signed the Agreement, 15 of these countries deposited their instrument of ratification. Out of these 15 countries 13 were Small Island States (SIDS) – Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Grenada, Maldives, Marshall Island, Mauritius, Nauru, Palau, Palestine, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Somalia and Tuvalu.

In his statement the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister re-emphasized on the intrinsic value of limiting temperature increase to 1.50C and to ensure global cooperation and implementation of the Paris Agreement, 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and the Samoa Pathway

Furthermore, the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister re-iterated that, Upon signing of the Paris Agreement, Tonga is committed in ensuring rapid progression at the national level that will empower and enable our early ratification of the Agreement, and our efforts to implement the necessary actions. Tonga has embarked on an ambitious energy road map that would allow the proportion of renewable energy in its energy supply to rise dramatically

 In closing, Hon. Deputy Prime Minister re-iterated that the signing of the Paris Agreement was a historic occasion to be remembered as the first step toward ensuring our survival and the promise of a truly shared and sustainable global vision and investment for both Tonga and the world present and future generations.

IMG_0885 DPM High Level Signing of PA