Opening Of The Tonga Climate Change Donor Roundtable for 2019

August 14th, 2019 – The Department of Climate Change in cooperation with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) called into session its third installment of the National Climate Change Donor Roundtable, discussing Climate Change Initiatives in Tonga and its linkages to national, regional and international policy instruments as well as highlighting the first year of implementation of JNAP 2018-2028 (JNAP 2).  The main objective of the meeting was emphasizing Tonga’s desire to further enhance and forge sustainable partnerships with its current and potential donor partners in progressing JNAP2 implementation toward a ‘Resilient Tonga by 2035.

Welcoming regional and offshore delegates to the event was Minister of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change & Communications (MEIDECC), Honorable Poasi Tei – who reiterated the message of enhanced partnerships in support of Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management.

“Your presence here today is an indication of the increased significance and importance you have assigned each Pacific country including Tonga, for maintaining, forging, and harnessing genuine and durable partnerships in our fight for survival, our fight against the impacts and detrimental effects of climate change. “

The Hon. Minister also noted that there has been significant progress since the Roundtable of 2018 and that put forward that even further progress is needed:

“This year’s roundtable will showcase how far we have progressed in the last 10 months; secondly it will present efforts currently underway, and thirdly and most importantly highlight the requisite changes and consequent assistance for safeguarding Tonga’s social, economic, and environmental aspirations through a climate resilient and low-emission development pathway..”

“Tonga has recently updated numerous national climate relative policy instruments in its drive to ensuring we remain on par with our national, regional, and international obligations. These instruments include our NDC 2015, Climate Change Policy 2016, JNAP 2018-2028, and also our Fourth National Communication to be launched this Friday during the Climate Change Exhibition Day “

The session began with the Department of Climate Change Director Lu’isa Tu’i’afitu Malolo providing an overview of current projects underway in Tonga and also highlighted Tonga’s GCF Country Programme.

Sione Fulivai, Principal Financial Analyst of the Department of Climate Change provided the participants with a stocktake of Climate Change Initiatives and an update on the Climate Change Trust Fund. Ms. Sela Bloomfield elaborated on the Climate Trust Fund Bill and was closed off by Dr. Othniel Yila discussing the Commonwealth Secretariat Climate Finance Access Hub, and the programmes value and impact in assisting Tonga with sourcing and accessing climate finance.

These presentations highlighted the central role of the Department of Climate Change to national sustainable development and the key priorities as outlined in the JNAP 2 and were followed by interactive sessions between the presenters with the donors and partners.

Honorable Poasi Tei pointed out that the main objective of the roundtable ‘is emphasizing Tonga’s desire to further enhance and forge sustainable partnerships with our current and potential donor partners, and also allows for open and in-depth dialogue that will focus on potential opportunities, partnerships, and synergies toward the transformational changes by maximizing on investment in Tonga’s climate resilient - low carbon development pathway. “

The second day will be dedicated for bi-lateral meetings between the donors and representatives of the Department of Climate Change.