Tonga Moves Closer to Joint National Action Plan For Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management
13 April 2017, Tonga - The government of Tonga, with support from the United Nations Development Programme-UN Environment National Adaptation Plan Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP) is making progress toward finalizing its second Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management (JNAP 2).
Taken together with a new US$50 million Green Climate Fund grant proposal for the Coastal Resilience Project - Tonga, technical assessments supported by the Government of New Zealand and coastal zone experts from Deltares, as well as ongoing support missions and stakeholder consultations supported by NAP-GSP technical experts, the new Joint National Action Plan signals a clear commitment from the Government of Tonga to develop and implement an integrated approach to building resilience to the unfolding impacts of climate change and ongoing natural disasters.
The development of the second Joint National Action Plan will build directly on the new Tonga Climate Change Policy, which was approved by the Government of Tonga in early 2016.
“Stakeholders were fully supportive of the revision of JNAP 1 and development of JNAP 2 as it provides the overarching framework and action plan for the development of a resilient Tonga by 2035,” said Ms. Lu’isa Tu’I’Afitu-Malolo, Director of Climate Change for the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC). “MEIDECC will be the key driver of this plan in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders in Tonga."
With support from the NAP-GSP programme, a brief gaps-and-needs report has already been completed, identifying some key areas that need attention in the development of the Second Joint National Action Plan.
Some of the key gaps identified in the report include the need for sector-based plans that fully integrate climate resilience with a priority focus on biodiversity, education, energy, fisheries, forestry, health, infrastructure, land, water and youth.
Dr. Gavin Kenny is the NAP-GSP support specialist working closely with the Government of Tonga to support the JNAP2. Kenny notes that there is an existing revised national policy on gender and development (RNPGAD) and associated strategic plan of action which fully integrates climate change. This will provide valuable input to development of the JNAP2.
There is also a need for a dedicated data and information hub. A lack of coordinated access to and application of essential climate and weather data continues to provide challenges toward improving data-based decision making of relevance to climate change and disaster risk reduction. Other critical areas for inclusion in the plan are environmental monitoring, including groundwater, soil and coastal monitoring, and the need for a fully coordinated “Research for Resilience” programme.
This gaps-and-needs report was followed by a week of stakeholder consultations recently held in Tonga. The development of the JNAP2 is also underpinned by extensive community consultations that have led to the formulation of Community Development Plans for every village in Tonga.
The stakeholder consultations, supported through the NAP-GSP programme, included meetings with the Department of Climate Change; a number of representatives from MEIDECC, and dedicated meetings with the Ministries of Finance and National Planning; Internal Affairs; Health; Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Food; Lands; Education; Infrastructure and Tourism, along with various other national departments, industry groups and other key stakeholders.
“Tonga’s Second Joint National Action Plan will take an integrated approach to planning for climate change and disaster risk reduction. Such an approach makes a lot of sense for a Small Island Developing State that routinely rates as one of the most at-risk countries in the world according to the annual World Risk report,” said Kenny.