ADB to Help Tonga Manage the Risks from Climate Change

Tonga will improve ecosystem resilience and climate-proof infrastructure using a $23.1 million grant from ADB.

NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA – Tonga will use a a $23.1 million grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to strengthen its capacity to develop, finance, implement, and monitor investments through pilot projects aimed at improving eco-system resilience and climate-proofing infrastructure.

The Climate Resilience Sector Project will provide technical assistance and training to mainstream climate resilience into national planning and government processes, establish meteorological and coastal monitoring systems for early warning, and pilot investments to improve ecosystem resilience and climate-proof critical infrastructure.

It will also support an innovative sustainable financing mechanism to provide financing in the form of small grants to help communities to implement climate change adaptation and disaster risk resilience projects. This will be provided through an initial endowment of $5 million for the Tonga Climate Change Trust Fund.

“The Tonga Climate Change Trust Fund financing mechanism is a first for Tonga and the region,” said Maria Paniagua, ADB Project Team Leader.

Climate change identified as one of the critical challenges of this century, with threats to economic prosperity, stability, and human security, could overturn development achievements in the region. The Economics of Climate Change in the Pacific shows that economic loss suffered by the Pacific region could range from 2.9% to as high as 12.7% of annual GDP by 2100.

Extreme weather events in recent years have caused severe flooding and drought in Tonga. These impacts maybe exacerbated by predicted sea level rise which is contributing to coastal erosion, putting infrastructure, property and Tongan lives at risk.

The project will benefit communities in all island groups, with investments planned in Tongatapu, Ha’apai, Vava’u, Eua and the Niuas.

The ADB Strategic Climate Fund will provide a grant equivalent to $19.2 million to be administered by ADB. The Government of Tonga will contribute an equivalent of $3.8 million. The Ministry of Finance and National Planning will be the executing agency for the project.