Climate Change Risk Management to Improve in Tonga with ADB Grant

A $23.1 million grant from ADB will provide small grants to Tongan communities to implement climate change adaptation and disaster risk resilience projects.

NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Government of Tonga have signed a $23.1 million grant agreement to fund the Climate Resilience Sector Project, which will systematically incorporate climate resilience into national planning processes and strengthen Tonga’s capacity to develop, finance, implement, and monitor pilot investments aimed at climate-proofing infrastructure and improving ecosystem resilience.

Finance Minister ‘Aisake Eke, Xianbin Yao, Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department, and Robert Jauncey, ADB’s new Regional Director of its Pacific Sub-Regional Office (SPSO) in Fiji, participated in today’s grant signing ceremony. The Ministry of Finance and National Planning is the executing agency for the project.

The project will support an innovative sustainable financing mechanism providing small grants to help communities implement climate change adaptation and disaster risk resilience projects. This is a first for the Pacific in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and will be provided through an initial endowment of $5 million for the Tonga Climate Change Trust Fund.

“This project, with financial support from the ADB, will help Tonga improve its preparedness for extreme weather events and mitigate climate change risks,” said Mr. Eke. “The project’s sustainable financing mechanism could also be applied as an effective model for other Pacific countries to consider.”

“We commend the Government for taking action to mainstream climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction into development planning and create forward-looking adaptation strategies,” said Mr. Yao. “In the aftermath of tropical Cyclone Ian, this initiative will assist Tonga to climate-proof infrastructure to improve long-term sustainability. “

The project will be supported by SPSO in Suva, Fiji, which undertakes strategic planning, country programming, economic sector work, overall portfolio management, and regional cooperation activities in Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu.

Mr. Jauncey will take up his Regional Director post at SPSO in March. Prior to joining ADB, he worked for the World Bank for 13 years, most recently as the Senior Country Officer responsible for managing World Bank efforts to significantly scale up engagement with Pacific Island countries.