Tonga Builds Resilience to Climate Change

NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA – Tonga is taking crucial steps to mainstream climate resilience into development planning in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). With support from ADB’s Preparatory Technical Assistance team, national stakeholders are formulating a project to implement Tonga’s Strategic Program for Climate Resilience, which addresses the climate change risk priorities of the Government and those of vulnerable communities identified in the Joint National Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management.

The planned project will focus on building capacity in climate change adaptation and disaster risk management at community, sector and national levels, introducing climate change considerations into government and sector planning and budgeting processes, and providing access to technical, human and financial resources.

Subject to project approval, financing to implement the program of up to $20 million will be available on a grant basis by the Strategic Climate Fund, which is one of two funds within the design of the Climate Investment Funds supported by ADB.

At the inception meeting for the program, held in Nuku’alofa 21 February 2013, Asipeli Palaki, CEO of the Ministry of Lands, Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources said “all key sectors are likely to be significantly affected by climate change, with major environmental, economic, and social consequences”. Mr. Palaki emphasized Tonga’s vulnerability to natural hazards and climate related risks indicating that Tonga has a 50% chance of experiencing an annual economic loss exceeding $175 million and casualties larger than 440 people. “The implementation of the program will significantly reduce risks to our lives and livelihoods in Tonga”, said Mr. Palaki.

ADB approved the Preparatory Technical Assistance for the Project to Implement the Strategic Program for Climate Resilience in December 2012 under the provisions of the Climate Investment Funds and the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience. The project is being prepared and administered by ADB’s Pacific Subregional Office based in Suva, Fiji in partnership with the Government of Tonga.

Tonga is the recipient of $57 million in loans, $37 million in grants and $20 million in technical assistance since joining ADB in 1972.