NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA (29 August 2019) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $18.28 million grant to fund priority urban infrastructure in Tonga and help improve the country’s climate and disaster resilience efforts.
“The Tonga Integrated Urban Resilience Sector Project will help raise living standards in the nation’s capital by delivering better access to urban services,” said ADB Urban Development Specialist for the Pacific Ms. Maria Vicedo Ferrer. “The project will also enhance the country’s resilience to disasters and the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels.”
Nearly three-quarters of Tonga’s entire population—about 100,651 people—resides on the main island of Tongatapu. Natural hazards and the effects of climate change pose a significant threat to the country, with Tonga’s location making it more vulnerable to cyclones and earthquakes. Critical infrastructure and services in the country, along with more than 10,000 buildings, are in the low-lying capital, Nuku’alofa.
The project will help rehabilitate and provide new flood management and drainage infrastructure at 7 flood-prone locations, namely Sopu, Fanga, Haveluloto, Tofoa, the Central Business District, Vuna Road, and Salote Road. It will also improve the water supply service in Nuku’alofa; strengthen environmental and public health through better solid waste management; and enhanced urban resilience through the preparation of a climate and disaster resilient urban development strategy and investment plan.
ADB began working with Tonga in 1972 and has since committed $70.2 million in loans, $121.2 million in grants, and $23.3 million in technical assistance for the country. Since 2008, ADB has significantly expanded its financial and technical support to Tonga, committing $87.7 million in grants and concessional loans, mobilizing $44.9 million in cofinancing, and providing about $8 million in technical assistance.
ADB’s program in Tonga focuses on investments in energy, information and communications technology, transport, as well as water and urban infrastructure that will reduce the costs of key services and improve the country’s overall productivity.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.