19th August 2014 With the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (GCPSE) in Singapore, the Government of Tonga has organized two workshops with a broad range of stakeholders from both the communities and the Government, to introduce the foresight concepts and to explore current strategic planning practices in the public service.
The GCPSE has facilitated the foresightXchange workshop in the Kingdom of Tonga on 19 August, 2014, officially opened by the Honorable Prime Minister, Lord Tu’ivakano.
Th first workshop was a public event with a broad range of citizens intended to give the opportunity for thinking forward about the nexus between translating ‘Small Island Vulnerability” to a “Big Ocean Prosperity”- This is the core theme of Tonga’s 2014 Foresight Exchange.
The lead facilitator John Sweeney from the University of Hawaii’s Research Centre for Future Studies and the GCPSE Deputy Director Arndt Husar are in Tonga with colleagues from these two institutions to introduce the foresight eXplorer as an example for a foresight tool that can enable participants to voice their hopes and aspirations for Tonga’s future.
Following this event with the public, GCPSE will run a retreat on 22 August, with the public service leadership, which will use outputs from the public event as an input to their national strategy development. This is significant and timely exercise, as Tonga’s next strategic development framework is currently being advanced. Foresight will enrich important conversations about Tonga’s preferred future, which will be formalized in the strategic plan.
The Tonga foresightXchange workshops are part of Tonga’s preparatory efforts for declaring its priorities at the Third UN International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Samoa next month, which will feature a special Side Event on ‘Building Resilience in the SIDS with Foresight’. Significantly, this foresightXchange is the realized outcome of the Lord Prime Minister’s milestone collaboration with the UNDP GCPSE in Singapore in April 2014, to adopt this ‘thinking ahead’ tool as valuable leadership methods, for addressing key challenges faced by small islands developing states like Tonga today