27th February 2017 On Friday 24 February, the Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of MEIDECC officially launched the Tonga Climate Change Trust Fund at a ceremony held at Dr. Moultons Hall. The Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni remarked on the challenges climate change places on local communities, and that the operationalization of the Tonga Climate Change Trust Fund is designed specifically for assisting local communities in alleviating the effects of climate change.
“The vision through the Climate Change Trust Fund is to enable all communities to strengthen their coping capacities by ensuring they have complete ownership of their projects, and to ensure that all communities are given the flexibility to design, implement, and steer the priorities, and future development of their communities”
The concept for establishment of the Tonga Climate Change Trust Fund evolved as an important component of the ADB funded Climate Resilience Sector Project which targeted the achievement of specific sectors and goals for community resilience prioritized under Tonga’s Joint National Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management 2010-2015.
It has entailed strong partnership between MEIDECC and the Asian Development Bank. “The Government of Tonga through MEIDECC and support from the Asian Development Bank, has been developing this Climate Change Trust Fund for some time now”, said Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni.
He continued to say that “This process has been long and hard, but necessary to ensure that our country and more importantly the people and communities of Tonga, are the first to benefit from this Fund”.
The Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni further stated that the Climate Change Trust Fund is most likely the first of it’s kind in the Pacific and that it is “an example of how financing through this fund further strengthens the partnerships between the Government of Tonga, Development partners, for the benefits of our communities”.
He further added that the Climate Change Trust Fund is not a one-off event and that “the Fund has been designed to grow, so that funds will be readily accessible every year starting from today”.
The Hon. Deputy Prime Minister concluded by saying that this initiative “sends a clear message to the world, that Tonga is taking a ‘whole of country’ approach to tackling the effects of climate change, an approach which places the communities in the drivers seat, and supported by government and development partners”
Representatives from ADB-Tonga (Mr. Tatafu Moeaki), Cabinet Ministers, government ministries and departments, Non-Government Organisations, District and town officers attended the ceremonial event.