Readiness Programme to encourage Tonga’s Private Sector to integrate climate change into their current working environment and in the future.

A Readiness Programme was initiated by the Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) in close cooperation with the Department of Climate Change – Tonga’s Green Climate Fund (GCF) National Designated Authority (NDA) supporting office – under MEIDECC.

Also, in collaboration with Tonga Development Bank, who are in the process of becoming an Accredited Entity for the GCF.

The programme will encourage Tonga’s Private Sector to integrate climate change into their current working environment and into the future. Private Sector are everyday setups in Tonga, from formal to informal businesses. Tonga’s most vulnerable groups will also be a focus such as women and girls, the elderly and people living with disabilities.

A new Project Management Unit (PMU) that comprises five staff has been established to strengthen Private Sector engagement in climate actions. The PMU officially commenced its operation on the 9th of August 2021 and will implement its activities within a duration of two years. The Private Sector Readiness Programme entitled Enabling Private Sector Access to Climate Finance to Strengthen Climate Resilience Development in Tonga is funded under the Green Climate Fund’s Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme. An induction meeting facilitated by the Department of Climate Change was carried out on Friday 13 August to brief the team on the overall objectives and purpose of the project.

The established team will support the private sector with developing solid proposals for accessing funds for combating climate issues catering for all Tongans including outer islands. The Project is well aligned with the government’s strategic objectives as stipulated in the Tonga Strategic Development Framework (TSDF) and will build on previous readiness interventions that supported the government’s engagement and the implementation of Tonga’s Programme with the GCF. This project is focused on growing capacity and the ability of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to not only survive but thrive in the face of climate change. 

The project works to achieve three main objectives:

*Strengthening private sector engagement with the GCF through knowledge and capacity building

* Crowding-in private sector investment for climate actions, and

*Building the capacity within the private sector to develop GCF concept notes/funding proposals.

Vakaloa Beach Resort, Kanokupolu. Damage primarily from TC Harold Storm surge. Photo: Henry Todd

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report underlies the urgency of taking global action to halt climate change

The latest Summary for Policymakers (Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis) was released on the 9th of August 2021. The main message in this is that action needs to be taken immediately by all countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report highlights the “dangers” the world faces, due to human activity that has increased global warming. As it is, the effects of human activities in increasing greenhouse gas emissions went up around the 1750s, and this may have led to extremely heavy rainfall in many areas of the world in the 1950s. This report has provided evidence that links extreme weather conditions which are more frequent nowadays to human activities. It encourages regional adaptation planning which is what we in Tonga are in the process of doing. The physical changes to Tonga’s ecosystem are already having a direct impact on livelihoods in Tonga.

Climate Change, the problems are real – Tonga needs to act

Climate change means that the world is gradually changing due to the effects of what the people that live in it are doing. In Tonga, we might not have big production industries that greatly advance the effects of climate change, but we do encourage the effects as we consume produce from others that do affect the climate adversely. Tonga has a lot to do to adapt and be prepared to tackle such challenges.

We use diesel in Tonga that is needed to fuel our electricity generators, otherwise, Tonga would have no electricity. We use other fossil fuels or non-renewable energy, chemical fertilizers, plastic and vehicles – all these emit gases and other materials that affect the climate. Even as consumers, we are guilty.

Tonga is extremely vulnerable to climate change due to its geographic location and socioeconomic status. We are more prone to experience the effects such as cyclones and other natural disasters, changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, destruction of marine life, heavy rainfall or flooding, damage to infrastructure and negative impacts to agriculture and freshwater supplies.

To help countries such as Tonga, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has been set up under the United Nations. Countries that have funds contribute funds here, and countries in need prepare proposals to access these funds. If successful, funds are given and these are then used by the recipient country to develop and implement solutions that will help them deal with and recover from problems that are created by climate change.

Hence the newly formed Project Management Unit will build the capacity of Tonga’s private sector by sharing knowledge about the GCF.

From L-R: Programme Manager, Carrie Vaea, Project Development Officer, Malini Teuilo, Communications Officer, Og Ntwaagae, Snr, Finance & Admin Assistant, Pohiva Malu, Procurement & Accreditation Assistant, Seini Vea Lokotui. Photo: PMU

This feature was issued by PMU – Tonga Chamber of Commerce & Industry, published at Tonga’s Department of Climate Change on 30 August 2021, reposted via PACNEWS.

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