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Commonwealth helps Tonga become first Pacific Island to receive adaptation planning grant

15 April 2020

The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub has helped Tonga secure a grant of over $1.6 million USD from the Green Climate Fund to help the country adapt to climate change.

As the second most at-risk country in the world from climate change, Tonga is already experiencing a range of climate change impacts from extreme rainfall events, flood, drought, severe temperature changes, sea level rise, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, and more intense cyclones. Making sure that the country is able to effectively adapt to the effects of climate change is critical for Tonga’s sustainable development.

The two year grant will support the Government of Tonga to advance its national adaptation planning through its ‘Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management 2018 -2028’ framework. The grant will enable the government to build on existing capacities and to enhance institutions already in place at national, sectoral, community levels, as well as in the Outer Islands.

As the first Pacific Island to receive an Adaptation Planning grant, Tonga will also share best practice and lessons learnt with other countries in the region.

Losana Latu, Head of Climate Vulnerability Division, Government of Tonga said:

“We attach greater importance to the implementation of the GCF Adaptation Planning support project, as it will enable the country to identify and strengthen the necessary climate change adaptation measures and incorporate them into national, sectorial and community level planning processes, contributing to the country's sustainable development.”

Elizabeth Akau’ola, Policy Officer in the Department of Climate Change, Government of Tonga, added:

“This project is the pride of Tonga. Its implementation will be based on strong partnership with public sectors, island leaders and communities, and with our donor GCF, we will paddle together to build resilience.”

This is the third grant approved to Tonga under the Green Climate Fund Readiness Programme supported by the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub

The Commonwealth’s National Climate Finance Adviser in Tonga, Othniel Yila, said:

“This project is an important opportunity for the Government of Tonga to support a climate resilient future, protect its economic and social sectors from effects of climate change, and build towards achieving Tonga’s Nationally Determined Contributions and other important goals that will support this nation well into the 21st century.”

In December 2019, Tonga received a grant of nearly $500k to improve solar electricity generation.

The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub ensures that Commonwealth small and other vulnerable states have improved access to climate finance by placing experts in government departments to support grant applications, capacity building and implementation.

To date, the Hub has helped countries to access more than $30 million of climate finance with over $500 million in the pipeline.