In January this year Cyclone Ian devastated Tonga’s central island group of Ha’apai causing USD120 million in destruction. The island nation has been identified as the second most-at-risk country in the world to natural hazards which is further compounded by the adverse impacts of climate change.
In light of this Tonga has led the way with key actions that bring about a ‘whole of country’ approach in the fight against climate change. Actions that are testament to Tonga’s marked increase and high priority to both mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
“Tonga is the pioneer in the synthesis of Climate Change and Disaster Risk through implementation of our Joint National Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management,” stated Mr. Paula Ma’u the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Environment and Communications as he shared efforts made by Tonga to adapt to and mitigation climate change.
“We have now increased our mitigation efforts to achieve an ambitious 100% Renewable Energy by 2020 through Tonga’s Energy Road Map.”
Tonga also pioneered the Pacific region in the establishment of its Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Climate Change and Disaster, and the first in the Pacific to implement its Third National Communication on Climate Change.
Considering climate change to be the greatest threat to their survival, Tonga has highlighted through national efforts the need to respond urgently and adequately to the social, economic and security impacts of climate change to ensure their survival and viability.
“With only 0.01% of global emissions produced by the Pacific as a region, Tonga understands that we co-exist in a Global Commons, and that as a global family we must foster global partnerships as a measure to catalyse global ambitions”
“Yet in light of our limited human resources, and economic capacity, we as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries, have no alternative but to leave no stone unturned or leave anything to chance and spare no expense because no monetary value can be ascribed to ‘one’s right to exist’.”
Today, the CEO, Mr. Paula Mu’a told the UN Climate Convention that the failure to act and implement initiatives to counter the effects of climate change will guarantee the rapid deterioration of the planet, the people and their islands and culture.
As Tonga is committed to mitigating the climate change risks to the lives and livelihoods of their communities and to building their capacity and resilience.
“Allow me to call on world leaders to seek solutions that focus on accelerating actions and increasing ambition and to also take concrete actions nationally and in doing so we may discontinue existing in this ‘Tragedy of the Commons'”.
Mr. Paula Ma’u the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Environment and Communications, presented his statement on behalf of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga at the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima, Peru. To access all statements please visit: http://unfccc.int/meetings/lima_dec_2014/statements/items/8733.php