SPC/GIZ Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Islands Region (CCCPIR) programme

Mainstreaming climate change in Tonga
In 2009 SPC/GIZ CCCPIR collaborated with the UN Food and Agriculture cccpir_tongaOrganization to mainstream climate change issues into the development of the Tonga Forest Policy. This made Tonga the first Pacific Island country to have a forest policy with distinct climate change components.

From 2011 to 2012, development of the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS) was undertaken. The strategy aims to support the implementation of the Tonga Joint National Action Plan (JNAP). The NCCAS, focusing on land-based sectors, is due for finalisation in 2013.

In 2013, the drafting of the National Land Use Policy was supported and formulated with climate change issues considered. The policy was developed through intensive and transparent stakeholder consultations. This was essential, given the sensitive nature of land tenure in Tonga. The draft was finalised in 2013.

On-the-ground programme implementation

One project pilot site is located in Nakolo, Tongatapu, and the second on ‘Eua Island. The Nakolo site focuses on climate change resilient/tolerant crops and intercropping systems. On ‘Eua, SPC/GIZ CCCPIR is supporting the Forestry Division and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change on the rehabilitation of the watershed, rehabilitation of the National Forest Park and reforestation of degraded lands. In 2010, extensive training was conducted for officers from the Forestry Division, Lands Division and Environment and Climate Change on forest inventory procedures. Permanent sample plots have been established on ‘Eua for monitoring of forest growth, biodiversity and carbon stock. More plots were established in 2013. An overall land use plan is under development to guide activities in the watershed and forest areas of ‘Eua. The CCCPIR programme is also working with Petani women (descendants of people from Petani on Niuafooa, the northernmost island in Tonga, who were relocated after a volcanic eruption in 1946) to make productive the unused land left behind by ‘Eua families who have moved overseas. This support aims to improve the livelihood of the Petani families and enhance food security. There are plans to extend this support to other women’s groups.

Various awareness workshops and training on climate change, land-use planning and sustainable land-use and forest management have been conducted. A training programme on raising awareness on climate change for town clerks was held in late 2013.

Sustainable energy management

In 2012, a pre-feasibility study was conducted by SPC/GIZ CCCPIR to cccpir_tonga_energyanalyse wind resource data from July 2010 to May 2012 and to predict the long-term wind resource available on the eastern side of Tongatapu.

The study used the newly acquired data to generate a wind resource map of the entire island. Based on this map, a wind farm consisting of four 275 kilowatt wind turbine generators was proposed.

Using specialised software packages, the annual energy production of the wind farm was estimated and fuel-saving of around 5% of Tongatapu’s annual demand was predicted.

Climate change education

During the ongoing curriculum review, the Ministry of Education and Training strengthened learning about climate change in the primary school syllabus.

To implement and better steer climate change programmes that are related to education, a new national Working Group on Education on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management was established in September 2012. The strategic objective of this group is to provide leadership, guidance and oversight on matters concerning education on climate change and disaster risk management.

This group is under the national climate change governance structure, but is chaired by the Ministry of Educations’ Curriculum Development Unit. The group has an endorsed work plan, which is being supported by different partners such as SPC/GIZ CCCPIR, AusAID, Plan International and UNDP.

Since its foundation, the working group has been meeting on a regular basis to guide the implementation of various climate change projects.

Achievements to date

  • A project: Climate Change Warriors: Secondary Students Analyse Impacts and Take Action, was rolled out, supported by the SPC /Australian Multi-Country Climate Change Adaptation Program.
  • The children’s story book Pou and Miri learn to tackle climate change was translated into Tongan.
  • Lecturers at the Tonga Institute of Education and curriculum officers from the Ministry of Education identified key messages and will work on strengthening their respective curricula (this with support from the Institute of Education/USP under SPC Australian funding).
  • A sub-working group on education on climate change and DRM under MECC was endorsed in 2012.