The Government of Tonga understands those detrimental impacts of climate change including increased temperature (atmospheric and sea surface temperature), increased intensity of tropical cyclone, heavy rainfall, drought, sea level rise, inland and coastal inundation and erosion and so forth) to its environment, people, their livelihoods and sustainable development of the country hence considers climate change as one of the priority objectives of its National Development Plan (Tonga Strategic Development Framework) and budgetary processes. During the 2012-2013 financial year, Government has allocated budget to establish the Climate Change Division within Ministry of Lands, Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources. This Division was then merged with other six Divisions of the newest Ministry, the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC), which was established in July 2014.
Objectives, Outcomes & Strategies
“Improve resilience to the impacts of climate change” is the objective of the Department of Climate Change. This objective is consistent with the National Outcome E of the Tonga Strategic Development Framework (TSDF), 2015-2025.
Mandate and Functions
- Liaise with government ministries, departments and agencies in relation to issues affecting the environment and climate change;
- Advise government in matters relating to environment management including climate change and the protection and conservation of natural resources and promotion of sustainable development;
- Prepare environment and climate change policies and plans;
- Facilitate, conduct and participate in environmental research;
- Promote public awareness and education in relation to environmental issues including climate change;
- Facilitate participation of non-government organisations in environmental management including climate change;
- Ensure that laws of the Kingdom relating to the management and protection of the environment and climate change adaptation and mitigation are reviewed, implemented and enforced;
- Functions in relation to environmental management shall also include matters relating to climate change and ozone depletion.
Department of Climate Change had faced challenges which greatly hindered the effective and efficient delivery of its core functions and responsibilities. These challenges included lack of human resources, budget allocated to Department during financial year was not sufficient for staff establishment and operation of the Department, lack of political interest and support and lack of enforcement of existing legislations and policies relating to climate change.