Supporting Tonga to better access and manage climate finance

Release date: 

Jan 11 2017

Tongan woman with a child sitting on a front porch of her house in Neiafu, Tonga. Photo credit: Donyanedomam via iStock

USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific, as part of a team of experts, worked with the Government of Tonga to help them understand their strengths and weaknesses in an effort to improve the island-country’s capacities to manage disaster risks, more effectively respond to climate impacts, and better position themselves to access climate finance.

In collaboration with UNDP, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, UN Women, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and in consultation with over 60 key decision-makers from government, development partner organizations, private sector, and civil society, USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific contributed to producing a comprehensive Climate Financing and Risk Governance Assessment for the Government of Tonga.

The assessment focused on developing a more in-depth understanding of Tonga’s mix of policies and plans to help guide their climate change agenda and the institutions in place. It also helped determined the strength of Tonga’s public financial management systems, including how much climate change financial support is needed, and whether current climate change expenditure was achieving policy objectives.

Tonga is ranked among the top three most vulnerable countries in the world to natural disasters. As a small island developing state Tonga is extremely vulnerable to the risks posed by climate change, such as sea level rise, changes in rainfall, and ocean acidification.  Tonga’s vulnerability is further compounded by economic and social factors, including fluctuations in the economy, population growth, ecosystem degradation, and unsustainable use of natural resources.

There is, however, strong commitment from the Government of Tonga to do more and improve its capabilities to better respond to climate change and disasters and to find resources to implement critical projects on the ground.

The assessment found that, over the past six years, the amount of cash flows that were considered beneficial to Tonga’s climate change and disaster risk management (CCDRM) response was around 31% of the development assistance received. The assessment also found that Tonga has no dominant funding source for CCDRM assistance, but instead is using a range of international and bilateral sources. As the Government of Tonga continues to gradually increase the share of its own budget for climate change activities, the assessment concluded that there should be efforts to strengthen the tracking and evaluation of CCDRM financing as a critical pre-requisite for managing increased flows of climate change financing in the future.

USAID Adapt Asia Pacific supported the development of this assessment through a Public Financial Management (PFM) Expert who worked with local counterparts to analyze and assess financial and budget data to determine how Tonga’s funding had been used in recent years. The assessment also reviewed the PFM system and its ability to appropriately manage climate finance assistance with a view to assessing Tonga’s ability to move towards achieving direct access to international climate funds.

The full copy of the Climate Financing and Risk Governance Assessment is available for download via the Government of Tonga’s Ministry of Finance and National Planning website:

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