Climate Change mainstreamed into new Tonga Forest Policy
Sunday, 04 October 2009 00:00
SPC and GTZ linked up with the FAO-SAPA office to collaborate on the integration of climate change into the Tonga national Forest Policy. The FAO had been supporting the Government of Tonga on the review of the forest policy and all parties recognised this as an opportune entry point for the integration of climate change related issues.
A comprehensive stakeholder consultation process saw the development of fourteen policy statements specifically addressing climate change. These statements attempt to mainstream those aspects of climate change that will directly impact Tonga’s forests and trees resources, and those that will affect Tonga’s ability to sustainably manage these important resources for present and future generations. Several of the new policy statements also aims to support Tonga’s contribution to global efforts to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas levels in accordance with their commitments as a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol.
The revised Tonga Forest Policy is supporting the following climate change related elements:
  • climate change mitigation - conserving and building carbon stocks within forest and soil resources; participation within global mitigation programmes; promotion of renewable wood materials for construction and fuel
  • climate change adaptation - promoting the use of trees in vulnerable coastal areas; promoting protection of mangrove forests; research and development into resilient trees species; technical capacity building; role of trees and forest ecosystems in food security
  • awareness raisingensuring communities understand the roles of trees in mitigating and adapting to climate change
  • international assistanceseeking out international support to protect and sustainably manage Tonga’s forest resources and to support climate change mitigation and adaptation initiative.
The policy also strongly promotes the capacity development of institutions, technical officers and local communities to develop an enabling environment for the implementation.
The Forest Policy was formally endorsed by Cabinet in December 2009 and is one of the first national policies in the Pacific to specifically mainstream climate change issues.