In 2009 SPC/GIZ CCCPIR collaborated with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization 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 early 2014 and to be submitted to Cabinet for endorsement later in the year.
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.
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