Tonga’s Mission Zero Waste at the 8th Regional 3R Forum

INDORE, India-April 12, 2018: 8.42am (MEIDECC): The Eighth Regional 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Forum in Asia and Pacific was officially opened on Monday, April 9 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India, with an overall theme of “Achieving Clean Water, Clean Land and Clean Air through 3R and Resource Efficiency-A 21st Century Vision for Asia-Pacific Communities”. Tonga is being represented at the meeting with a delegation led by the Minister of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC), Hon Poasi Tei.

The Forum aims to address how 3R and resource efficiency measures can provide complementary benefits in making cities and countries clean, smart, livable and resilient. 

The Forum also aims to generate policy-level, institutional level and technological insights towards effective implementation of 3R and resource efficiency to foster circular economic development, sustainable change in current use of natural resources and ultimately achieve a zero waste society. 

In addition, the Forum seeks to engage the public and private sector to explore various partnership opportunities in areas of 3R and waste management for moving towards a zero waste society.  The Forum further provides an opportunity to establish insightful linkages between the principles of 3R and resource efficiency and the objectives of Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission).

Tonga’s strategic framework and the country has introduced a number of laws and regulations for environmental protection that provide guidance to waste management and 3R initiatives, including the Waste Management Act (2005), EIA ACT (2003), Hazardous Wastes and Chemicals Act (2010) and the Litter Control Act (2016).

Tonga has a draft waste management strategy and has adopted a number of initiatives, including awareness campaigns (such as “Clean, Green Tonga” and the Clean Schools Initiative), PacWaste (an initiative dealing with e-waste, health care waste and asbestos) , Tonga E-Waste Project,  National Implementation Plan on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), renewable energy generation through biomass and capacity-building initiative under the J-PRISM programme. Most programmes are, however, donor-funded, and limited human and financial resources, along with limited institutional capacities, are persistent challenges.

This year, the Forum is hosted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India, and co-organized by the Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan, and the United Nations Centre for Regional Development of the Division for Sustainable Development/United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Tonga is amongst over 40 countries represented at the Forum with over 500 participants, including high-level government representatives from Asia-Pacific countries, City Mayors, international experts, research institutes and resource persons. 

The Forum is expected to conclude later tonight (April 12 in India), with the signing of the Declaration “Indore 3R Declaration on Achieving Clean Water, Clean Land, and Clean Air in Cities” by Mayors and City Authorities.

Hon.Tei is accompanied by Mr. Paula Ma’u, Chief Executive Officer of MEIDECC and Ms. Mafile’o Masi, Chief Environmentalist and Head of Waste Management and Pollution Control Division of MEIDECC.

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