Tonga works on National Mangroves Plan

Nuku’alofa – November 9, 2018: 2.05pm (Enviro News): Tonga is working on having in place a National Mangroves Management Plan.

The first step involved bringing together around 55 participants for the three-day National Mangrove Workshop in Nuku’alofa, which ends today Bahai Faith Hall in Kolofo’ou.

The workshop was opened by the Acting Chief Executive Officer for MEIDECC,  Vatulele Tuputupu, on Tuesday, October 30.

Jointly organised by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Ministry of Environment (MEIDECC), the workshop has brought together reps from government ministries such as MEIDECC, Lands and Survey, Fisheries, National Planning (PUMA) and reps from Non Government Organisations (NGOs) such as Tonga Trust and VEPA (Vava’u Environment Protection Agency).

In opening the workshop Mr Tuputupu said the workshop is an important one, as Tonga works on having a National Mangroves Management Plan.

“This is important and the workshop will give participants an opportunity to share their views and knowledge about mangroves,” he said.

“At the same time they will also have the opportunity to learn more about mangroves management.”

Participants at the ‘Ahau nursery during the field trip last week as part of the Mangroves Workshop. Photo: ENVIRO NEWS

The ultimate aimed is help participants share information and knowledge during the workshop to draft a National Mangroves Management Plan for Tonga.

Facilitators have come from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and a NGO from South East Asia called Mangroves for Action.

The workshop has helped participants by:

Enhancing their knowledge and understanding on Nature-based Solutions and its importance for disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and community resilience

Increasing their knowledge on the role of biodiversity and ecosystems services for disaster risk reduction

Increasing their knowledge on the role of mangrove ecosystems for DRR

Increasing their knowledge in mangrove conservation and restoration

advising them on how to plan mangroves and setting up community management plants

Participants were able to take field visits to mangrove sites in Nukuhetulu, ‘Ahau and Kolovai.

7 year old Samuela Tora was the youngest participant at the mangroves planting in Nukuhetulu last week. Photo: ENVIRO NEWS

They were able to study the different eco-systems in the two areas visited and also took part in potting new mangrove seedlings at the Kolovai site and planting young plants at Nukuhetulu.

Tongatapu and Vava’u are the two main islands in Tonga where mangroves forests grow.

Communities on Tongatapu have been involved with mangroves replanting programmes over the years, especially in the areas around the Fanga’uta Lagoon, during the Tonga Ridge to Reef project period from 2015 to March this year.

Currently the Climate Change Department is working with the GIZ on mangroves replanting in the Western Division.

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