NUKU’ALOFA-May 30, 2018: 11am (Enviro News): The Tonga Ridge to Reef Project is an important project for the people of Tonga because the program compliments the work of community members within the Fanga’uta Lagoon Catchment Area, Minister responsible Hon Poasi Tei said on Tuesday afternoon.
Charing the last Project Steering Committee meeting of the R2R Project at the Little India in Sopu, Hon Tei said 55% of the Tongatapu community are affected by the project.
He said that was why it is important that the project’s works continue, with a possible second phase to be looked at by the Tongan Government.
Hon Tei is the Minister of Environment (MEIDECC).
The project rounded of its operation in Tonga on March 31 this year.
It started in 2015.
Tuesday’s meeting brought together Chief Executive Officers from MEIDECC, Lands and Survey, Tourism, Agriculture/Food/Forestry, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Waste Authority and representatives from Fisheries, Education, Civil Society and district officers from within the Fanga’uta Lagoon area.
Hon Tei told the meeting that it was important that the project continues and was happy when told by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) reps at the meeting that there was a high possibility that a second phase of the project could be funded under the GEF7 (Global Environment Facility).
UNDP evaluator Arun Rijal presented his initial findings and recommendations at the meeting.
Mr Rijal is currently in Tonga evaluating the project’s implementation.
He told the meeting that the project is an important one and suggested that more community involvement be looked at if second phase is approved.
Project Coordinator Ta’hirih Hokafonu presented the project’s learnings.
She also thanked all the partners and stakeholders for working together in the successful implementation of the project here.
Tonga is the first out of 14 countries in the region to implement to R2R project.