Tonga’s first State of Environment Report launched on World Environment Day

Hon Dr Tuioneto’a plants a heilala tree earlier today as part of the Environment Day celebrations. Photo: ENVIRO NEWS

Nuku’alofaJune 5, 2020: 12.30pm (Enviro News): The Prime Minster, Honourable Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, had today launched Tonga’s first ever State of Environment Report on the closing of the week-long commemoration of World Environment Day in Cabinet, Nuku’alofa, Tonga.

World Environment Day is a yearly event organized by the United Nations Environment Programme and is celebrated throughout the world on June 5th to raise global awareness and action for the recovery and protection of our natural environment.

Prime Minister Hon Dr Pohiva Tuioneto’a and Hon Frederica Tuita Filipe with Cabinet Ministers outside the St George Building after the launch of the SOE Report and planting of Heilala trees today. Photo: ENVIRO NEWS

The week-long celebrations in Tonga commenced on Sunday with a televised church service at the Constitutional Church of Tonga in Pahu, tree planting programmes in schools and live radio programmes conducted throughout the week on various themes related to this year’s theme Protect Nature, Respect BIODIVERSITY, Secure your life! OR “Malu’i ‘a Natula moe ngaahi me’amo’ui kehekehe, ke hoko koe paletu’a ki ho’o mo’ui” 

The State of Environment (SoE) report is Tonga’s first report with the purpose of understanding trends and current environmental state in order to identify areas that require attention to improve national efforts for attaining sustainable development. The report indicates whether current trends are improving or deteriorating, with recommendations on how to improve current practices affecting environmental health as well as our wellbeing.

Environment Director Atelaite Lupe Matoto (sitting) with senior Environment and MEIDECC staff at the launch today. Photo: ENVIRO NEWS

In the launching of the SoE report, the Honourable Mr. Poasi Tei, Minister for Environment, reminded all Tongans that “the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature. It is therefore imperative that we care for nature in order to care for ourselves.”  

Hon. Mr. Poasi Tei also emphasized that this SoE report is a baseline to continue monitoring and updating information as the environment continues to change under various pressures.

Mr. Paula Ma’u, CEO for Environment, expressed his gratitude to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP) for their technical and financial assistance in the development and completion of the report, during his delivery of the Vote of Thanks.  

MEIDECC Chief Executive Officer Paula Ma’u and Island and Oceans Ecosystem Unit head Ta’hirih Fifita Hokafonu at the launch earlier today. Photo: ENVIRO NEWS

He also acknowledged that the State of Environment Report would not have been possible without the active participation of all government and non-government organisations in providing the necessary information required for the development of this report, and to further advance Tonga’s efforts towards achieving sustainability. 

Hon Frederica Tuita Filipe planting a heilala tree earlier today. Photo: ENVIRO NEWS

To end the programme, the Prime Minister, Honourable Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, had planted two Heilala  plants (Garcinia sessilis) in the front yard of St. George building, Nuku’alofa, to mark the occasion and to close the National Environment Week for the year 2020. 

He was joined by Hon Frederica Tuita Filipe, who also planted a tree.

Copies of the Tonga State of Environment Report

World Ocean Day will be celebrated tomorrow with communities helping out in a clean up of the waterfront in Popua and Patangata.

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