Tonga must urgently invest in disaster risk preparedness, Fekita tells Commonwealth


Tonga faces continual challenges and is extremely vulnerable to the existential threat of climate change and climate disasters, the Minister for Foreign Affairs told Commonwealth counterparts in Canada.

“We must urgently invest in more disaster risk preparedness,” Fekita ‘Utoikamanu told the CPA Small Branches Network in Halifax, Canada.

She was speaking on a panel, addressing Disaster Risk Preparedness for Small Jurisdictions, on 22 August.

“Our reality as small jurisdictions, is that we continue to have limited means and capacity to respond to and manage the risks of the ever-accelerating climate change and disasters.”

The Tonga Government has introduced policies to proactively address disaster management in response, she said. Parliament has also enacted various laws.

Professor Kate Cochrane, Head of Resilience from Durham University, on the panel also engaged participants to create a better understanding of disaster risk, the strengthening of disaster risk governance and investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience.

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga Lord Fakafanua and ‘Utoikamanu are attending the 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) in Halifax, from 20-26 August 2022.

Held under the theme, “Inclusive, Accessible, Accountable and Strong Parliaments, The Cornerstone of Democracy, and Essential for Development,” the annual event brings together over 500 Parliamentarians, parliamentary staff and decision makers from across the Commonwealth.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is also representing Tonga at the 7th Triennial Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Conference, which is being held during the 65th CPC.