A data collection mission to help inform environmental policies in Tonga took place this month led by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Environment Monitoring and Governance Programme (EMG) in partnership with the Department of Environment of Tonga.
Working with Water Tech Australia alongside 20 government officials and non-government organisations, the staff of the Environmental Monitoring and Governance (EMG) programme of SPREP and the Government of Tonga collated data through a one week workshop. This data will help form the Tonga State of Environment (SoE) Report, National Environment Management Strategy (NEMS) and Project Idea Note.
This is the second SPREP mission to Tonga working with multiple sectors to obtain the necessary data to create the country’s SoE.
“A good policy is based on good data. The State of Environment Report will be a very useful tool for decision and policy makers of our country,” said Mr. Paula Ma’u, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications.
“The SoE will provide us with a stock take and information on the important issues of biodiversity, climate change, pollution and land degradation. For this, we need harmonised data and reporting in order to best represent the state of environment for Tonga.”
The importance of environmental data management was highlighted during the week as 20 participants worked to collate datasets for the SoE Report and NEMS. Datasets include tables of data, maps and reports relating to key environmental indicators that will help form the State of Environment Report to be developed for Tonga.
During the workshop participants raised the challenge of locating specific datasets in the themes of the SoE, these themes include Atmosphere and Climate, Waste and Pollution, Marine Environment, and Culture and Heritage. Participants were advised of the tools developed under the Inform project, such as the Environmental Data Portal that strengthens environmental data management through providing a site to store and share data.
While in Tonga, the EMG team also helped strengthen the capacity of the Department of Environment staff on the procedures for Environment Impact Assessment consultancy registration, guidelines for the different level of risks of development projects, and discussions on the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction negotiation meeting to be held in New York in September later this year.
The development of the SoE report is supported by the ACPMEA 2 Project, an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States funded by the European Union. The Inform project is funded through the Global Environment Facility. Both projects are being implemented by UN Environment, executed by SPREP in Pacific island countries. The two projects complement each other through integrated approaches to their activities in Tonga.
For more information on this please contact [email protected]
To learn more about the ACPMEAs project, please visit http://www.sprep.org/Projects/acp-meas-project
To learn more about the Inform project, please visit http://www.sprep.org/inform/home