PEIN Country Profile and Virtual Environment Library



Capital City:  tongamap
Polynesia - Pacific (Oceania)
Tongan, English
National Focal Points for Environment
Ministry of Environment and Climate Change

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour


* Excerpts from National Strategic Planning Framework [2010-2014]

Integrate environmental sustainability and climate change into all planning and executing of programs

The Tonga Government takes seriously the responsibility of preserving for future
generations the economic opportunities and environmental resources that we enjoy today.
The Government is committed to integrating the principles of sustainable development into all of its policies and budgetary processes. Raising the environmental sustainability of economic development to safeguard the interests of future generations is vitally important. It is universally accepted that the environment is not a separate entity from the economy. Changes in one affect
the other. Thus, economy and the environment must be fully integrated in decision-making.

There is a need to explore options for enhancing the resilience of government, communities, businesses and natural resources; exploring the environmental, economic and societal consequences of changes in the availability of freshwater and other resources; and the roles of institutions and information systems in improving Tonga’s risk management capabilities. There is a need to analyze the options, risks and uncertainties in mitigating and adapting to environmental
change and variability. Year-to-year climate variability (e.g., El Niño) and extreme events (e.g., droughts and storms) already pose significant challenges for key economic sectors including agriculture, fisheries and tourism, public health and safety, climate sensitive resources (e.g. beaches & coral reefs), vulnerable coasts and critical water resources, and will continue to do so in the future. People are at risk from geologic disasters in this geologically unstable part of the world. Government will seek to develop a framework for multi-hazards risk management that will
contribute to the development of sustainable communities in Tonga.

Land-use and land-cover change are widely considered as sources and sinks of biogeochemical elements and biological diversity. Human driving forces of landuse/ cover change include demographic factors such as population size, growth rate, and migration; cultural values; technology; level of affluence and economic structure; and political systems. A better understanding of how these factors affect land-use decisions and derive land-cover changes is critical for projecting future patterns of land use and future states of land cover.

* Excerpts from 'Tonga Strategic Development Plan 8 2006/07-2008/09'

Environmental Sustainability

The Environmental Situation

Performance in regard to environmental health indicators of access to safe water and sanitation is encouraging. However, a number of environmental concerns have arisen in recent years. Over 30% of Tonga’s population is urban, of which 77% is in Nuku’alofa and 12% is in Neiafu. Growth in the urban population has resulted in the subdivision of agricultural allotments on the outskirts of Nuku’alofa and settlement in swampy areas. A boom in housing construction and other infrastructure development has seen heavy demands on sand and gravel and the removal of mangroves, which removes habitat for juvenile fish and crustaceans and increases soil and coastal erosion. Poorly-drained areas often face inundation from the sea and heavy rain, exposing
residents to water-borne diseases and other health risks associated with sewage problems.

Pollution is a problem largely arising from increasing utilisation of fossil fuel, improper solid waste disposal, pesticide and fertilizer runoff into the groundwater lens and sea, and random waste disposal by seagoing vessels. Littering and indiscriminate dumping of solid waste are major concerns in urban areas. Beaches, vacant land and roadsides have become dumping grounds
for old vehicles and other metal parts that can not be burned, diapers, wholesale/retail waste and domestic waste. The problem has been compounded by the fact that there have been only two designated rubbish dump sites – one on Tongatapu and one on Vava’u. The absence of a designated rubbish dump in Ha'apai and 'Eua has created environmental concerns for these islands. Unsightly littering has been identified by visitors as an unpleasant feature of
Tonga; the attraction and proliferation of insects, vermin and pests constitutes a health risk; and the pollution and degradation of local drains and waterways is having a detrimental impact on flora, fauna, and the livelihood of the local community.

Pesticides and fertilizers are abundantly used in agriculture, and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and other chemicals are used in other industries such as power supply and construction. The waste from these pollutants is not properly disposed of, leading to runoff into the ocean, which has detrimental affects on marine organisms, and seepage into groundwater,
which is a health hazard. For most of Tonga’s populated islands, the water is either rainwater caught on rooftops and stored in cisterns or a thin lens of fresh water in a highly porous limestone rock substratum. The groundwater lens is vulnerable to contamination from surface pollutants, which percolate down through the rock, as well as from saltwater. There is a general lack of information about the types and volumes of chemicals stored and a poor understanding
within the wider community of the potential dangers of certain chemicals and how to use and store chemicals.

Ship traffic is high in Tonga, with containerships arriving weekly and several inter-island ferries running weekly or daily. Also, about 500 yachts arrive in the Port of Refuge harbour in Vava’u every year. There has been no effective regulation of the waste dumped off all these vessels.
Other causes of pollution are the burning of trash and garden waste, combustion of fossil fuel and deforestation.

Table 11.1: MDG 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Target 9: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and
programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources

MDGI 25: Proportion of land area covered by forest = 5.3% (1994)

MDGI 26: Ratio of area protected to maintain biological diversity to surface area = 6.7% (1998)

MDGI 27: Carbon dioxide emissions (per capita) and consumption of ozone-depleting CFCs
(ODPtons) Carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), metric tons, per capita = 3 (1994)

Consumption of ozone depleting CFCs (ODP tons) = 0.32 (2003) MDGI 29: Proportion of households using solid fuels = 73.7% (1996)

Target 10: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water MDGI 30: Proportion of households with sustainable access to an improved water source, urban and rural Proportion of households with sustainable access to an improved water source, urban = 98.3% (1996)

Proportion of households with sustainable access to an improved water source, rural = 98.1%

MDGI 31: Proportion of urban households with access to improved sanitation = 99% (1996)

Target 11: By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of slum dwellers

MDGI 32: Proportion of urban households with access to secure tenure (owned or rented) = 98% (1996)

Tonga’s renewable natural resources have been under growing pressure. The total land area of about 750 km2 of the Tonga archipelago is habitat to its terrestrial biodiversity. The ‘Eua and Mount Talau National Parks gazetted in 1992 and 1994, represent remnants of indigenous vegetation and associated fauna. Existing biodiversity assets of Tonga ? primary forests and the myriad plants, birds, and other animals that are dependant on forest habitat ? are now confined to where the remaining forests are still found. The total forested area has been estimated at 4,000 hectares (5.3% of the land area), and this is increasingly fragmented and subject to disturbance by invasive weeds and pests, as well as by humans who strip bark and cut branches for firewood.

There are only about a dozen endemic plant species and two endemic bird species left in the country. Marine biodiversity and resources are yet to be fully surveyed and documented, but it is clear that there has been a loss of inshore biodiversity due to easy and open access by coastal populations. Since 1976, only five marine parks have been established under the Parks and Reserves Act. This last point is connected to the substantial overexploitation of inshore fisheries resources that was discussed in Chapter 7. The reefs and lagoons are the prime source for subsistence supplies of shellfish and other marine life harvested from the tidal flats at low tide, and of small herbivorous fish such as surgeonfish, parrotfish and rabbitfish. There are more than 50 commonly caught invertebrates from reefs and sand habitats; 8 species of beche-de-mer; and four giant clam species, all of which are threatened.

In addition to the environmental problems arising from human usage of Tonga’s natural environment, the population must contend with the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters. Tonga ranks second to Vanuatu amongst 111 countries in a 1999 study, in which vulnerability to natural disasters was measured by the percentage of the population affected by natural disasters in 1970-96.40 Since then, Tonga has experienced two hurricanes in 1997, two in 1998,
one in 2000, two in 2001, one in December 2001-January 2002 and one affecting the Niuas in January 2004.

Environmental conservation and management and disaster management are major policy challenges to be confronted. The strategic response to the specific challenge of urban management has been outlined in chapter 6 (Strategy 20: Develop an urban planning and management strategy for Tonga and formulate an investment project for development of urban areas).

Environmental Policy

The Department of Environment’s (DOE) Corporate Plan 2006-2008 presents a vision that “the people of Tonga are better able to plan and manage the use of their environment for sustainable development of present and future generations”, and sets out departmental objectives and programmes for achieving this vision.41 The key, overarching strategies during the SDP8 period
are as follows.

Strategy 1: Complete and enforce the legislative framework for environmental conservation and management. 

The framework referred to in Strategy 1 is wide-ranging and demanding of legal and enforcement capacities. Aside from the EIA Act, an Environment Management Bill (EMB) has been drafted and submitted to the Law Reform Committee for consideration. A Marine Pollution Bill was developed by the Ministry of Marine and Ports; a Pesticides Act has been passed; and drafts of a Solid Waste Management Bill, an Ozone Bill and a Bio-Safety Bill are to be taken through the process of legislative review. It is also anticipated that a Hazardous Wastes and Substances Bill will be prepared as part of a harmonization of legislation required to implement four international conventions relating to hazardous and chemical waste management (the Stockholm, Rotterdam, Basel and Waigani Conventions).

Specific DOE environmental projects that will be ongoing in the SDP8 period, and that have or will generate components of the legislative framework referred to in Strategy 1, include:

(1) The POPs Project (ending July 2006), which has the overall goal of reducing the threat posed by POPs and related chemicals toward the environment and human health, and which is supported by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and AusAID. The project provides for removal overseas of
some POPs.

(2) The Ozone Depleting Substances Project (due for completion in 2006), which is part of a regional strategy for the Montreal Protocol that targets the removal of ozone depleting substances (ODS) across the globe, and which is supported by UNEP.

(3) The International Waters Project (February 2002-Dec. 2006), which involves water quality baseline studies and introduction of low-cost waste reduction practices, and which is supported by SPREP, UNDP and the Global Environmental Facility.

(4) The National Capacity Self Assessment for Global Environmental Management Project (Sept. 2005-February 2007), which seeks to build domestic capacity to implement the UN Convention for Biological Diversity, the UN Convention on Climate Change and the UN Convention to Combat
Desertification. This project is supported by UNDP. 

Strategy 2: Integrate environmental costs and benefits into Government decision-making procedures covering policies, projects and private investment proposals.

DOE is empowered under the EIA Act to subject all “major projects” to an EIA. These projects are defined in the Schedule to the Act and include tourism, construction, aquaculture, agricultural and manufacturing activities. 

Strategy 3: Implement environmental education programmes and engage communities in remedial measures. DOE will continue to conduct educational awareness programmes on how to deal with the environmental issues affecting the community. Programmes such as live dramas, TV shows and advertisements will be organised to promote environmental awareness and how to care for the environment. DOE also will continue to coordinate “Environment Week” which takes place in the first week of June and coincides with “World Environment Day.” As noted in chapter 6, initiatives already underway to improve solid waste management will continue during the SDP8 period. The AusAID-funded Solid Waste Management Project aims to “contribute to a cleaner environment and improved public health for the people of Tonga” by establishing a sound,
sustainable and effective solid waste management system. The project consists of 6 components ? establishing a new Solid Waste Management Facility at Tapuhia; Community Information and Participation; Institutional Development; Waste Transfer; Solid Waste Management Facility Operations; and Project Management ? and includes the drafting of a Solid Waste Management Bill. NZAID is also funding the rehabilitation of the original dump site at Popua.

Chapter 6, Strategy 19: Implement and ensure sustainability of the Nuku’alofa Waste Management

As noted in chapter 7, Fisheries has the mandate to ensure the sustainable development of marine resources. In particular, there is an AusAID-supported initiative to improve the conservation and management of threatened inshore resources:

Chapter 7, Strategy 8: Continue to support, and where feasible extend the geographic coverage of, Community-based Management and Development Plans for inshore fisheries.

see also

Priority Activities for SPREP according to the Tonga SD 8 and draft SD 9 as presented at the 2009 Joint Country Strategy consultations

  • Country Profiles

  • Country Reports

  • Technical Reports

  • Country Websites

Country Profiles

Adaptation Learning Mechanism [climate change adaptation] country profiles

Asian Development Bank Country Profiles and Strategies

Biosafety Profiles [CBD Biosafety Clearinghouse Mechanism]

Birdlife [Avifauna] Profiles 

see also Avibase - Bird Checklists of the World - browsable by country and by individual island within the Pacific region - excellent data source 

see also a checklists of birds of FIJI, AMERICAN SAMOA, NIUE, SAMOA, TOKELAU, TONGA, TUVALU AND WALLIS & FUTUNA compiled by Dick Watling

see also Species profiles [*For the Globally Threatened Birds (those evaluated as Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable), each factsheet contains a summary account, range map and an illustration, plus additional data tables. For Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Near Threatened, Least Concern and Data Deficient species, each contains a concise summary paragraph and some additional data tables.] [Birdlife International]

see also Endemic Bird Areas [EBAs] of the Pacific [incl. Tonga (secondary area) ] [Birdlife International]

see also Important bird areas of the Pacific [IBAs] (2010) [Birdlife Pacific]

IBA Profiles: 

IBA Reports:

* order the complete CD-ROM 'Important bird areas in the Pacific: a compendium' from theSPREP IRC

see also Pacific regional overview [Birdlife International] 
see also Globally Threatened Birds (those evaluated as Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable) of Oceania [Birdlife International]
see also State of the World's birds website and report [Birdlife International] - including Pacific country case studies

Country Climate Profile [UNDP]
* Sourced from the Adaptation Learning Mechanism, a knowledge sharing platform developed by UNDP in partnership with the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the World Bank, and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Earthtrends Thematic Country Profiles [WRI]
Agriculture and food, Biodiversity and protected areas, Climate and atmosphere, Coastal and marine ecosystems, Economics, business and the environment, Energy and resources,Environmental governance and institutions, Forests, grasslands and drylands, Population, health and human well-beingWater resources and freshwater ecosystems.

Ecoregion Profiles [World Wildlife Fund]
Tropical Moist Forests

Environment Statistics - Country Snapshots [UN; 2009]

Environmental Vulnerability Index - Country Profiles [SOPAC / UNEP]

EU Pacific Country Environment Profiles

see EU Country Partnership Profiles [incl. environment and EDF10 strategies]

FAO Country Profiles and Mapping Information System

FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Country Profiles 

Fishbase Biodiversity Country Profiles (all fish)

Fisheries Resources Profiles
Tonga (1994; 5mb)

Forestry Country Profiles 
Forestry Department Country Profiles [FAO] 

see also FAO Forest Resource Assessment : Country Reports [2010]
Tonga (2010; 189kb)

see also FAO Forest Resources Assessments - Data collection for the Pacific region [2000]

see also State of the World's Forests 2007: Asia and the Pacific [FAO] (2008; 1.77mb)
see also Tropical and subtropical forest profiles prepared by the World Wildlife Fund

see also Mongabay Rainforest profiles:

Global Biodiversity Information Forum [GBIF] Country Profiles 

see also GBIF Google Earth Country Links

Global Environment Facility (GEF) Country Profiles
Use the drop down menu to go to the individual profiles - includes GEF-4 Allocation and Utilization , Approved Projects and Projects Under Preparation

Integrated Water Resource Management Profiles [SOPAC]

Invasive Species : Country Profiles [ISSG]

see also PIER reports on invasive species in Pacific islands:

Land-based pollutants inventory for the South Pacific region: Part 2: Regional summary and country profiles [SPREP] (1993; 19mb)

Laws and legislation

Pacific islands Environmental Laws [Commonwealth Secretariat]

SPREP National Laws and Legislation clearinghouse

see also 'Legislative reviews' in Country Reports (below)

Mangrove and Wetlands Profiles [ *from Proceedings of the Pacific Regional Workshop on Mangrove Wetlands Protection and Sustainable Use . SPREP, 2002.]
Tonga (2002; 1.82mb)

see also: A Directory of Wetlands in Oceania [1993]
see also: Wetlands of the Pacific Island Region (2008; 882kb)
see also: IWMI Global Wetlands - Interactive Web Map Server - includes countries of Oceania 

Marine Resource Profiles


State of Coral Reef Systems
Tonga (2002; 1.45mb)

see also:

State of the marine environment in the South Pacific Region (1990; 3.48mb)

see also:

Reefbase Country Profiles (coral reefs, reef fish, biodiversity)

see also GIS data for corals in the Pacific from Reefbase - browse by country and reef profile
see also GIS data for marine protected areas in the Pacific from Reefbase - browse by country and ecosystem

see also:

Status of Coral Reef Systems of the World: 2008 (2008; 20mb)

Chapter 13 - Status of Coral Reefs in Polynesia Mana Node Countries: Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Niue, Kiribati, Tonga, Tokelau and Wallis and Futuna (2008; 1.85mb)

MPA Global Profiles (marine protected areas database)

see also Millennium Coral Reef Mapping - South Pacific products
IMARS Geomorphological classification is publicly available on the University of South Florida web site from . Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Tonga, Samoa, New Caledonia, Cook Is, French Polynesia and East Solomon are there (PNG will hopefully be coming shortly). Files are distributed as Shapefiles (ArcGIS) and can be opened in MapInfo.

Mapservers containing country level data on land utilisation, forestry, minerals etc.

National Communications Support Programme [Climate] Profiles [UNDP]

Pacific Biodiversity Information Forum Country Data:

Pacific Regional information System - PRISM [SPC]
Environmental and Climate Statistics 


Protected Areas

Protected Planet - Search the World Database on Protected Areas
Protected area profiles in Tonga

Reefbase GIS data for marine protected areas in Tonga
see also GIS data for marine protected areas in the Pacific - browse by country and ecosystem

SPC Country Profiles:

see also SPC Joint Country Strategies

SPREP Country Profiles: Exchange of Information by Members at SPREP Annual Meetings:
- Exchamge of information by Members on National Developments related to Natural Resource Management Priority of the Action Plan [2007]
see Agenda Item 6.1: Country Profiles of the Report and record of the 18th SPREP Meeting of Officials in Apia, Samoa on 11th to 14th September 2007

- Exchange of information by Members on national developments related to Pollution Prevention priority of the SPREP Action Plan [2008]
see Agenda Item 8.6: Country Profiles of the Report and record of the19th SPREP Annual Meeting of Officials in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia on 8–12 September 2008

- Exchange of Information by Members on National Developments Related to the Climate Change Focus Area of the SPREP Action Plan [2009]
see Agenda Item 11.2: Country Profiles of the Report and record of the 20th SPREP Annual Meeting of Officials in Apia, Samoa on 17 - 20 November 2009

- Exchange of Information by Members on Year of Biodiversity [2010]
see Agenda Item 11.3: Country Profiles of the Report and record of the 21st SPREP Meeting of Officials in Madang, Papua New Guinea on 6-10 September 2010
see also individual profiles for: Wallis and Futuna

Sustainable Development Profiles (UN Agenda 21)

Threatened species: Summary of species on the 2008 IUCN Red List

UNCCD Country Profiles:

UNEP Country Profiles [* poorly maintained and little information available]

Water Resource Profiles [SOPAC - Pacific water -]

WHO Environmental Health Profiles 

World Bank Country Profiles [country summary / statistics]
Tonga / Tonga

World Bank Environment indicators

World Factbook Country Profiles [CIA]

World Ocean Database 2005 [NOAA]
Geographically sorted data for the Pacific Ocean [datasets]

see also Environmental indicators: South Pacific (UNEP: 2004; 6.23mb)
see also Polynesia / Micronesia Biodiversity Hotspot Ecosystem Profile (2007; 1.16mb)

see also Paciifc Biodiversity Information Forum website and databases
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Country Reports

 Barbados Programme of Action + 10 (BPoA) 
National Assessment Reports: Tonga (2003; 546kb)

Pacific Environment Outlook (2005; 30.99mb)

The Conference on Small Island Developing States (Barbados Conference, 1994) highlighted the importance of island biodiversity as an ecological corridor linking major areas of biodiversity around the world. The conference called for international co-operation and partnership to support the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in their efforts to conserve, protect and restore their ecosystems. The Barbados Plan of Action recognizes the importance of the coastal zone as a source of subsistence and economic development.

Climate Change Policy
Tonga (2006)

Commission on Sustainable Development : Reports (Agenda 21)

Country Strategy Papers and National Indicative Programmes [European Union - EDF10]
Tonga (2008-2013; 1.92mb)

Environment Management Act (NEW)
Tonga (2010)

Legislative Reviews 
Tonga (1992; 10.12mb), Tonga - analysis (2006; 118kb), Tonga - inventory (2006; 283kb),

Montreal Protocol: National Compliance Action Strategies to implement the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
Tonga (2001; 264kb)

National Adaptation Plan of Action - NAPA - [Climate change]
Tonga Joint National Action Plan (JNAP) on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management (CCA & DRM) 2010 - 2015 (2010; 1.2mb)

National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans (NBSAP)
Tonga (2006; 1.52mb)

NBSAP Stocktake Reports: Tonga (2004; 5.64mb)

see also National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans: Pacific Regional Review (2007; 269kb)

National Biosafety Frameworks
Tonga (2004; 328kb)

National Capacity Self Assessment (NCSA) 
Thematic Assessment Reports:
Biodiversity: Tonga (2007; 843kb)
Climate Change: Tonga (2007?; 918kb), 
Land degradation: Tonga (2007; 1.22mb) ,

Action Plans:
Tonga *draft (2008; 431kb)

NCSA Status (NCSA website)

National Environment Management Strategy (NEMS) 
Tonga (1993; 26.6mb)

National Integrated Water Resource Management : Diagnostic Reports - drafts only [SOPAC]
Tonga (2007; 672kb)

National Invasive Species Strategy

Invasives reports: Tonga (2001; 559kb)

see also Invasive alien species in the Austral-Pacific region: national reports and directory of resources [GISP] (2002; 3.75mb)

see also Invasives Species on Pacific Islands [reports] - HEAR / PIER project website

National [Sustainable] Development Plans / Strategies [ForumSec]
Tonga (2006-2009 (2006?:1.44mb) ; Tonga 2010-2014 (2009;129kb)

ADB Reports: Tonga (2004; 224kb)

Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change [PACC] - reports, activities and PACC news updates

Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change [PACC] - report of in-country consultations 
Tonga (2009; 135kb)

Pacific Regional Energy Assessment: Country Reports (PIREP) 
Tonga (2004; 1.67mb)

Regional overview report (2004; 2.59mb)

Peristant Organic Pollutants (POPs): Country Plans
Tonga (2003; 399kb)

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (Basel Convention, 1989), the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (Rotterdam Convention, 1998) and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) (Stockholm Convention, 2001) together provide an international framework for the environmentally sound management of hazardous chemicals throughout their life cycles.

Sea Level & Climate: their present state: Country reports
Tonga (2006; 2.26mb)

Ships' Waste Management in Pacific Islands Ports: Country reports

Solid Waste Characterisation and Management Plans
Tonga (2000; 244kb)

State of the Environment Reports

see State of the Environment of the South Pacific 2005 (2005; 382kb; see also ~ ~)

see also State of the Environment of the South Pacific 1983 (UNEP: 1983; 1.66mb)
see also State of the marine environment in the South Pacific Region (1990; 3.48mb)

see also Regional perspectives: Asia and the Pacific (UNEP, GEO-4. 2007; 382 kb)

see also the archive of SPREP Country Reports between 1980-1983 as follows:
Tonga (1980; 606kb)

United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED: Brazil, 1992)
Country Reports : Tonga (1992; 2.83mb)

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, 1992) and the Rio Declaration highlighted the need for sustainable development-socially responsible economic development that protects the resource base and the environment for the benefit of future generations. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which was one of the outcome instruments of the UNCED process, also highlights the need for conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD)
National Reports: 
Tonga 1 (2006; 1.85mb) , Tonga - thematic report on protected areas (2003; 32kb)

Fourth National Reports: 
Tonga (2010; 4.35mb)

see also Country profiles compiled by the Secretariat for the UNCBD.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which was one of the outcome instruments of the UNCED process, highlights the need for conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (Land Degradation) (UNCCD)
Second National Report: Tonga (2002; 116kb)

see also UNCCD Country Profiles:

see also UNCCD Reports clearinghouse mechanism

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is an agreement to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
(i) National Communications and In-depth Reviews
Tonga (2005; 4.03mb)

(ii) Second National Communications
Tonga (2010; 1.2mb)

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC,1992) is concerned with global warming and the consequent rise in sea levels that may result in the flooding of coastal areas, and submerging islands, which could adversely affect coastal communities. The treaty aims at reducing emissions of greenhouse gas in order to combat global warming. Although the treaty as originally framed set no mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual nations and contained no enforcement provisions; it did include provisions for updates (called "protocols") that would set mandatory emission limits. The principal update is the Kyoto Protocol.

Joint National Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management 2010-2015: TONGA - NEW

World Summit on Sustainable Development [Rio+10 - Johannesburg 2002]
Country profiles: Tonga (2002; 334Kb)

National Assessment Reports: 
Tonga (2002; 974kb)

Pacific WSSD Regional Assessment (2002; 91kb) and Pacific Position Paper (2004; 91kb)
see also: Synthesis Report for Asia and the Pacific (2001; 1.22mb)

The WSSD Plan of Implementation calls for the management of the natural resources base in a sustainable and integrated manner. In this regard, to reverse the current trend in natural resource degradation as soon as possible, it is necessary to implement strategies which should include targets adopted at the national and, where appropriate, regional levels to protect ecosystems and to achieve integrated management of land, water and living resources, while strengthening regional, national and local capacities.

The Johannesburg Declaration and the Plan of Implementation arising from the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD, 2002) reconfirmed the commitment of States to advance and strengthen the interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development-economic development, social development and environmental protection-at the local, national, regional and global levels.

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