Tonga lies between 15° and 23°S and 173° and 177°W making it susceptible to tropical cyclones. Tongatapu, the island which hosts the capital, Nuku’alofa, is a relatively flat island and much of the north coast, including the urban area of Nuku’alofa, the capital city, is only 1-2 meters above sea level so it is prone to flooding and inundation during storm surges and heavy rain.
The Global Climate Change Alliance Plus – Scaling Up Pacific Adaptation (GCCA+ SUPA) Project is conducting a coastal assessment of northern Tongatapu to inform the project activities in Tonga and also any future proposals for coastal protection by the Government of Tonga.
Flooding and inundation particularly during high tide, storm surges and heavy rain were highlighted as major issues for residents in the targeted constituencies. Community members in Nukunuku Constituency said that some farm lands have been inundated with saltwater which has destroyed crops and drastically affected their livelihoods.
An elderly woman in Vaini Constituency shared that in the past 30-50 years, there used to be a mangrove forest along the shore where she lives and there was hardly any flooding and overtopping. The mangrove forest has since disappeared and now they experience constant flooding.
The EU-funded GCCA+ SUPA Project is working closely with the Department of Climate Change in Tonga to ensure that all project activities align with the Tonga Strategic Development Framework (2015-2025), the Tonga Climate Change Policy and the Joint National Action Plan 2.
The GCCA+ SUPA project is about scaling up climate change adaptation measures in specific sectors supported by knowledge management and capacity building. The 4.5 year project (2019-2023) is funded with € 14.89 million from the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and The University of the South Pacific (USP), in collaboration with the governments and peoples of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu.