Infrastructure stakeholders coming together to enhance Tonga's infrastructure resilience
Nuku’alofa, Tonga, 30 August 2023 – The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai Volcanic Eruption and Tsunami coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the fragile state of Tonga’s critical infrastructure networks, which provide essential services (e.g., water and electricity) and connect communities through telecommunications and transport networks.
The events of 2022 demonstrated a cascading effect where the breakdown in one sector can impact the entire system. It is a learning experience for Tonga that emphasizes the necessity of having critical infrastructures that can better tolerate and recover positively from disasters and crises.
In recognition of this, the Government of Tonga through the National Disaster Risk Management Office (NDRMO) with the support of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)/ United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT), is implementing the ‘Enhancing resilience of infrastructure through strengthened governance project’ for Tonga.
To kick off the project, a workshop was organized, bringing together over 20 stakeholders from key critical infrastructure services including telecommunications, energy, water, transport, and others to discuss the importance of infrastructure resilience.
In welcoming the participants, the Deputy Director for NDRMO said “This Project complements the implementation of our new DRM Act and Policy which recognizes the need for resilient critical infrastructure. A major role of this group is to ensure the resilience review is encompassing and reflective of Tonga’s infrastructure issues.”
The meeting marked the commencement of an infrastructure resilience review over the next 15 months aimed at informing recommendations and an actionable Implementation Plan.
A Critical Infrastructure Technical Working Group with key infrastructure experts and stakeholders will support the activities of this project to ensure its successful delivery and impact on the country’s future.