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Priority groups for disaster and climate risk financing

Women, vulnerable groups priority for disaster and climate risk financing

Thursday 2 April 2015 (Tonga) – Women, people with disabilities, the elderly, children, and other vulnerable groups will be priority considerations in Tonga’s future climate and disaster risk actions.

This is a central recommendation in the Climate Financing and Risk Governance Assessment (CFRGA) draft report presented to Government partners last week.

The CFRGA is a first for the Kingdom of Tonga, bringing together a range of existing processes into one coherent approach. This includes the Climate Public Expenditure and Institutional Review, under the Pacific Climate Finance Assessment Framework, and the Risk Governance Assessment.

This will be one of the first times the Pacific region has seen gender and social inclusion be a major feature of these processes.

The final report, due in June for Government endorsement, examines the extent to which Government can manage climate change and disaster-related risks, in terms of its capacities, strengths and weaknesses at all levels – national, provincial and local.

The CFRGA also seeks to reduce discrimination and inequality, with some recommendations requiring gender and social inclusion considerations for climate change and disaster risk management policies, projects and planning processes.

Polotu Fakafanua-Paunga, National Gender and Social Inclusion Specialist for the CFRGA said it is important partners work together to protect different genders and social groups because they are affected differently by climate change and disasters.

“Unfortunately, often women are disproportionally impacted (by disaster), for example, 70 percent of the people who died in Tonga and Samoa from the 2009 Tsunami were female, according to the Tonga National Assessment Report for the 2014 SIDS Conference,” Ms Fakafanua-Paunga said.

“To effectively address climate and disaster risks and achieve resilience, Tongan women, men, children, people with disabilities, the elderly and other vulnerable groups must be an integral part of the solution, and this includes our approach to climate financing.”

The CFRGA aims to ensure the perspectives, priorities and experiences of all people are adequately reflected in policy development, project design, and budgets. This will include involving these groups in initial consultations, according to Ms Fakafanua-Paunga, who has also worked with the Women's Affairs Division in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

“All of us - women, men, girls and boys - have different roles in families and communities, and so as a consequence we have different priorities and perspectives on climate change and disaster risk reduction approaches.”

“We are each exposed to different types and levels of risk, and so we need different types of humanitarian and development assistance,” she said.

Tonga’s Ministry of Finance and National Planning, the lead-agency for the process, invited assistance from the Pacific Risk Resilience Programme (implemented by the United Nations Development Programme or UNDP) to coordinate the process, in partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and other partners.

The CFRGA will enable Tonga’s Ministry of Finance and National Planning to identify and strengthen its ability to better manage climate change and disaster risks. It also aims to help improve the Government’s access to climate change and disaster funds.

Two national consultations have been hosted. Participants at the second session last week discussed the initial draft of the CFRGA report with the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, Ministry of Internal Affairs and other ministries, along with international and local partners.

PRRP works with Pacific Island nations and their people to think about the risks they may face from climate change and disasters when they are making their usual plans for development. Communities can become more resilient to climate change and disasters if routine government, community and other planning takes these risks into account. This risk governance approach is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and international non-governmental organization Live and Learn Environmental Education (LLEE) and supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). PRRP is being delivered in four countries: Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.


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