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“Successful Conclusion of the 2024 Annual Planners’ Forum in Tonga: A Significant Step Towards risk and gender informed Development”

3 February 2024

Nuku’alofa, Tonga – February 3, 2024 – The 2024 Annual Planners’ Forum, held from January 31st to February 2nd, 2024, at the Fa’onelua Conference Centre in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, has concluded with great success. Organized by the Prime Minister’s Office with support from the United Nations Development Programme and UN Women, this forum marked a big achievement in bringing together government planners, civil society, donor partners and private sector to discuss the way forward for Tonga.

Under the theme “Progressing Tonga’s Development through Risk and Gender Informed Planning Approaches,” participants engaged in discussions on strengthening supporting system towards more programmatic approaches at the same time scaling up the approaches to improve policy coherence across sectors. The event aimed to share knowledge, encourage networking, deepen understanding of national planning processes, and promote gender equality and social inclusion in development.

Forum Outcomes: Advancing Towards a Shared Vision for a Resilient Tonga

During the three days of the forum, participants engaged in discussions, learned from each other, and took part in exercises that helped them understand how to make Tonga more resilient. There was an important focus on communities and how better linkages can be made with community priorities and the national and sectoral level plans and policies. The forum’s outcomes included:

Improved knowledge among government planners and budget officers on how to plan for a safer Tonga.

Strengthened abilities to include disaster risks in planning, financing, and decision-making.

Better cooperation between the planning team and government departments.

Increased awareness of how planning can make Tonga safer.

The forum covered topics like better planning, including the linkage of planning and budgeting through tools like climate budget tagging, and ways to ensure more equitable development outcomes, reducing disparities in Tonga.

Forum Reflections and Insights

Honorable Acting Prime Minister, Samiu Kuita Vaipulu: “We remain vulnerable to these shocks and risks, which call for urgent concrete actions now rather than later, and build on strengths and resilience of our people and communities to progress forward”.

Ms. Delphine Serumaga, UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Representative: “We congratulate the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga for its efforts to incorporate gender equality into its planning to help remove gender blind language, improve policies and budgets, and increase gender marking/tagging with a hope to apply gender responsive budgeting guided by the WEGET and the “Gender Mainstreaming Handbook” of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga.

Ms. Yemesrach Workie, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP: “UNDP is glad to have helped Tonga in this important effort. We are committed to working together to keep risk-informed disaster management in mind as Tonga plans for the future.”

Looking Ahead

The 2024 Annual Planners’ Forum has forged a resilient path for Tonga’s future, deeply rooted in Risk and Gender Informed Development. As participants return to their roles, armed with new knowledge, strengthened networks and practical actions for the way forward, they are poised to tackle challenges, reduce disaster and climate chnage risks, and foster a fair and resilient society. Tonga’s journey ahead is marked by enhanced resilience, equity, and proactive planning, guided by the principles of RID.

For more information and updates, please visit the official website: https://pmo.gov.to/

Media Contact:

Prime Ministers Office – National Planning Division

Lilika Sailosi

Email: lita.sailosi@gmail.com

UN Women Communication

Jordanna Saleilua Mareko

Email: jordanna.mareko@unwomen.org

Telephone number: (685) 7579119

UNDP Communication

Duarte Branco

Email: duarte.branco@undp.org

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