Tonga Annual Programme Review 2022

September 5, 2022

Honorable Fekita-moe-loa Utoi-Kamanu, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Tourism 

Esteemed senior representatives from government  


Malo Lelei  and a very good afternoon - I am delighted to welcome you all to the second Annual Programme Review (APR) between UNDP and Tonga.  This strategic interface, designed as a platform for productive high-level discussions, is a significant milestone in our partnership. This is also an opportunity to recognize the resiliency of the Kingdom of Tonga and its people in recovering from the drastic impacts of the recent world recorded Volcanic eruption.  

We are also grateful to learn of the Tongan Government leadership and effective engagement in the progress made on enhancing the implementation of the Tonga Government’s National Development Contribution (NDC) through the Climate Promise Offer. The establishment of its Gender and Social Inclusion Strategy to address gender-based violence as a development issue in Tonga signifies the country’s commitment in advancing Gender equality in its development work. Our commitment and strength in both our relation and partnership in supporting the governments of Tonga accelerate its achievement of the 2030 Agenda. 

I am grateful for the high-level representation from the Government and I’m confident that with the key decision makers present here today, we will have a strategic dialogue.  

I trust that you will find this dialogue to be an opportunity to take stock of our joint programme, to further strengthen our partnership, and to share information on the Kingdom of Tonga’s emerging priorities and challenges to best inform our next five years strategic programme intervention.

Purpose of the Annual Programme Review

The reason we are here is clear – we would like to present the areas of collaboration and 2021 key results highlights and 2022 priorities. 

We would like to use this opportunity to also introduce the strategic development interventions in the coming five years under the new Multi Country Programme Document (MCPD). This is in alignment with the UN Common Framework draft on Planet, Peace and Prosperity.   

Support for Regional and International Commitments 

I would like to assure you of UNDP’s support towards all of Tonga’s regional and international commitments, including the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, adopted in 2015, aligns financing flows and policies with economic, social, and environmental priorities and provides us with a strong foundation for progress.  

UNDP also intends to support Tonga address the Samoa Pathway priorities, including sustainable energy, disaster risk reduction, and climate change. While those action areas feature in UNDP’s country and regional programmes, we are interested in your level of satisfaction with the assistance provided so far.  

Willingness to adapt and upscale cooperation  

I look forward to the discussions this morning, which I hope will reveal how we can improve our joint programme. The dialogue may result in a sharpening of our focus on certain vulnerabilities, or it may affirm that our programme is well-suited to Tonga’s current and next 5 years development context.  

We are open to your feedback and assure you it will be used to provide you with better development assistance. We warmly welcome all your insights and suggestions.  

However, we can access global and regional offers, including the UNDP Climate Promise and the Pacific SIDS Offer, to ramp up assistance in the areas of climate action, gender, digitalization, and the green/blue economy. UNDP is also able to coordinate with other donors if you identify needs in areas outside of our remit.  

To conclude, I assure you that Tonga has UNDP’s strong support. We hope that our partnership will be strengthened by this dialogue and confirm our commitment to delivering sustainable results for the benefit of all the people of Tonga, particularly vulnerable groups.  

Thank you for your time today, your cooperation with all UNDP staff working to support Tonga, and for your commitment to strengthening our partnership.

Vinaka Vakalevu