Tonga is a Polynesian Pacific Island country with a population of 104,000. The Tongan archipelago comprises 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. Because of its location and small size, Tonga and its population are highly vulnerable to external shocks, including from natural disasters and epidemics, and to climate change and its long-term effects, such as sea-level rise and increasing intensity of tropical storms. Tonga’s vulnerability was clearly demonstrated in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic and Tropical Cyclone Harold severely affected its economy.
Realizing the risk Tonga is facing, the government has prioritized a need for “A more inclusive, sustainable and effective land administration and environment management, with resilience to climate change and risk” under the Tonga Strategic Development Framework 2015-2025 (Ministry of Finance and National Planning 2015).
Building on the existing legal and policy framework for disaster and disaster-related financial risk management, this disaster risk finance strategy (DRFS) brings together various ongoing and planned efforts from different sectors to quantify, reduce, and mitigate disaster-related financial risk. Developed by the Ministry of Finance (MoF), it provides a framework for coordination between key stakeholders when implementing concrete activities with a common objective: to strengthen the financial resilience of the Tongan government, households, and business to disasters.