PRESS RELEASE (01/06/2023)

Climate change induced relocation is the imperative for Pacific land law reviews: CSFT
Climate change and disaster induced relocation must compel the Tonga government to review national legislations on land, says the Civil Society Forum of Tonga.
Speaking after the Relocation Public Dialogue held at the LDS Chapel, Vaha’akolo Rd, Kolomotu’a yesterday, Civil Society Forum of Tonga chairman, Drew Havea said this was key to ensuring safe and dignified relocation of impacted communities at national levels.
“CSFT acknowledges the insights of the Honorable Minister for Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Rev. Lord Tu’i’afitu when he assured participants of the guaranteed access to land as outlined in the Tongan Constitution,” Havea said.
“Our discussions pointed to the need for further clarity for displaced communities through a mapping of possible sites for relocations of those who are affected now and, in the future,” Havea said.
Havea said the dialogue which was attended by approximately 50+ representatives from affected communities, non-governmental organization, disability organizations, faith-based organizations, United Nations and government departments, provided an opportunity for the voices of communities affected to be heard in solution finding processes.
“It’s not only about giving space for affected communities to input into the planning and implementation their relocation but ensuring that there are mechanisms for their feedback,” he said.
“For instance, community representatives raised questions on how the data from the vulnerability assessments conducted have been processed.”
He said there was also confusion as to which communities had even undergone vulnerability assessments at all.
While opening the event yesterday, Lands Minister, Lord Tu’i’afitu acknowledged the efforts of civil society for initiating the Relocation Public Dialogue as a way forward for seeking sustainable relocation solutions.
The event which was a collaboration between CFST and the Pacific Islands Association of NGO PIANGO Pacific 2030 was organized under the Facility Aiding Locally-Led Engagement (FALE) Tonga Program.
FALE Tonga is one of five FALE country mechanisms spearheaded by PIANGO National Liaisons Unit in Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Samoa.

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