Consultations at ‘Eua and Vava’u Communities regarding the Citizen Budget Guide, Deep Sea Mining, and more

Two consultation workshops for the communities of ʻEua on the Citizen Budget Guidelines, Deep Sea Mining and Green Climate Fund were held on the 20th & 21st of March 2024 by CSFT staff.
Some of the concerns raised by the communities of ‘Eua were:
– Increasing cost of living especially power and taxes on SMEs
– why is there not a ban in place on deep sea mining when the communities disagreed, said no when they were consulted
– Why whale operating is not left to locals but foreigners are overtaking the tourism industry
– Local livelihoods are not protected. Locals must compete with more situated foreigners moving in etc. (such as vanilla, kava and whales)

Consultations were also held in Vavaʻu at Vahenga Hihifo, Vahenga Hahake, Vahenga Neiafu, Vahenga Pangaimotu, Vahenga Motu and Vahenga Leimatuʻa on the same topics. Further consultations will be held in Haapai this week and Tongatapu over this month.

Vahenga Hihifo, Vavaʻu would like to prioritize the following:
– ensure public facilities are accessible for disabled people, in addition, to ensure education opportunities are inclusive
– request technical assistance to procure tools and equipment for maintaining community public areas (eg. weed eater, machete etc.)

– establishing proper and adequate road drainage systems, as well as improved access roads to their plantations. Majority of them depend on their plantations for their livelihoods and home consumptions
– housing for women handicrafts

Communities from Vahenga Hahake, Vava’u were concerned with the following:
– to ban deep sea mining within our ocean space
– if there could be a Citizen Audit Guide published for their information
– health and sanitation for the primary school

Vahenga Neiafu, Vava’u communities were also concerned about deep sea mining.
One of their requests were:
– technical assistance to procure cooking equipments for women to help with their livelihoods, and a business plan.

Requests from Vahenga Motu, Vava’u communities were:
– evacuation centre
– improved wharf on each island
– technology and connectivity. If we are to move to e-government, connections has to be scaled up and there is a need to build the communities capacity

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