Commonwealth Foundation Grant
This project aims to establish a structured constructive engagement between Civil Society sector and Government to enhance better implementation of the SAMOA pathway contributing to sustainable development of Tonga. Outcomes are: (i) sustaining a structured constructive engagement policy for CSO and Government; (ii) better understanding of Government commitments to the SAMOA pathway reflecting in the National priorities; (iii) Strengthening CSO capacities to play a monitoring role ensuring implementation of the SAMOA pathway by government through an evidence based monitoring and evaluation framework.
What will this project address?
Civil Society in Tonga has advanced since the launched of the political reform in 2010 where democratic and participatory governance are more recognized as part of democratic political system and such principles is the underlying values of Civil Society advocacy in human right based approach to development. Although CSO capacity was challenged with the new expected roles on evidence based advocacy and policy analysis and dialogue to influence policy development, Government has been selective in engaging with Civil Society Organisations. There have been no clear structured processes in place to ensure that Civil Society are inclusively and genuinely engaged on policy development and dialogue. We have seen changes in the field of development where Government have made commitment to global development priorities that open doors for developed countries to dictate their agendas and expected Small Island States government like Tonga to struggle to implement something that may not be of relevance to its context. The Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the SAMOA pathway to Small Island States has changed the landscape of development in Tonga and the role of Civil Society is crucial and has a new dimension of expectations. It is now called for a new role for Civil Society to be more coordinated as a sector and work collectively with Government in a more structured constructive engagement on agreed common platform, there is a call for a better informed CSO sector with capacity to analyze and contribute to setting national priorities embracing regional and global priorities to make a good link and to provide awareness initiatives to inform our Tongan society. There is a call for a new developmental role for Civil Society in the area of monitoring and evaluating government performance in implementing commitments to development agendas such as the SAMOA pathway.