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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Research helps Tonga identify areas for improvement in governance

Tonga is one of four Pacific island countries chosen by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London for a study of small island states that looks at governance and levels of vulnerability and resilience to external shocks. Visiting Nuku’alofa this week a team of three researchers were building up a profile of Tonga’s strengths and weaknesses in its ability to govern itself and respond to challenges of many kinds. The information was gathered through consultation and surveys presented at a Resilience Profiling Workshop for different sectors held at the Fa’onelua Convention Centre on January 25, presented by Dr Denny Lewis-Bynoe, the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Adviser and Head of Climate Finance and Small States Economic Policy, with Mr Wonderful Hope Khonje, Economic Officer, and Mr Jean Paul Fabri, a consultant. “Our researchers engage with representatives from the Private Sector and civil society organisations to explore and identify challenges, and areas for improvement in the broader areas of social, economic and environmental governance,” stated Dr Lewis-Bynoe. “We are using this information in seeking to help small island states be better able to position themselves to respond to events over which they have no control,” she said. “We know that vulnerable countries have a limited ability to respond and we recognise those vulnerabilities in human capacity, finance and other areas.” Participants in the workshop were asked to share their persepctives and experiences of the role of the state in the resilience of the country, and to comment on the dominant policy challenges over past years. They assessed different perceptions around the challenges Tonga is facing in the areas of integrity, corruption, urban growth, transnational crime, national disaster management, environment, economic management, unemployment, health care, education, social inclusion, climate change and other areas. “A toolkit on building resilience will come out of this exercise,” she said. The information will be used to recommend policy options and technical assistance that will “facilitate informed and tailored responses to the challenges encountered in your country… and ascertaining the requirements for building resilience in Tonga,” the workshop brief stated.

Source: Matangi Tonga Online