US Congress-UN Foundation delegation depart Tonga following key meetings

Press Release

Last night, the visiting delegation, made up of members of the United States Congress and the United Nations Foundation (UNF), departed Nuku’alofa, Tonga, following in-depth discussions with representatives from Government and civil society, as well as visits to schools, UN-supported projects, and the Vaiola Hospital.

While in Tonga, delegation met with Hon. Samiu Vaipulu, Acting Prime Minister of Tonga, as well as other Ministers and members of Government – Hon. Tiofilusi Tiueti, Minister for Finance, Hon. Siale Ákauóla, Minister for Health, Mr. ‘Isikeli Oko – CEO for Education and Training Mrs. Kilisitina Tuaimei’api – CEO for Finance, Dr. ‘Ana ‘Akau’ola – Acting CEO, Ministry of Health, Mr. Vatulele Tuputupu – A/CEO, MEIDECC, Miss ‘Olita Tupou – Acting Chief Secretary & Acting Secretary to Cabinet, PMO, Miss Ilaisipa ‘Alipate- Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We are grateful to the Acting Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers for receiving us so warmly today. This meeting provides an important opportunity for the Congressional delegation to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges facing Small Island Developing States like Tonga, and to explore collaborative solutions that the US – through partners such as UN – can bring to help address these pressing issues,” said UN Resident Coordinator to Tonga, Mr Dirk Wagener, who was also part of the delegation.

Tonga faces many developmental challenges, all of which are exacerbated by the climate change emergency, COVID-19 and increasingly frequent and intense disasters.

The interconnectivity of economic, health, development, nutrition, and climate challenges in Tonga, combined with its remoteness, all contribute to its classification as the world’s second most at-risk country in the world in terms of its exposure and susceptibility to natural hazards and the unfolding effects of climate change.

The UN-Tonga Country Implementation Plan (CIP) 2023 – 2025, endorsed by the Government of Tonga in May 2023, defines UN assistance to Tonga to achieve its Strategic Development Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With an annual budget for 2023 of USD$17m, the CIP focuses on four pillars – Planet, People, Prosperity and Peace – to contribute to a Pacific region where all people are equal and free to exercise their fundamental rights, enjoying gender equality and peace, resilient to the existential threats and living in harmony with the blue continent.

In total, there are 23 UN agencies working in Tonga, including non-resident agencies.

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