IUCN welcomes Tonga as new State Member
24 August 2010 | News story
The Government of the Kingdom of Tonga has officially announced its decision to join IUCN by endorsing the Union’s Statutes, becoming the 84th State Member of the world’s largest and oldest environmental network. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has been designated by the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga as its liaison with the IUCN Secretariat.
IUCN extends its warmest welcome to Tonga, widely known as the “friendly islands” and the last remaining Polynesian monarchy. An archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, Tonga comprises a scattered distribution of 169 islands with a total land area of 747 square kilometres. Endowed with tropical beaches, native rainforests and active volcanoes, the Kingdom hosts a wealth of unique species of plants and animals. Owning an Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 nautical miles, the greatest variety of fauna for the island Kingdom lies in its marine environment - with a wide variety of fish and crustaceans. Tongans are undoubtedly intimately connected to nature and have over the years certainly placed their stand in the region in the fight against climate change. The diversity of Tonga’s natural resources, its history, its cultural diversity, and its commitments to a sustainable, healthy environment, make us proud to welcome this island Kingdom as a new State Member of our Union.
Sione Faka’osi, Director of IUCN Member, the Tonga Community Development Trust, added “It is wonderful to know that Tonga has become a State member of IUCN. Tonga Trust is looking forward to continuing to work closely with the government and hopes that being Members of IUCN will renew our collective strength in addressing global issues that affect people and nature in our region.”
The Kingdom of Tonga a signatory to key environmental conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Kingdom of Tonga joins Fiji, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Australia and New Zealand as State Members of IUCN from Oceania.
“I look forward to working with stakeholders in Tonga on issues at a national, regional and international level,” says Taholo Kami, Director for IUCN’s Oceania Regional Office. “Climate Change has raised the stakes for our Pacific Island countries - IUCN continues to work with our members and regional partners to ensure the environment continues to provide a platform for sustainable futures for our Pacific people.”