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TONGA’S firm commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal’s agenda remains steadfast.

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 14/09/2018

The Legislative Assembly of Tonga continues to uphold SDG Goal 7 for affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy as a key catalyst to sustain economic growth.

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Lord Fakafanua made the comments during his address at the 2nd World Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable Development in Indonesia on Wednesday this week.

He said this year’s theme “Partnerships towards sustainable energies for all” has provided an ideal platform for which Parliaments can track progress and future efforts towards achieving the SDG Goal 7. A call for affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Lord Speaker said Tonga has continuously been challenged with its high dependence on fossil fuels. To date, the diesel fuel bill makes up about 10 per cent of GDP and 15 per cent of national imports.

Lord Fakafanua in a press statement says there are high greenhouse gas emissions, high electricity production costs and tariffs and high dependency on imports.  These impacts and has spillover effects on the economy, businesses and the people bear the brunt of the costly power charges and the unreliable power supply.

Tonga remains extremely highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and fossil fuels have done substantial damage to its environment and marine resources.

For that reason, Lord Fakafanua maintained Tonga’s motivation to achieve clean energy is through addressing the impacts of climate change and global warming.

In response the Speaker outlined two national policies Tonga has been able to immediately put into place. One is the Tonga Strategic Development Framework (TSDF) II which is Tonga’s national development plan.

Tonga Energy Road Map (TERM) 2010-2020 is the other national policy. It is a 10 year implementation plan to reduce Tonga’s vulnerability to oil price shocks, climate change, and increase quality access to modern energy in a financially and environmentally sustainable manner.

Lord Fakafanua said TERM recognized energy as a fundamental building block for Tonga’s social and economic development as well as enhancing the livelihood and wellbeing of Tongans.

The energy target set out in TERM aims to achieve 50 per cent usage of renewable energy by 2020. However, he emphasized Tonga is yet near to achieving this target.

Lord Fakafanua said as part of the Parliament’s oversight role, it will ensure that the progress of these energy policy targets is tracked efficiently.

The Lord Speaker also mentioned that Tonga Parliament values its critical role in ensuring the SDG goals and targets are met and to hold governments to account.

Lord Speaker and Tongatapu 3 constituency MP, Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni represent Tonga at the forum in Bali which concludes today.

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