Tonga Launches First Community Development Plans

80% of public was involved in developing 136 separate plans

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Oct. 13, 2016) – The Ministry of Internal Affairs launched colourful printed copies of Tonga’s first Community Development Plans at the Queen Salote Memorial Hall, Nuku’alofa on Tuesday, 4 October.

The highlight of the event was the presentation by District Officers and Town Officers of 136 Community Development Plans to the Prime Minister, Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva.

According to the Local Government Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, work on Community Development Plans began in 2007, guided by the National Vision “a Progressive Tonga Supporting Higher Life for All.”  

Ms ‘Ana  Bing Fonua, the CEO for the Ministry of Internal Affairs said that the drafting of the plan took longer than expected because of the requirement that 80% of the community must be present to certify whatever is written into the plan. A number of meetings had to be deferred because they did not have enough attendants.

The work was financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD and the Tonga Government with about $11million pa'anga, and implemented by the Mainstreaming of Rural Development Innovation MORDI Trust Tonga.

The preparation of the CDP was carried out by MORDI Tonga Trust over five years, from 2012-17.

Two key outputs of the project was the formulation of the Community Development Plans and the operational community economic infrastructure.

According to the Local Government Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, “Due to the success of the project” the government of Tonga and IFAD had formulated Phase Two of the project to run from 2018 to 2022.

Local bodies

The concept of Local Government came into Tonga’s political arena, when Tonga's democratic political reform was introduced in 2010 with the introduction of a Nuku’alofa Royal Town Council and a Neiafu Royal Town Council.

However, a bill for the establishment of the Nuku’alofa Royal Town Council was rejected by parliament in 2011, while a bill for the Neiafu Royal Town Council is still floating around somewhere.

According to a government Press Statement, the Department for Local Government was transferred from the Prime Minister’s Office to the Ministry of Training, Employment, Youth, and Sports, and then to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

A spokesperson from the Local Government Division of the Ministry for Internal Affairs, it will move again. The Local Government Division is now scheduled to be back under the Prime Minister’s Office, so action on the Community Development Plans must wait for a decision on which ministry the Local Government Division will eventually come under.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
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