Tonga Ridge to Reef Project: Integrated Environmental Management of the Fanga'uta Lagoon Catchment

Project Summary

UNDP PO TongaR2RaThe Project team at the Popua Community Mangrove Transplanting Nursery (Photo: Tonga R2R Project Team, Department of Environment, Tonga)

This project seeks to conserve the ecosystem services of the Fanga’uta Lagoon Catchment on Tongatapu Island in the Kingdom of Tonga through an integrated land, water and coastal management approach. This approach protects livelihoods, food production and enhance communities’ climate resilience. The project is part of the Pacific Islands Ridge-to-Reef National Priorities – Integrated Water, Land, Forest and Coastal Management to Preserve Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, Store carbon, Improve Climate Resilience and Sustain Livelihoods that is supported by the Global Environment Facility.

It aims to maintain and enhance the ecosystem goods and services on Tonga’s main lagoon catchment and marine reserve areas through an integrated approach to land, water, forest, biodiversity and coastal resource management. This contributes to poverty reduction, sustainable livelihoods and climate resilience. It also makes a strong link between sustainable development of freshwater catchment and coastal areas and promotes the implementation of a holistic, integrated management of natural resources at the catchment level.

Key Expected Results

To achieve an integrated management and conservation of the lagoon ecosystem services for Fanga’uta Lagoon catchment, the project devises and implements creative ways to address critical gaps which led to setting up an effective governance system and sustainable management of lagoon ecosystems.

The application of an enhanced capacity has been demonstrated (i.e. Fanga’uta Lagoon Catchment Integrated Environmental Management Plan (FLC IEMP), inter-agency governing body, awareness and communication strategy) through the production of a series of FLC awareness and communication materials were produced and disseminated on the project website which has been created and maintained.

Water quality improved through small demonstrations and monitoring mechanisms in place for project related indicators.

Who finances it?

Donors USD
Global Environment Facility 1,756,880
UNDP (in-kind) 500,000
National and Local Governments (in-kind) 650,000
Non-Government Partners and Collaborators (in-kind) 5,500,000

Delivery in 2014 - 2016

  • Enhanced inland and coastal vegetation
  • Fisheries conservation and sustainable fisheries management
  • Creating income generation activities for communities 
  • Water quality control for Fanga’uta Lagoon 
  • Creating an enabling environment for the conservation and management of Fangauta lagoon through a multi-stakeholder management approach
  • Building partnerships with key stakeholders.

Project Background

UNDP PO TongaR2RbChildren of Tonga engaged in mangrove planting under the Tonga R2R Project (Photo: Tonga R2R Project Team, Department of Environment, Tonga)
  • 3.5 years GEF funded project from 2014 to mid- 2018 with an allocated funding of US$1,756,880
  • The project focus on conserving ecosystem services of Fangauta Lagoon through an integrated land, water and coastal management approach to ensure protection of communities’ livelihoods, food production and enhancing their climate resilience.  

Fangauta Lagoon is home to over 55% of Tongatapu’s population (over 40,000 – 80,000 households) because they depend on the ecosystem services provided by the lagoon for their livelihoods and wellbeing. Fangauta Lagoon has been increasingly polluted by agricultural practices and sewage disposal affecting its water quality. It has also lost a significant number of mangroves to land reclamation to cater for urban migration from the outer islands of Tonga.

Main Activities

The project objective is to conserve the ecosystem services of the Fanga’uta Lagoon through an integrated land, water and coastal management approach thereby protecting livelihoods and food production and enhancing climate resilience. This will be achieved through interventions at three interconnected levels:

  1. Appropriate governance of the Fanga’uta Lagoon catchment areas and integrated management of the lagoon ecosystems. 
  2. Implementation of the integrated environmental management plan for the Fanga’uta Lagoon catchment and 
  3. Strengthening knowledge and awareness of the Fanga’uta Lagoon ecosystem functions and associated socio-economic benefits within the national stakeholders and local communities.

Sustainable Development Goal

UNDP PO SDG 13-14-15-

UNDAF Outcome(s)

UNDAF for the Pacific Sub-region 2013-2017 – Outcome Area 1: Environmental management, climate change and disaster risk management

UNDP Strategic Plan Environment and Sustainable Development Primary Corporate Outcome: Legal and regulatory frameworks, policies and institutions enabled to ensure the conservation, sustainable use, and access and benefit sharing of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystems, in line with international conventions and national legislation (Output 2.5)

UNDP Strategic Plan Secondary Corporate Outcome: Frameworks and dialogue processes engaged for effective and transparent engagement of civil society in national development (Output 2.4).

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