Nuku'alofa, Tonga - The Ministry of Finance and National Planning in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) led a public consultation last Wednesday 25 August, to report Tonga's final status in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The public consultation brought together donor partners, heads of government ministries, non-governmental organizations and members of the communities, to hear and discuss what Tonga has achieved in the MDGs.
The Prime Minister Honourable Samiuela 'Akilisi Pohiva and guest of honour in the opening ceremony delivered the key note address and stated "today you will hear Tonga's status in which I am pleased to see the tremendous work that has been done to reduce the level of poverty among those who are most vulnerable, the good achievement in the educational goals made by the education sector, the good work in reducing and maintaining a very low level of child mortality and improvement in maternal health.”
“I am also pleased to note the work to combat HIV and AIDS, the work to reduce the incidence and prevalence of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, diabetes and cardio vascular diseases, and not forgetting the good work we have done to ensure environmental sustainability.”
“Twenty-two percent of our population live in relative poverty and hardship and it is one of this Government's core duties to prioritize what should be done to alleviate poverty and hardship. There is still more for us to do in the MDGs before Tonga begins its new journey in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next 15 years,” said the Honourable Pohiva.
During the consultations, concerns were raised with the rising population in Tonga and implications in the issues of health, environment, education and poverty. Comments were also made on how to tackle poverty on one hand and high level of NCDs which may be caused by high consumption of food on the other.
The result of this consultation will be incorporated in the final report of Tonga's status in the MDGs which will be tabled into the Cabinet for endorsement in early September. This report will also be shared at the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly starting on 28 September 2015 in New York.
Secretary for Finance and National Planning, Ministry of Finance and National Planning, Nuku'alofa, Tonga.