Recovery, Renewal, Resilience

Lessons for Resilience

Consider an inclusive participatory approach for climate change adaption strategies
Environmental health

COVID-19 presents an opportunity to address climate change impacts and improve disaster risk management. Tonga is highly exposed to natural hazards and the effects of climate change. In an effort to develop a ‘resilient Tonga’, an inclusive participatory approach has been employed that is based on strong governance and the development of knowledgeable and proactive communities. A broad range of goals, strategies and projects have been identified within Tonga’s ‘Joint National Action Plan 2 on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management’ (CCADRM), including:

  • The introduction of new policies and projects (e.g. National Forest Policy, Land Use Policy, Tonga Ridge to Reef Project) to improve governance for CCADRM
  • Increase information, education and understanding of CCADRM by initiating awareness programmes and the establishment of a climate change data management system
  • Improvement of analysis and assessments of vulnerability to climate change impacts and disaster risks through coastal assessment and protection projects (E.g. Lifuka Island vulnerability assessment and adaptation to sea-level rise community project (p69))
  • Investment in public infrastructure (e.g. schools and community halls) to increase their ‘structural resilience to climate impacts and the construction of evacuation roads to increase community preparedness and resilience to the risks and impacts of disasters’
  • Design and delivery of renewable and energy efficiency projects to increase the technical reliability, economic affordability and environmental reliability of energy. E.g. Outer Island Renewable Energy Project which aims to provide a ‘secure, sustainable and environmentally-sound source of electricity’ to Tonga’s outer islands
  • The establishment of collaborative forums to include non-governmental organisations, charities and community committees to enhance partnerships, cooperation and collaboration between national and local government agencies, civil society, NGOs, the private sector and the public
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Consider how to encourage localised women-led recovery efforts through gender inclusive and responsive services
Community participation

Research has shown that disasters impact men and women differently. While COVID-19 has been shown to disproportionately affect men physically, women are more likely to be adversely impacted by disasters generally, and more likely to be failed by recovery efforts that do not meet their needs. Consider how to develop gender-inclusive disaster recovery that considers impacts of COVID-19:

  • Tackle the drivers of gender inequalities in areas such as access to healthcare and economic recovery e.g. impacts of COVID-19 on low paid precarious work, health risks to care workers
  • Include multi-stakeholder processes that ensure women's rights organisations are included in designing national response and recovery measures - this should also include groups representing vulnerable or marginalised women
  • Assess bid for new funding using an additional criteria of impact on gender responsiveness
  • Increase funding and capacity development for local and national women's groups; including for action against gender-based violence which saw a global increase during the pandemic
  • Strengthen COVID-19/disaster responses to address women's leadership roles, not only their vulnerability to the virus
  • Examine the availability of gender-responsive health services and vital sexual and reproductive health needs at local level
  • Consider communications designed for women, to reach women. Women and girls may be less likely to receive and contribute to accurate COVID-19 information due to patriarchal norms/structures
  • Include the voices and rights of trans women in response and recovery so they are equally involved in determining needs
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