Tonga's Minister for Foreign Affairs addresses CID Conference

Posted on 01 November 2022

The CID Conference 2022, Global strategies vs local realities, opened with a keynote speech from Tonga’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu.

Responding the conference theme, Fekita said:

“You touch on a timely theme, wherever we look, individuals, communities, civil society, oftentimes on the one hand feel disconnected from global strategies, and other hand, rally to make their voices heard, nationally, regionally, and globally. We must pay serious attention to their sense of being left out and being left behind... How do we make global strategies locally relevant?”


The Minister went on to share key national issues impacting on the lives of people in Tonga, to demonstrate the interlinkages between the global, regional, national, and local:

“Prior to the pandemic nearly 1 in 3 Tongan’s lived in a state of economic hardship with about 3% of the population living below the absolute poverty line. The impact of the Covid pandemic, the volcano eruption and tsunami, the ripple effects of the Ukraine war, make it a safe bet that these indicators have deteriorated. “

“Internet connectivity is a lifeline for Tonga upon which our economy and society are increasingly dependent on for in-country exchange, and of course regionally and globally… the security and protection of such connectivity is therefore vital for Tonga’s Sustainable Development.”

“The ocean is not just our fundamental identity, but serves as the foundation for our economy. The ocean supports sectors from tourism to fisheries, to ocean transport, and international shipping. Our traditional and current interests in the ocean, place the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean and its natural resources at the forefront of our interests.”

Talking specifically about the challenges for ‘Small Island Developing States’ she said:

“Our reality remains that we continue to have limited access to means and capacity to respond to and manage the risks of ever accelerating climate change and disasters… The recent volcanic eruption and tsunami are potent reminders that we must invest urgently in more disaster risk preparedness. Disaster risk preparedness is everybody’s business, as it effects everyone… All of this can only be sustainable if we listen to and fully involve local communities in these efforts.”

The Minister spoke about the Blue Pacific 2050 strategy and the shared vision for the Pacific. She highlighted the importance of inclusive partnerships, and how New Zealand is an important partner and provides critical support for Tonga to achieve its goals.


tonga conference Foreign Affairs Pacific 2050 global strategies local realities Localisation localization