SUVA, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced on Friday 8 million New Zealand dollars (about 4.96 million U.S. dollars) of climate change funding to Tonga, which is one of the South Pacific island nations facing the threat of climate change.
According to Matangi Tonga Online news website on Friday night, Mahuta, also New Zealand's minister of climate change, made the announcement in Tonga's capital city of Nuku'alofa during her speech to launch New Zealand's international climate finance strategy, which is central to shaping their investments to support the Pacific response to the climate crisis.
The minister said that she shared details with Tonga's Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni earlier about New Zealand's new contribution of 8 million New Zealand dollars to Tonga's Climate Change Fund as part of their scaled-up climate finance commitment to the Pacific.
This will be directed to Tonga's own priorities, in line with the partnership principles of New Zealand's Pacific Resilience approach, she said, adding that this strategy is designed to guide their 1.3 billion New Zealand dollars (about 806 million U.S. dollars) of climate finance investments between 2022 and 2025. At least 50 percent of this commitment will be directed towards the Pacific.
Mahuta said that they anticipate it could include initiatives such as projects to strengthen the resilience of public infrastructure, enhance coastal protections, reduce reliance on fossil fuels for energy and transport, and develop sustainable agriculture and protection for biodiversity.
During her stay in Tonga, she also met with Tongan King Tupou VI and her Tongan counterpart Fekitamoeloa 'Utoikamanu.
The New Zealand foreign minister arrived in Tonga from Niue on Thursday and returned to New Zealand later Friday. ■