Tonga hosts stress testing and resilient principles scorecard workshop

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure United Nations Satellite Centre
Stress testing critical infrastructure in Tonga

Nuku'alofa, Tonga (November 29, 2023) – The Government of Tonga (MEIDECC), in collaboration with the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), and the United Nations Satellite Center (UNOSAT) of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), successfully hosted a two-day workshop on Critical Infrastructure Stress Testing and Principles for Resilient Infrastructure at the Tanoa Hotel on November 28-29, 2023. The workshop is an essential step in the ongoing Enhancing Resilience of Critical Infrastructure through Strengthened Governance Project (ERCISG).

Guided by the Global Methodology for Infrastructure Resilience Review developed by UNDRR in partnership with CDRI, the ERCISG project was initiated on August 30th, 2023. Strategic for Tonga, it provides a systemic analysis of critical infrastructure in the country and will serve as the basis for long-term plans to improve infrastructure governance that will enhance the security of the critical infrastructure in Tonga and minimize service disruptions during emergencies.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Mafua Vai’utukakau Maka, Director, NDRMO welcomed the participants attending a crucial workshop on enhancing the resilience of Tonga's critical infrastructure. He stressed that the recent HTHH volcanic eruption and the COVID-19 outbreak increased vulnerabilities, underscoring the necessity for a resilient disaster risk management framework. He highlighted that Tonga DRM Act and National Policy provide the foundation, but we must go beyond and scrutinize the ability of our infrastructure to withstand disruptions. The director stressed that sharing data is key, and collaboration among stakeholders is vital. In the end, the director of NDRMO appreciated the support from CDRI, UNDRR, UNITAR-UNOSAT and development partners. 

The workshop brought together participants from key sectors such as Energy, Water, Telecommunications, and Transport, along with representatives from government ministries and private sector experts, ensuring a comprehensive and diverse discussion. 

The primary objectives of the workshop were to identify infrastructure vulnerabilities through a stress-testing analysis and assess current infrastructure resilience based on the Principles for Resilient Infrastructure. This objective was achieved through key interactive sessions around these topics throughout the two-day workshop.

A focus of discussion during the workshop was also the importance of sharing data aiming to enhance the knowledge on exposure and vulnerability of Tonga's critical infrastructure for better decision-making.

The two-day workshop agenda included a presentation on GIS data related to infrastructure exposure, breakout groups exploring the stress-testing tool and generating outcome reports on infrastructure systems, hazards, and economic sectors. A session on Principles for Resilient Infrastructure, including a Principles Scorecard with breakout groups, followed. The workshop concluded with collective presentations of main findings and recommendations, fostering a shared understanding of critical infrastructure resilience. The workshop wrapped up with a comprehensive summary outlining key takeaways and paving the way for future steps in strengthening infrastructure resilience.

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