Gender and Environment Survey 2022 Report Launch

Thursday, 9 May 2024

Nuku’alofa, Tonga – The Honourable Minister of Internal Affairs, Lord Vaea, inaugurated the Gender and Environment Survey 2022 Report for Tonga, marking a significant moment in Tonga’s journey towards gender equality and environmental sustainability. Also in attendance were Honorable Dr. Viliami Latu, Minister of Trade and Economic Development and Acting Minister for Finance and Statistics, Delphine Serumaga, Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and Kelepi Baba, Second Secretary of the Australian High Commission, alongside Chief Executive Officers and representatives from Government Ministries, Development Partners, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Civil Societies.

The Gender and Environment Survey (GES) 2022 was conducted by the Tonga Statistics Department with support from UN Women and generously funded by the Australian Government. It is a pioneering national household survey exploring the multidimensional relationship between women, men, and the environment in the Kingdom of Tonga and the Pacific Region.

Over 2,000 households and 4,000 individuals were surveyed throughout Tonga, including Tongatapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai, ‘Eua, and the Ongo Niua. Data collection took place from 31 October 2022 to 9 January 2023, with a response rate of 94.6%. Read more about the report here.

Addressing the audience, Minister Lord Vaea underscored the imperative nature of the report, describing it as a call to action. GES urges us to confront the gendered vulnerabilities exposed by environmental crises and ensure that both women and men possess the resources and knowledge to prepare for and respond to disasters. This entails investing in early warning systems, bolstering infrastructure, and championing sustainable practices. Moreover, it necessitates recognizing and amplifying the voices of women and men in environmental decision-making processes.

Delphine Serumaga, representing UN Women, commended Tonga’s proactive stance in tackling gender disparities and environmental issues. She emphasized the significance of the report, noting that, for the first time, UN Women, alongside the Statistics Department, has quantified longstanding suspicions regarding differential experiences of disasters and climate change, unequal contributions to environmental conservation and degradation, and divergent roles in environmental decision-making among women, men, girls, and boys. “From the food we eat, the jobs we hold, or the animals we raise, our (both men and women’s) behaviours are different, and so are our barriers and opportunities for mitigating, adapting and thriving in the context of climate change.”

The Government Statistician, Mr. Sione Lolohea, and the Tonga Statistics Department extend gratitude to the Government of Tonga, UN Women, and the Australian Government for their invaluable support and contributions to making this event and the GES Report a resounding success. The Statistics Department also acknowledges the vital contributions of all relevant stakeholders, both governmental and non-governmental organizations, private sectors, and civil societies. Special thanks and heartfelt appreciation go out to the people of Tonga for their active engagement during the survey, with anticipation of continued cooperation in the future.