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Tonga develops a marine spatial plan
by MEIDECC, Kingdom of Tonga (Government)
In accordance with Cabinet Memorandum Number 716 of 22 July 2015, the Ministries responsible for lands and natural resources, environment, fisheries, ports and shipping, planning and urban management, tourism and international affairs are working in partnership with IUCN, VEPA and the Waitt Institute to develop and implement a marine spatial plan for all of Tongas waters.

The marine spatial plan will be developed with the goal of sustainable, profitable, and enjoyable use of ocean resources, for today and for future generations. It will support improved fisheries and preservation of traditional uses. The Initiative will consider climate change and focus on approaches that achieve climate resilience and climate smart marine management practices.

The marine spatial plan will include the following types of designations: community special management areas, general use management areas, sustainable use management areas, limited use areas, habitat protection areas, no-take marine reserves, and special and unique marine reserves.
Progress reports
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Marine Spatial Planning
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • No take marine protected area
  • Marine protected area with partial protection
  • Multiple use marine protected area
  • Locally or community managed marine areas
  • MPA management and/or enforcement
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
  • Research capacity development
  • Data access and sharing
  • Training and professional development
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Actions that support SIDS and LDCs
Adoption final marine spatial plan
Adoption of a legal framework for the marine spatial plan
Designation of 10% to 30% of Tonga waters as no-take marine reserves
In-kind contribution
government staff
Staff / Technical expertise
Waitt Institute
Basic information
Time-frame: 07/2017 - 06/2021
Ocean 7 (national multi-stakeholder technical group) (government) Governor of Vava'u (government) Waitt Institute (Private sector) Vava'u Environmental Protection Association (VEPA) (NGO) Ocean 5 (Philanthropic organisation)
Ocean Basins
  • South Pacific
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Paula Ma'u, Chief Executive Officer, paulm@mic.gov.to, +676 28170
Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Other SDGs
United Nations