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  • The Act of Constitution of Tonga1, 1875

The Constitution of Tonga does not provide for environmental protection or natural resources or sustainable development.

The Environment Management Act, 2010, establishes the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in Tonga, in order to ensure the protection and proper management of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development. Its objectives are to:

(a) "co-ordinate the role of Government in relation to all environmental management, including climate change issues, and decision-making processes;
(b) Promote meaningful public involvement in relation to issues of environment management, including climate change;
(c) Ensure the observance within the Kingdom of its international obligations relating to the protection of the environment;
(d) Promote the concept of sustainable development in relation to the environment and natural resources of the Kingdom;
(e) Facilitate an assessment of the impacts on the environment of any activity likely to affect it, prior to a proposed activity taking place;
(f) Promote the understanding, management, conservation and protection of the biological diversity of the Kingdom; and
(g) Facilitate implementation of measures to increase the resilience of the Kingdom and its environment to climate change."

Reports on environmental policies and sustainability in Tonga can be found on the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme's website, as the 2009 National Strategic Planning Framework. Tonga also published in 2003 the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, to provide for the application of environmental impact assessment to the planning of development in Tonga. More information on environmental protection in Tonga can be accessed on the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change's website. Other laws on environmental protection in Tonga are available on the FAO Legal Office's website.

1. The Constitution of Tonga with the 1988 revision is available at http://legislation.to/Tonga/DATA/PRIN/1988-002/ActofConstitutionofTonga.pdf