eCoast Marine Consulting and Research, in partnership with Suva-based planning consultancy Planit Pacific, are looking ahead and adapting to COVID-19 conditions for a project based in Tongatapu, Tonga. The project, led by eCoast Director Shaw Mead, centres around producing a conceptual design and feasibility study for coastal protection options providing climate change resilience on the northern coast of Tongatapu. The project commenced in early August and is scheduled for completion in March 2021.

This project is the next phase of the GCCA:SPIS (Small Pacific Island States), an award winning project funded by the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) and administered by the Secretariat of Pacific Communities (SPC), in which eCoast was involved. That project was the proud recipient of the 2019 Energy Globe Award, recognised for its outstanding work and contribution towards advancing peer to peer learning in climate change adaptation among Pacific communities. In this next phase, deemed GCCA: SUPA (Scaling Up Pacific Adaptation), the Government of Tonga has selected coastal protection as the focus, with the entire northern coastline of Tongatapu and the Fanga’uta Lagoon being the study site.

The project will include an overall conceptual design and costing for recommended large and small scale measures and approaches for coastal protection for the 2030 and 2050 planning horizons for the northern coast and lagoon, with a particular focus for up to 10 community-based coastal protection measures for the northwest coast from Ha’atafu to Sofu.

As part of the original project plan, eCoast and Planit Pacific were to travel to Tonga to undertake an inception meeting with the Kingdom of Tonga Government’s Ministries and NGO’s, as well as 5 community meetings. However, with international travel restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the project is being conducted remotely. Thanks to existing relationships with Government counterparts and regular virtual meetings, the project is on schedule and progressing well.

GCCA+SUPA inception meeting held on 20th September 2020GCCA+SUPA inception meeting held on 20th September 2020