Group Project International Studies in Planning and Development Workshop: Climate Change in the Kingdom of Tonga

  • Liila Bagby, M.R.P. 2019
    Caroline Dodd, B.S. ES 2019
    Venus Dulani, B.S. URS 2019
    Yordanos Girmay, B.S. IARD 2019
    Skye Hart, B.S. URS 2018, M.R.P. 2020
    Zeyu Hu, B.S. ES 2019
    Yabework Abebe Kifetew, B.S. URS 2019
    Shanee Moodie, B.S. URS 2020
    Hailey Morey, M.R.P. 2020
    Lucas Raley, B.S. URS 2018, M.R.P. 2019
    Natasha Santos, B.S. ILR 2019
    Adam Shehabuddin, B.S. URS 2021
    Sara Trigoboff, M.R.P. 2019
    Saqifa Walli, B.S. ES 2019
    Francis Wang, M.R.P. 2019
    Tianhui Wang, B.S. URS 2020
    Gretchen Worth, M.A. HPP 2020
    Esther Xie, B.S. URS 2020
  • Class

    CRP 5076 International Studies in Planning and Development Workshop: Climate Change in the Pacific Islands: The Kingdom of Tonga
  • Instructor

    Gerard Finin

Understanding the complex challenges of planning for climate change is particularly urgent in island societies facing increasing vulnerabilities and, in many cases, fewer options for addressing the consequences of this existential threat. With new evidence indicating that ocean warming is occurring faster than previously thought, island societies are especially at risk.

Students in this workshop focused on current and future climate change challenges in the Kingdom of Tonga, a largely low lying country in the South Pacific. Collaborating partners included the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the University of the South Pacific's Tonga campus. The Office of the Prime Minister also provided major support and advice.

Drawing on a review of the literature and fieldwork, three student-led teams identified drivers of potential climate change scenarios related to coastal erosion and fresh water supply, as well as the Kingdom's budding tourism industry. In collaboration with urban and regional planners based in the capital of Nuku'alofa, each team developed a detailed narrative seen to be plausible, distinctive, and consequential.

Drawing on first-hand observations and wide-ranging discussions with public servants, parliamentarians, and civil society groups, the Cornell CRP teams prepared professional quality reports addressing possible societal impacts. Each report focused on how the kingdom may consider policies and practices to ameliorate the negative consequences of climate change.

To view the reports, please contact the Department of City and Regional Planning.