The Civil Society Forum of Tonga held a meeting with all their members on 30th July in Nukualofa, Tonga. Attending the meeting were representatives of approximately 30 civil society organisations to discuss the way forward for CSFT in light of their Strategic Plan review and mapping exercise that was conducted by UNDP. There were information sessions on the various projects and programmes that CSFT currently carries out with its members and a group work session enabled the members to effectively contribute to the discussion on the way forward.
Some of the recommended strategic actions were Civic Responsibility & inclusive engagement, improved advocacy and policy structures for their civil society forum, capacity and institutional development for CSFT and their members; the call for more evidence and information based communication (action research) and sustainable activities for the forum.
The meeting also allowed CSFT’s members to come forward with concerns and CSFT Executive Director Emeline Siale Ilolahia says, “We are happy to receive these feedbacks or comments as it enables us to make informed decisions for the way forward for civil societies here in Tonga”. She mentions that as Tonga heads into elections in November, it important to gather their viewpoint on how CSOs can effectively be involved – not only at the national level but other issues as well from the region and eventually link with the global civil society voice. She also confirmed that CSFT was at a good position to lead the discussions by incorporating global and regional approaches as it has participated at these levels through its regional association with PIANGO and in the global scene with CPDE – a global Civil Society Partnership for Development Effectiveness that promotes good governance, capacity and institutional development, monitoring and evaluation and evidence based and information based communication.