On Friday, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway began his visit to the Pacific region. His first stop was Tonga where he was warmly welcomed by King Tupou. During the weekend His Royal Highness has highlighted climate change in Tonga.
On Saturday, Crown Prince Haakon and Norway’s Development Minister, Dag-Inge Ulstein, saw the effects of climate change on Tongatapu up close. When the glaciers in the north and south melt, the sea rises far more here than in other parts of the world. The Crown Prince also visited Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minister, Semisi Sika, on Saturday. Common challenges with climate and ocean health were topics in the conversation between the two.
Crown Prince Haakon met some of the worried villagers at ‘Ahau Beach and Kolovai Beach. They told the royal about the sea that slowly rises and penetrates into their gardens. At ‘Ahau, residents have begun planting mangroves to protect the coastline. The mangroves thrive with plenty of water, and their root system helps to bind and stabilize the soil.
Climate change is something the Crown Prince takes very seriously. To Norwegian NTB, the Crown Prince said: “Both the ocean rising, but also the storms that come and destroy the communities, affect people’s lives to a large extent. That makes an impression on me”.
Crown Prince Haakon then visited the village of Houma. Lord Vaea was the host and guide for the Crown Prince. The visit to Houma concluded the Crown Prince`s visit to Tonga. Before his departure, he had dinner with local youth where they discussed climate change. The Crown Prince then continued to the airport where he was wished a safe trip to his next stop, Fiji.
Crown Prince Haakon of Norway will visit the nations of Tonga, Fiji and Samoa. The visit will run from 5 April to 11 April. The purpose of the visit is to strengthen partnerships with small island states in the South Pacific for the promotion of common interests including seas and climate, peace and security. Royal Central will follow the visit closely and bring you the latest news from Crown Prince Haakon’s tour.