Cross Cutting Theme: Small and Vulnerable States

Enhancing the ability of civil society to monitor the implementation of the Tonga Strategic Development Framework


The Tonga Strategic Development Framework 2015-2025 is an overarching framework to ensure Tonga’s development. Civil society plays a key role in its implementation but a more engaged interaction with government is required.


The Civil Society Forum of Tonga (CSFT) is collaborating with government and the private sector to monitor the implementation of the Tonga Strategic Development Framework, ensuring civil society actors are better informed, better coordinated and better able to engage with government in a structured and productive way. With an emphasis on the priority areas of climate change and local governance, the CSFT is mapping alignment between the priorities of civil society and government, and undertaking a comparative analysis to ensure the Tonga Strategic Development Framework aligns with commitments made in international treaties. By building the capacity of CSOs in data collection, research and monitoring and evaluation techniques, CSFT is ensuring civil society can make a credible contribution in helping government to implement the Tonga Strategic Development Framework to its full potential.

By the end of the project, it is expected that institutionalised engagement between civil society and government will have been established to promote improved implementation of the Tonga Strategic Development Framework and the sustainable development of Tonga. CSOs will be better informed on issues of climate change and local governance; better equipped to play a monitoring role alongside government in the implementation of national priorities and better able to access and interact with government processes through the structured engagement framework. There will also be a clear process established for CSOs to provide constructive feedback to improve processes of engagement and policy dialogue.

The Civil Society Forum of Tonga

The Civil Society Forum of Tonga (CSFT), established in 2000, is a national umbrella organisation of CSOs in Tonga. It represents civil society organisations and coordinates their activities in Tonga, playing a key role in building their capacity. It also serves as the National Liaison Unit for the Pacific Island Association of NGOs. The forum enjoys the recognition of government as the main coordination body for CSOs. As a result of this recognition, CSFT is able to represent civil society in political spaces on national committees appointed by government.

Strengthening the role of civil society organisations


Over 1,800 civil society organisations (CSOs) are registered in the Maldives, all of which operate under the Associations Act. This act came into force in 2003, and needs to be updated in line with the 2008 Constitution.


Transparency Maldives are strengthening the role of civil society organisations in governance and policymaking in the Maldives by advocating for the adoption of a revised Associations Act. This project aims to develop a network of CSOs to gather support for, and engage in, advocacy for the revised Associations Act to be tabled for approval in parliament. It will achieve this by building the capacity of CSOs to create networks and coalitions to strengthen their engagement with local government institutions.

It is expected that the project will ultimately contribute to an improved operating environment for CSOs in the Maldives.

Transparency Maldives

Transparency Maldives works to improve governance. It aims to be a constructive force in the Maldives by encouraging discussion on transparency, accountability, and the fight against corruption. It has experience of working in the areas of civic participation, election monitoring and engaging in advocacy with government. Transparency Maldives is a member of the global network of Transparency International with over 90 national chapters.

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