Population:107.1 thousand (2016)
GDP Growth:3.4 % (2016)

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CO2 Emissions per capita:1.1 metric tons (2014)
Inflation:2.6 % (2016)
Source: World Bank

The Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago consisting of four clusters of 172 islands located between 15° and 23° South Latitude and 173° to 177° West Longitude in the Central South Pacific Ocean. Tonga is situated at the subduction zone of the Indian-Australian and the Pacific tectonic plates and within the Ring of Fire where intense seismic activities occur. Most of the islands in Tonga originate from coral line, and some islands are of volcanic origin. The majority of these islands are comparatively flat except for those raised by tectonic action.

With a combined land/sea area of 720,000 km2 Tonga’s small dispersed population of 103,967 resides on 36 low-lying islands which are encircled by fringing reefs. 71 % of the population resides on the largest island of Tongatapu. Primarily a result of a high adult literacy rate (99 %), a high gross enrolment rate in primary and secondary school (78 %), high life expectancy (71 years), and relatively high GDP per capita ($3,748), Tonga ranks 99 out of 182 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI). Tonga also enjoys a relatively strong position as a lower middle income country, in part due to its high migration and remittance culture - about 50 % of all Tongans live overseas and their remittances represent approximately 45 % of GDP, which according to the World Bank totaled $US310m in 2009.

Coconuts lined up in a leafy basket in Tonga. - Photo: Shutterstock

...the percent of GDP that comes from the agriculture sector

Tonga, like the other fifty-one Small Island Developing States (SID) and the Pacific island countries (PICs), is highly susceptible to the impacts of climate change and multiple disaster risks. Its economy is highly dependent on climate sensitive sectors such agriculture, fisheries and tourism and a limited resource base that is sensitive to external shocks. Tonga’s vulnerability is primarily due to its geographical isolation and geological and socio-economic characteristics, and consequently the multiple effects of climate change pose significant threats to food production and land and marine resources, as well as damage to infrastructure, water resources, and human health. This coupled with its susceptibility to natural hazards and adverse weather events such as tropical cyclones, sea level rise, storm surges, drought, flooding, and volcanic eruptions make it particularly vulnerable to current and future climate change.