Ministry of MEIDECC Hosts Workshop on Infrastructure Sharing, Universal Service Obligation, and Smart Island Project, with ITU and UNOPS with support from Joint SDG Fund.

Press Release

 

Friday 17th May 2024

 

Ministry of MEIDECC Hosts Workshop on Infrastructure Sharing, Universal Service Obligation, and Smart Island Project, with ITU and UNOPS with support from Joint SDG Fund.

 

Nuku’alofa, Tonga - May 17th , 2024 - The Ministry of MEIDECC (Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change) successfully conducted a two-day workshop on Infrastructure Sharing, Universal Service Obligation, and the Smart Island Project on May 16-17, 2024. The workshop aimed to address crucial aspects of telecommunications development and connectivity in Tonga.

 

                                           Group Photo of the Smart Island Project Workshop

This workshop was made possible through a study commissioned organized by ITU and UNOPS funded by Joint SDG Fund. The objective of the study was to explore opportunities for infrastructure sharing and the implementation of a Universal Service Obligation (USO) in our beloved country. The findings from this study were presented during the workshop by Mr. Ashish Narayan from ITU, along with UNOPS representatives Mr. Vivek Anand and Mr. Scott Milehane, ITU expert.

 

                   Group Photo of the Infrastructure Sharing and Universal Access workshop

The Smart Island Project is another initiative managed and funded by Joint SDG Fund for a selected unserved community in our nation. This project aims to leverage technology to improve access to essential services such as healthcare, education, and financial services, among others. It is an exciting opportunity for us to learn from global best practices and adapt them to our unique context.

In response to the successful workshop, CEO of the Ministry of MEIDECC, Mr. Sione Akauola stated: “We are thrilled with the outcomes of this workshop which shed light on critical areas such as infrastructure sharing and universal service obligation. The collaboration between international organizations like ITU and UNOPS has been instrumental in driving positive change in our telecommunications sector. We’re at the midst of enabling local operators to extend suitable and affordable connectivity to the islands that are totally unconnected to at least get them connected with their families and relatives away, and then to also provide to key needs and services to make use of it like education, agricultural, tourism, and health basic services”.

Key participants in this workshop included local telecom operators, government ministries and agencies, private sectors, financial institutions, tertiary education providers, and donor partners. Their active engagement ensured a productive exchange of ideas and knowledge that will contribute significantly to the advancement of our ICT sector.

The Ministry of MEIDECC looks forward to implementing the knowledge gained from this workshop to further enhance telecommunications infrastructure in Tonga and ensure that all communities have access to essential services.