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Nukualofa/Suva, 17 March 2015 - Members of Parliament in Tonga have affirmed the island kingdom's commitment to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action with the establishment of a Select Committee for Population and Development and selection of its eight members.

Submitted by the Minister of Health Hon. Dr. Saia Piukala, the motion to establish the committee is with consideration for an eventual upgrade to standing committee.

The objective of the committee includes oversight and implementation of the country's responsibilities to the International Conference for Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action.

The submission included a draft Terms of Reference, a core part of which is the positive utilization of the parliamentary processes to shape population and development-related national policy, through informed debate and information sharing, including information on sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS & STIs, youth development, gender equity and sustainable use of natural resources.

Members appointed by the House of Representatives for the new select committee include;

  1. Lord Speaker of the House - Lord Tuivakano; 
  2. Deputy Speaker - Lord Tui'afitu; 
  3. Hon. Minister of Health - Dr. Saia Piukala; 
  4. Hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning - Dr. ‘Aisake Eke; 
  5. Noble Representative 2 for Vava'u - Lord Tu'ilakepa; 
  6. Noble Representative for the Niuas - Lord Fusitu'a;
  7. People's Representative for Tongatapu 2 - Semisi Sika; and 
  8. People's Representative for Tongatapu 9 - Penisimani Fifita.

The new committee is expected to meet soon to elect its chairman and schedule their induction program with key stakeholders, including the UNFPA which has been providing technical supports towards population and development programs across all levels in Tonga.

The Select Committee for Population and Development was the first such committee appointed by the House of Representatives in this new term.

For more information please contact Ms. ‘Elisi Tupou, & 7714-918