The vision of the respective cluster is that the specific needs of individuals and communities affected by or at risk of being affected by humanitarian crises (whether sudden onset or protracted) are met. Coordinated preparedness, response and recovery action at community, national and global levels result in saved lives, improved livelihoods and increased resilience of households and communities.

Overall Mission:

The overall objectives of the cluster is to guarantee:

  • A coherent, timely, safe and dignifying assistance is delivered to the affected population;
  • Emergency assistance to the most vulnerable is leveraged to promote early action & response and resilience, therefore properly integrated with long term resilience building;
  • Emergency and recovery interventions are adequately integrated and complementary with other relevant sectors such as Nutrition, WASH and Health; 
  • Emergency interventions (of the sector) are meant to support and strengthen access, availability, utilisation and stability of the sector.
  • Ensure adequate risk reduction and preparedness system, procedures and measures are in place to effectively plan and respond to the disaster risk and manage the response when there is disaster.


The Cluster Approach was globally adopted in 2005 by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) as a strategy to address gaps in humanitarian response. It is a key component of the 2005 Humanitarian Response review and ongoing reform initiative for improved effectiveness, increased predictability and accountability in international response to humanitarian crises. The Cabinet of Tonga, His Majesty’s Cabinet approved the Cluster system approach to be implemented in Tonga on the 25th February 2015 and for each Cluster to be led by respective government ministries and/or departments.

The Clusters are groups consisting of Government, UN and non-UN, public enterprises, non-government organisations, civil society organisations, faith based organisations, disabled persons organisations in each of the main sectors of humanitarian action, e.g. water, health and logistics.

The purpose of Clusters is to provide a coordination platform and mechanism to key stakeholders involved in disaster-related situations in Tonga.

 A secondary role is to provide humanitarian procedures and standards for the preparedness and facilitate effective and coordinated response.

Additionally Clusters are being encouraged to focus on response and recovery and consider disaster risk reduction interventions during peace time.

Tonga has adapted the Global Cluster systems approach and applied it to the context of Tonga. All clusters are led by Government Ministries and Departments, chaired by the CEO or Director of the respective sectorial Ministry/Departments.

The Inter-cluster Coordination Committee has also been established, and is chaired by the CEO of MEIDECC and represented by all the cluster leads. NEMO facilitates the Inter-cluster coordination and is the secretariat for the cluster system. Decisions made by the Inter-Cluster Coordination Committee will be presented to the National Emergency Management Committee (NEMC) for consideration and submitted to Cabinet for final approval.

The chart below shows the governance structure and decision making processes of Tonga’s response to disasters through the cluster system


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