Local Government Representatives Of Sri Lanka To Act On Climate Change

A first of its kind, Local Government representatives met members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) today to discuss climate change negotiations. Organised by the Climate Change Secretariat of the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energyin association with Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), theWorkshop on Climate Change Negotiations concluded its first day of discussions on a successful note.

Attending the event was Dr Sunimal Jayathunga, Director, Climate Change Secretariat of the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy and other members of staff who has been a part of or been following international negotiations for the past few years.

“Sri Lanka needs to be more involved in climate change negotiations. Not only do we belong to one of the largest country blocs in the UNFCCC, G77 and China, but in order to meet the adverse impacts of climate change, build resilience and enforce emissions cuts by developed countries and their meeting of targets, we need to strengthen our argument at international forums,” said Dr Jayathunga. He also went on to say that climate change is also an opportunity for developing countries like Sri Lanka to work towards self-sufficiency of energy and food.

The Workshop was organised in association with Climate Action Network South Asia, the regional node of Climate Action Network International.

“The Workshop organised is important as it is a learning experience that can lead towards building capacity and knowledge to deliver. While meeting the adverse impacts or climate change is the responsibility of developing countries the need of the hour is to frame Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs),” said CANSA Director Sanjay Vashist.

The primary objective of the two-day Workshop was to equip local policymakers to better understand climate change negotiations especially with the Post-2015 Agreement being a key topic of discussion among international negotiations.

“This is the first time SriLankan Governments representatives are sitting down with civil society for discussions climate change negotiations. The Sri Lankan delegation that attends negotiations is so small that it becomes difficult to keep track of all sessions. Therefore, we need to qualify ourselves to international standards so we can be fully engaged with the process and further lessen the gap between the veterans and newcomers partaking at international negotiations,” said CANSA Board Member Asoka Abeygunawardana. He is also the Executive Director of Energy Forum Sri Lanka and Research Adviser to Ministry of Technology.

In order to address the cross-sectorial nature of major environmental challenges caused by climate change, and to fulfil the commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol, the Ministry of Environment established a Climate Change Secretariat under its preview that adopts a comprehensive national approach to address climate change challenges, which is also a development issue of Sri Lanka.

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