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Sri Lanka must prepare now to deal with climate change impacts - ADB

19 November 2010 07:18 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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COLOMBO SRI LANKA (18 November) - The Sri Lankan Ministry of Environment with assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday unveiled a draft National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy that should help the South Asian nation meet and overcome the massive challenge of climate change.
Speaking at the workshop in Colombo to discuss the climate change adaptation strategy for Sri Lanka, Dr D S Jayaweera, Director General of the Department of Development Finance, Ministry of Finance and Planning warned that climate change will impact all the major economic development projects currently underway in Sri Lanka.  Greater Colombo and other metropolitan regions now being expanded are "highly sensitive" to rising sea levels, flooding and other symptoms of climate change, he said.
"Sri Lanka's people, particularly its poor, are already struggling with the impact of climate change and it is imperative that Sri Lanka adapts to climate change with the utmost urgency, said Vidhisha Samarasekara, Climate Change Specialist at ADB, who unveiled the strategy at the conference.' ADB looks forward to timely approval of the strategy, and is keen to continue its engagement with Sri Lanka on climate adaptation," she added.
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Sri Lanka must...
The draft strategy, proposes action and investments to help Sri Lanka buffer climate impacts in sectors ranging from agriculture, tourism to housing and health. The strategy, based on discussions with dozens of state agencies, research institutes, non-government organizations, and private companies advocates an integrated approach. It outlines five 'Strategic Thrusts': mainstream climate change concerns into national planning and development; improve climate resilient and healthy human settlements; minimize climate change impacts on food security; improve climate resilience of key economic drivers; and safeguard natural resources and biodiversity from climate change impacts.
When formally adopted by the Government, the strategy is expected to stimulate improved environmental management and better preparedness in all sectors to cope with climate change. Such careful planning and investment could help Sri Lanka turn current threats into future opportunities.
Currently, climate change considerations are not included in development and public investment planning in Sri Lanka. This puts at risk investments of over SLR 4.3 trillion (approximately $ 38.5 billion) that Sri Lanka has lined up for the 2006-2016 period.
The strategy estimates that SLR 47 billion (approximately $ 428 million) of additional funding is needed, over and above current allocations, between 2011 and 2016, to implement its recommendations.
Dr Richard Vokes, Country Director, ADB Sri Lanka Resident Mission, said Sri Lanka can and should access the growing volume of climate related funding that is increasingly available at a global level. "I believe this adaptation strategy forms a basis for the government of Sri Lanka to harness and mobilize a wealth of resources and support from the international community," he said.
Vajira Narampanawa, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, invited everyone in state, corporate and civil society sectors to collaborate in implementing the climate change adaptation strategy in the national interest. "We need to mobilize action on many fronts, and we also need resources from national and international sources," he added.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members - 48 from the region. In 2009, it approved a total of $16.1 billion in financing operations through loans, grants, guarantees, a trade finance facilitation program, equity investments, and technical assistance projects. ADB also mobilized cofinancing amounting to $3.2 billion.

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