Working Towards Better Climate Change Adaptation Initiatives In Sri Lanka

Adaptation is a crucial aspect in facing adverse effects of climate change faced by Sri Lanka. Southern Voices on Adaptation, Janathakshan (Gte) Ltd, Climate Action Network South Asia and SLYCAN Trust recently organised a consultation focusing on the role of the stakeholders in the implementation of the National Adaptation Plans (NAP), and the utility of Joint Principles on Adaptation (JPA) in the NAP process. The consultation was attended by government representatives and consultants involved in the process, other policymakers, non-government and community service organisations working on environment and climate change and media.

Sri Lanka’s NAP is in the process of being validated and features nine sectors of focus on how Sri Lanka needs to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Being the key document on Sri Lanka’s adaptation to climate change, the NAP also forms the basis on which the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) for the sectors of on adaptation were developed.

“Sri Lanka has covered a reasonable amount of groundwork in terms of establishing national climate change policies. The NAP focuses on nice sectors, including cross cutting issues. It was developed in consultation with multiple stakeholders,” said Dr. Athula Senaratne from the Institute of Policy Studies. He was involved in the process of formulating the NAP which was lead by the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment and the Climate Change Secretariat of Sri Lanka.

The process for developing the NAP in Sri Lanka was a multi-stakeholder driven process. As the consultation was a discussion based on strengthening the existing process and developing a mechanism that would continue to be both multi-stakeholder and transparent, two main objectives were identified as focal points important to the continuation of the process.

These included the Government of Sri Lanka creating formal processes for citizens on most appropriate local adaptation plans, options and priorities through a participatory process in the development and implementation of the NAP by September 2017; the Government in collaboration with community service organisation to set up a transparent process for full and free access to information on finances.

“We also need to include and extend partnership and collaboration efforts to those in the private sector as they become important stakeholders when we take into consideration funding options. Moreover, necessary data must be made available to policymakers and civil society organisations. This becomes crucial when decisions on adaptation are taken,” said Navam Niles from Janathakshan (Gte) Ltd. The discussion further focused on the options that the Right to Information Bill provides to help ensure that  climate actions are transparent and accountable.

“Adaptation is vital in addressing climate change impacts. Sri Lanka has developed its NAP to address these concerns, and the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or in others words INDCs are also aimed at ensuring that adaptation happens effectively in the country. While appreciating that the NAP formulation was a transparent process, we also hope for a transparent and accountable implementation process for the NAP in Sri Lanka,” said Vositha Wijenayake, Regional Facilitator for Asia for Southern Voices on Adaptation, and Director of SLYCAN Trust.

SLYCAN Trust is driven by the vision of collective local and global efforts to address impacts of climate change, animal welfare, social and gender empowerment and agriculture.

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