Sri Lanka Prepared To Welcome Paris Agreement On Climate Change

The Paris Agreement on climate change came into force on November 4, 2016. Following the decision for the adoption of the Agreement taken at the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Paris last year, Sri Lanka signed the Agreement alongside 170 plus countries in April 2016. Having ratified the Agreement in September, Sri Lanka is among the 94 Parties to the UNFCCC representing 66% of global emissions. As per Article 21 of the Paris Agreement, the Agreement enters into force “on the thirtieth day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession.”

“We are fortunate to have a President who has taken personal interest in the environment. As Minister of Environment, not only has he initiated Sri Lanka NEXT, but has also set out the ‘Blue-Green’ economic pathways available. Sri Lanka is among the many countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement. However, this ratification was made only following a four-day parliamentary debate. Despite the arduous process, we are also pleased to know that there are so many opinions on climate change because of the knowledge and discussion generated around it,” said Speaker of Parliament, Sri Lanka HE Karu Jayasuriya addressing the closing ceremony of the Sri Lanka NEXT Conference and Exhibition held from October 17-19 at the BMICH.

Leading up to COP21 last year, it was suggested that the Agreement would most likely come into force after 2020 or rather, when 55% of emitting countries decided upon ratifying the Agreement. In an unexpected turn of events and rapid action by countries in ratifying the Agreement at the domestic level, the minimum targeted percentage was achieved by October 05. Thus, given the fulfilment of the second criteria, the Agreement comes into force thirty days after, i.e. – November 04.

Alongside the Agreement coming into force are many other key factors that ought to be taken into consideration. These include providing guidance for countries to increase their ambition, especially in context to the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) also submitted in 2016; ensuring transparency and accountability with regard to monitoring, reporting and evaluation mechanisms and tracking climate finance and ability to work co-operatively to achieve mitigation targets, among others.

"The Paris Agreement has created avenues for countries to take ambitious climate actions that are transparent and accountable. Sri Lanka has taken its first steps to implement the Agreement by its ratification in September. The country has prepared its NDCs, the National Adaptation Plan, as well as the Readiness Action Plan for the Implementation of the INDCs. These are positive steps, and I hope that the implementation of these policies, plans and actions will be done in an effective, efficient, and inclusive manner," said SLYCAN Trust Executive Director Vositha Wijenayake.

The 1st Conference of Parties Serving as the Parties to the Paris Agreement will be held from 7th to 18th of November, in Marrakesh, Morocco. COP22 will gather Parties to the Paris Agreement where they will negotiate the way forward in implementing the Paris Agreement at the international, regional and the national level with thousands of participants from countries, and civil society actors.

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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