Since the economy and the environment are linked, a long-term plan will be presented to prevent the increasing climate changes, said Mr. Ruwan Wijewardene, Senior Adviser to the President on Climate Change.
Mr. Wijewardene stated this while addressing the opening session of the “Climate Finance” conference held recently in Bangkok, Thailand.
This conference was held with the participation of members of many international governmental and non-governmental organizations related to climate change and economy.
Mr. Wijewardene noted that everyone should come together in the process of overcoming weather and climate change. Sri Lanka has already started several programs to reduce environmental and air pollution, he said.
Mr. Ruwan Wijewardene further commented that Sri Lanka is currently going through a very difficult economic situation, which is one of the biggest economic crises since independence. Socio-economically, this situation needs to be reformed immediately.
Sri Lanka is an island therefore; it is highly vulnerable to weather and climate change. This situation has been getting worse over time. We are facing water-based disasters in particular.
According to the latest reports released in 2018 in the Global Climate Risk Index, Sri Lanka is among the ten countries that are mostly vulnerable to weather and climate risks in the world.
At a time when there is such a crisis situation in the country, it becomes difficult to manage climate change issues. In particular, the need to depend on local resources is necessary to secure our future.
For example, this situation is very important in the agriculture sector such as the fishing and tourism industry. In this situation, due to the various difficulties caused by the weather, there is a chance that the economy will slide backwards due to the damage caused to the lives of the people.
Referring to Sri Lanka’s contribution in the field of greenhouse gas emissions,
Mr. Wijewardene said that Sri Lanka has implemented a special program to reduce air emissions last year. By the year 2030, Sri Lanka is expected to obtain about 70% of its energy needs from renewable energy sources.
Also, it has been decided to completely stop coal-power plants by the year 2050. This is a very responsible situation. This requires a very strong coordination program and a lot of financial assistance.
Also, under the United Nations Development Program, we are preparing a carbon neutralization program and a strategic plan for it. It is through that that we hope to implement a sustainable program regarding our environment.
The energy production sector has a major role to play in this carbon neutralization program. Also, we hope to implement a policy for national climate change under the United Nations Development Program. We firmly believe that every decision related to weather and climate should be based on principles. However, we still have a big role to play, he noted.
This is where the concept of climate finance becomes important. Money is needed for everything. Therefore, what has become more important at this moment is the implementation of the policy of climate finance. We have already started working together with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on this matter.
Currently, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka is working towards a sustainable national financial program, which is supported by “BIOFIN”.
Moreover, when discussing climate change, attention should be focused on maintaining a low carbon percentage, implementing a national risk notification program, and getting funding for these issues, he stated.
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