Workshop on Identifying Gaps and Needs Related to Addressing Climate-Induced Loss and Damage in Sri Lanka

July 23, 2023

The Ministry of Environment of Sri Lanka in partnership with SLYCAN Trust hosted a workshop on climate-induced L&D at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo on the 10th of July, 2023. This event was aimed at identifying gaps and needs related to addressing climate-induced loss and damage in Sri Lanka while building on existing policy processes and programmes of action focused on climate-induced L&D as well as risk management, finance, and transfer to better contribute to national and global processes on addressing needs related to climate-induced L&D.

Discussing the importance of identifying key gaps and needs in order to better address L&D in Sri Lanka, Dr. Anil Jayasinghe stated the necessity of addressing the issues connected to disaster risk management across the full spectrum rather than addressing standalone concerns, “As a country that is one of the worst affected by climate change, we need to act on climate justice and conduct disaster risk management across the full spectrum rather than focusing only on L&D as a stand alone because then we would be limiting ourselves”. He commented that there was a gestation period involved for the work related to L&D, however we will go ahead with the upcoming 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP28) in November/December 2023 as it presents an important opportunity to engage in this process in line with Sri Lanka's climate policies and the tripartite alliance for Sri Lanka's participation in COP28.

Addressing the gathering, Hon. Minister of Environment Mr. Nazeer Ahamed commented on the importance of key stakeholders working together to achieve favourable outcomes related to climate action: “To effectively mitigate the loss and damage induced by climate change, the research and development aspect is important. In order to achieve long term climate resilience,  it is important for Sri Lanka to engage in multi actor partnerships to guide the way forward. This approach will enable the country to achieve sustainable development.” He stated that this was particularly relevant in connection to global processes and climate negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), such as those related to the Loss and Damage Fund and the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage.

Ms Vositha Wijenayake - Executive Director of SLYCAN Trust - mentioned that L&D has become a key focus of climate discussions in the present day. She stated, “Although many countries have been highlighting the importance of accounting for loss and damage induced by climate change since the climate conventions of 1992, the topic had not been seriously considered until recently.” She remarked on five focus areas related to L&D that had been developed in rollout plans since 2013, namely: slow onset events such as sea level and temperature increases, economic losses such as the destruction of our nature reserves, non-economic losses such as the erosion of our culture and heritage, comprehensive risk management and human mobility.

Director of Climate Change at the Ministry of Environment, Mr Leel Randeni, closed the proceedings by highlighting that this workshop is the first event conducted on L&D under climate action in Sri Lanka, and that mechanisms have been developed during the talks. He highlighted that the key elements of the workshop were the active participation of the key stakeholders gathered by filling out the questionnaires and templates and engaging in dialogue with each other.

SLYCAN Trust is an internationally recognized non-profit think tank working on climate change, sustainable development, ecosystem conservation, animal welfare, and social justice. Our work spans the national, regional, and global level from policy analysis and evidence-based research to on-the-ground implementation. For more information, please contact [email protected]

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SLYCAN Trust is a non-profit think tank. It has been a registered legal entity in the form of a trust since 2016, and a guarantee limited company since 2019. The entities focus on the thematic areas of climate change, adaptation and resilience, sustainable development, environmental conservation and restoration, social justice, and animal welfare. SLYCAN Trust’s activities include legal and policy research, education and awareness creation, capacity building and training, and implementation of ground level action. SLYCAN Trust aims to facilitate and contribute to multi-stakeholder driven, inclusive and participatory actions for a sustainable and resilient future for all.