SLYCAN Trust, in collaboration with the Media Centre for National Development (MCND) of the Ministry of Mass Media, successfully concluded a national dialogue on climate and disaster risk management in Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector on the 22nd of March, 2020. The event saw participation of public sector stakeholders as well as the private sector, academia, and civil society, representing a multitude of disciplines.
Sri Lanka, being amongst the most vulnerable countries to climate change is exposed to more intense climate impacts over the coming decades. The agriculture sector in particular is already experiencing adverse impacts of the changing climate which is expected to get more intensified and frequent. The event aimed at bringing key stakeholders into one platform to discuss challenges, opportunities, and potential synergies to work on enhancing climate and disaster risk management to build resilience in the agriculture sector. The dialogue provided participants with a better understanding of the potential of risk transfer mechanisms, existing processes, gaps and needs in the country.
Attending the event, the Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage stressed on the need for a national policy on addressing climate-induced loss and damage in the agriculture sector. He added, ‘Annually we allocate close to LKR 40 billion as compensation for climate induced losses and damages in the agriculture sector. However, in certain cases, some farmers may not receive adequate benefit. It is necessary to calculate actual damages and losses to their cultivation in the mitigation process. This requires a more structured system and engagement of different actors. Hence, initiating this dialogue is timely and welcome.’
Mr. Milinda Rajapaksha, Director of the MCND of the Ministry of Mass Media, Sri Lanka stated, ‘When conducting research and consultations on climate change and climate risk management, the government is a key stakeholder in the dialogue. It is the government that drafts the policies and ensures implementation of those policies with other stakeholders. SLYCAN Trust has always included government entities in this dialogue. Together, we have decided that the agriculture sector should be given priority in the climate conversation’.
The dialogue drew attention to risk finance instruments and risk transfer mechanisms as key elements of a comprehensive risk management framework to address climate and disaster risks. Sri Lanka has experience in running national crop insurance schemes for decades and has established a national natural disaster insurance scheme in 2016. Sri Lanka’s climate commitments include addressing climate-induced loss and damage through its Nationally Determined Contributions (NCDs) under the Paris Agreement, and through its National Adaptation Plan (NAP). The event also connected national and international participants virtually to share experiences and best practices in the field.
During the discussion Executive Director of SLYCAN Trust Ms. Vositha Wijenayake added, ‘Sri Lanka has a lot of existing mechanisms which could be built on to enhance the climate and disaster risk finance instruments which will address the impacts of climate change. Multi-actor partnerships could contribute to scaling up resilience building through these processes, and in addressing climate and disaster risks. This event aims to enhance the engagement of multiple actors to identify ways in which they could contribute to scaling up climate action, leading to increased resilience of communities and ecosystems of Sri Lanka to face the climate and disaster risks.’
The event was conducted as part of the "Multi-Actor Partnerships on Climate and Disaster Risk Financing and Preparedness in the Context of the InsuResilience Global Partnership," a project supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and implemented by SLYCAN Trust in collaboration with Chrysalis as a local partner in Sri Lanka. Under this project, SLYCAN Trust has conducted national level consultations and capacity building of multiple stakeholders including vulnerable communities and youth. As part of this initiative, SLYCAN Trust has also engaged in dialogues with farmers, grassroot level officials as well as agriculture supply chain actors. Such dialogues have provided an understanding of climate vulnerabilities on the ground and along the supply value chain, and existing climate adaptation measures to evaluate gaps and needs in existing climate and disaster risk management in the country.
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.