[Colombo, Sri Lanka] On April 23rd, 2021, SLYCAN Trust hosted a “Stakeholder Dialogue on Climate Change, Resilience, and Just Recovery in the Sectors of Agriculture, Forestry, and Biodiversity of Sri Lanka, which was presided over by the Honourable Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.
The Dialogue aimed to discuss opportunities for scaling up climate action and just recovery in the three key sectors as well as to explore their connections to climate commitments under the Paris Agreement and other international processes, highlighting the potential for integrated solutions and global and regional cooperation.
In his keynote address, Minister Gunawardena stated, “Climate change has become the biggest threat to the global existence of humankind. It is important to take collective action to build climate resilience at the local, national, and global level. While Sri Lanka is focusing on addressing climate change impacts at local and national level, we have continued our vital engagement and commitment to global action ever since climate change started gaining international traction. Today’s event focuses on climate law and policy, climate action, and building resilience. ‘Just recovery’ is an example of how we could merge the efforts of different actors towards a common objective, which could contribute to Sri Lanka becoming climate-resilient faster, recover from the impacts of COVID-19, and achieve sustainable development.”
Sri Lanka is increasingly exposed to the impacts of climate change. For the county to continue on its pathway of development toward a prosperous and sustainable future, it is pivotal to address climate-related vulnerabilities, build resilience, and build on the ongoing discussions and processes.
During her welcome address, SLYCAN Trust’s Executive Director, Ms. Vositha Wijenayake, provided a background to the event: “This dialogue is important to discuss how climate action can be scaled up, and resilience built in Sri Lanka. Our work at SLYCAN Trust focuses on climate change, adaptation, sustainable development, social justice, and ecosystem conservation. We work closely with all key entities and prioritise multi stakeholder engagement as a core component to all our activities. Today’s workshop will engage key stakeholders in the sectors of agriculture, forestry, and biodiversity, and discuss the way forward on integrating their work with overall climate action, sustainable development, and a just COVID-19 recovery.”
The importance of collective and collaborative action was highlighted as well through two panels of experts including Ms. Kumudini Vidyalankara, Director of the Climate Change Secretariat of Sri Lanka, Ms. Nilmini Ranasinghe, Assistant Director of the Biodiversity Secretariat, Dr. Ranjith Punyawardena, Prof. Hemanthi Ranasinghe, Dr. S. P. Nissanka, and Dr. Thusitha Sugathapala. The Dialogue brought together stakeholders from all three sectors as well as policy-makers and those from organisations working on cross-cutting issues including climate change, gender, and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The event was conducted under the project “Participatory NDCs for a climate-just response in COVID-19 world,” which is 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.
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.