Climate change impacts can delay development plans – Susil
Sri Lanka has embarked on an ambitious new era of economic
development, Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil
Premajayantha said. He was speaking at the launch of the publication
Climate Change Issues in Sri Lanka at the Institute of Policy Studies of
Sri Lanka (IPS) on February 14. The minister said climate change has
become a definite challenge to the society, a reality that all must
“The Environment Ministry is spearheading our national effort to face
this great challenge. As the Environment Minister, I find this as a good
opportunity to interact with a group of stakeholders, whose professional
contributions are very much useful for the successful implementation of
national policies, programmes, projects and activities undertaken by the
ministry,” he said.
Premajayantha said over the next decade, the island will be making
major new investments in all sectors to overcome poverty and consolidate
its status as a middle income country.
“It has set ambitious national development targets. But climate
change impacts, resulting from human-induced global warming, can delay
or derail these plans; they can also make existing economic and
socio-economic disparities worse,” he said.
“We are already beginning to see some of these impacts taking place
-- they will get worse in the coming years and decades. To pursue our
development agenda despite these pressures, we need an integrated
approach to improve climate resilience in all sectors of economy and
society,” the minister said.
He said to safeguard ourselves, we need climate change adaptation --
which involves coping with impacts with knowledge, technology and
“Climate change impacts will unfold overtime, and they will be felt
by everyone in different ways. No individual, community or sector will
be spared. It is a shared crisis. To protect people and economic
interests, we have to consider climate change as an emerging threat to
all sectors and all human endeavors. In other words, we have to
mainstream climate change adaptation in to national planning and
development processes,” Premajayantha said.
He said the Environment Ministry, through its Climate Change
Secretariat (MOE/CCS), is mandated to provide leadership to climate
change adaptation planning and implementation.
“Activities on the ground aimed at climate change adaptation need to
be developed and implemented by a range of sector agencies. Therefore,
cooperation of those agencies is very much important for the success of
the ministry’s efforts.
The country needs to develop a pool of professionals, and leaders,
who serve both within government and beyond, to drive Sri Lanka’s
initiatives to combat climate change,” he said. “The Environment
Ministry will not be able to address all these issues without the
support of others.
The help of government, private, NGO/INGO stakeholders is essential,
and in this regard, the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka - the
well-known IPS - can and should play a major role,” the minister said.
The minister said climate change impacts, which will build up and get
worse over the next few decades, can threaten both human settlements and
future development programmes.