21 February 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka: Senior Government Officials, Academics, Members of Local Authorities, Officials of UN agencies and Non Governmental Organisations as well as School Children participated in the National Forum on “Climate Resilient Action Plans for Coastal Urban Areas” in Colombo recently.
This Forum discussed key outcomes of the project “Climate Resilient Action Plans for Coastal Urban Areas in Sri Lanka (CCSL)” and shared the draft National Statement on Cities and Climate Change Adaptation. The Secretary to the Ministry of Environment, Mr.B.N.U.D. Basnayake participated as the Chief Guest while Mrs.M.S.M Mohomad, Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management was the Guest of Honour at the event. The project partners participating at the event included Prof. Harsha Ratnaweera, Senior Advisor of the Norwegian Institute for Water research (NIVA), Prof.P.K.S.Mahanama, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Moratuwa University, Mr.Chris Radford, Acting Director of UN-Habitat Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and Mr.Laxman Perera, Country Programme Manager for UN-Habitat Sri Lanka.
This National Forum was organized by the project partners to share validated city level activities from the project areas of Batticaloa and Negombo and to validate the National Statement on Climate Resilient Cities with the relevant provincial and national institutions.
The Chief Guest at the event, Secretary to the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Basnayake addressing the gathering, stated that Sri Lanka is experiencing the impacts of climate change with increased incidents of droughts and floods. He mentioned that cities need to be prepared with specialized tools to deal with climate change impacts. Mr. Basnayake further mentioned that the recently concluded programme had created a model for climate resilient cities which can be replicated in other cities in Sri Lanka. The Guest of Honour at the event, Mrs. Mohomad stated that impacts of disasters could only be minimized through a coordinated approach of all public and private sector organizations, communities and development partners and by mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into sectoral programmes and projects. She also stated that it is very important for all agencies working in this sector to share knowledge and experiences, document good practices and work together to make the communities, cities and the whole nation resilient to climate change. Following the inaugural ceremony, several interactive sessions were conducted to share lessons learnt from the project and to present the National Statement on Climate Resilient Coastal Cities of Sri Lanka.
The project “Climate Resilient Action Plans for Coastal Urban Areas” was implemented from October 2011 – January 2013 by the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) in partnership with the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), University of Moratuwa (UOM), Batticaloa Municipal Council (BMC) and the Negombo Municipal Council (NMC). The project was prepared in consultation with the Ministry of Environment to support climate change activities of the country and is funded by the Nordic Climate Change Facility. The project was implemented in the Batticaloa and Negombo Municipal Council areas.