Climate Resilient Action Plans for Coastal Urban Areas

Funded by: NCF – Nordic Climate Facility (Through NIVA); EUR 600,000

Partners: Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA); University of Moratuwa (UoM);
United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); Batticaloa Municipal Council (BMC) and Negombo Municipal Council (NMC)


  • Batticaloa
  • Negombo


Cities face one of the heaviest and onerous burdens from the impacts of climate change. Analysis of 40 year records of daily temperature data of Batticaloa has revealed a strong trend of temperature increase of  0.4-0.5 oC during the last two decades in comparison to the previous two decades. In addition, rainfall analysis has revealed a strong trend of monsoon rainfall increase (28% in Batticaloa Municipal Council and 34% Negombo Municipal Council) and correspondent increase of occurrence of minor floods. BMC has experienced the largest flood during the last 100 years during December 2009 -January 2010. This flood resulted in loss of life and property while significantly damaging the emerging coastal tourism industry. 15%-20% of the total population in NMC and BMC are vulnerable to sea level rise in 2040. Frequently increasing storm surges have also resulted in significant losses to livelihoods in these areas.

The above information follows the findings of the Cities and Climate Change Initiatives Pilot Project implemented by the University of Moratuwa and UN-Habitat as the first initiative to address the City level Climate Change impacts in Sri Lanka.

As many other coastal cities have experienced devastating climate related impacts during the recent years, this Project focuses on the most urgent and immediate needs of the Sri Lankan coastal cities in adapting to climate change, and mitigating risks and the severity of impacts through Disaster Risk Management (DRM).

The Project

70% of Sri Lanka’s urban population and 80% of its economic infrastructure networks are concentrated in coastal cities which are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts such as sea-level rise, flooding, salination of water resources, storm surges, cyclones and droughts. These impacts disproportionately affect urban poor communities, who are forced to live in the most vulnerable areas. Recognising this challenge, BMC and NMC conducted vulnerability/adaptation and Green House Gas assessments in 2010, prioritising strategic response areas through broad-based stakeholder City Consultations.

This project will support key stakeholders in the BMC and NMC to develop and implement the following activities in a participatory manner:

  1. Multi-purpose green belt in BMC coast established to protect the lagoon and coastal areas, restore mangrove eco-systems and coastal bio-diversity;
  2. GIS-based Rapid Response System (RRS) and Knowledge Management centre for climate exacerbated disasters established at BMC and NMC with training (one month for 50 selected participants) and equipment (i.e.building, software,  computers,  GPS, printers, scanners, broadband facilities);
  3. Disaster resilient, energy efficient, low-cost shelter adaptation training will be provided, supported by local resource based- livelihood diversifications options for 100 participants living in vulnerable areas.

The project will document the implementation experiences and share these through a series of provincial and national consultations. Supported by the Ministry of Environment, and the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils and the Urban Development Authority, the process and lessons learned will be replicated in other cities while climate resilient approaches will be included in urban planning and budgetary frameworks.