Helping Lanka tackle climate change
Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil Premajayantha
inaugurated a program recently to put forests at the heart of Sri
Lanka's strategy to tackle climate change. The program will help Sri
Lanka to prepare for an international mechanism to Reduce Emissions from
Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+).
It will be part of a future international comprehensive agreement to
tackle global warming, which is currently being negotiated through the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
REDD+ will be implemented on a voluntary basis; no country will be
obliged to take on such a commitment if they see no benefit in doing so.
Under a REDD+ mechanism, industrialised countries are expected to
provide positive incentives to Sri Lanka and other developing countries
in exchange for verified information which proves that they have
improved forest and land use management practices.
Sri Lanka will do this by measuring the emissions of Carbon Dioxide
(CO2), a potent greenhouse gas, caused through clearance of forests or
loss of forest quality.
The country will aim to reduce the levels of these emissions over
time, and thus qualify for the positive incentives.
This is a significant challenge for Sri Lanka. As the country's
economy continues to grow, more pressure is put on scarce forest
To help them prepare, the Ministry of Environment and Renewable
Energy has requested the assistance of the UN-REDD Programme, a
collaborative initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),
and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Minister Premajayatha said the program will provide an opportunity to
equip the country with knowledge and capacity required to implement a
national level REDD program. While affirming Sri Lanka's commitment to
combating human-induced climate change challenges, he said the inception
of the UN-REDD national program is an important step forward in this
UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Sri
Lanka, Subinay Nandy said, "Initiatives such as the UN-REDD Program can
provide opportunities to ensure the sustainability and resilience of the
development, and also propose ways to share the benefits of development
with multiple stakeholder groups."
He said through such initiatives, Sri Lanka could become a global
model in environmental management.