Home » UN FAO and France help tackle Sri Lanka environmental challenges

UN FAO and France help tackle Sri Lanka environmental challenges

By: Staff Writer Colombo (LNW):Sri Lanka is taking a significant step towards addressing its environmental issues as the Ministry of Environment and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently signed an agreement on the Green Climate Fund Readiness Initiative. Sri Lanka is considered one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, consistently ranking among the top ten nations at risk of extreme weather events according to the Global Climate Risk Index. These climate impacts have had severe consequences on various economic sectors, affecting people’s lives and livelihoods. The signing of the Green Climate Fund Readiness project document marks an important milestone in Sri Lanka’s efforts to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The proposal aims to enhance the technical capacity of the Ministry of Environment and its partners, including the private sector. By working together, the project will help identify and implement the necessary measures to address climate challenges in priority sectors. The project also aims to attract public and private investments to promote climate-smart agriculture through scientific planning. Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Environment, expressed his commitment to building a sustainable future for Sri Lanka and contributing to the global fight against climate change. He stated, “Together, we can adapt to the effects of climate change and secure a better future for our country. We will work hand in hand with FAO and other key stakeholders to ensure Sri Lanka’s climate resilience.” An agreement was signed recently between the country director of the French Development Agency (AFD) M. Reda SOUIRGI and Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Environment for a 300,000 EUR grant to improve monitoring and reporting of air quality in Sri Lanka.. Air pollution remains a critical issue for cities such as Colombo and Kandy, as for many other major cities in the developing world. In comparison to some of its regional counterparts such as Delhi and Dhaka, Sri Lanka still has a fairly good Air Quality Index. However, year on year it is evident that Air quality is becoming a more prevalent issue. Each year, Sri Lanka suffers from seasonal air pollution events, generally imported from the Indian continent and exacerbated by its own pollution generating activities. The most recent being in January 2023, when the National Building and Research Organisation (NBRO) declared dangerous levels of air quality in several parts of the country. Accordingly, the issue needs to be addressed in an objective and systematic way. Air pollution is not a new topic for Sri Lanka; far ahead of its regional counterparts, various indicators such as PM10, NOx, SOx, ozone and CO have been monitored for more than twenty years. Two new monitoring stations, managed by the CEA, were installed in 2019 near Colombo, at Battaramulla, and in Kandy. Meanwhile, monthly concentrations of NO2 and SO2 have been measured in 25 different places in and around Colombo, using passive sampling techniques by the NBRO.

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