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Monday, August 15, 2022

Forests, water and clean air as Fundamental Rights in new Constitution – Minister Dinesh Gunawardena

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Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that he has proposed to include environment, forests, water, and clean air as Fundamental Rights in the New Constitution.

He was speaking at the ‘Stakeholder Dialogue on Climate Change, Resilience and Just Recovery in the Sectors of Agriculture, Forestry and Biodiversity’ held last Friday at Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo.

“Climate change has become the biggest threat to the global existence of humankind. While Sri Lanka is focusing on addressing climate change impacts at local and national level, through existing mechanisms, we also continue our engagement and commitment to global action ever since climate change started gaining international traction, through various initiatives.

“Sri Lanka continues to focus on setting up national mechanism to facilitate the work related to the areas of the Warsaw International Mechanism under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since the ratification of the UNFCCC, in 1993, and the Paris Agreement in 2016, we, as a country have made commitments focusing on key sectors and taking affirmative actions to address the impacts of climate change. In working towards climate action, it is important for us to also achieve sustainable development and at how resilience could be built through inclusive and participatory processes, integrate stakeholder driven decision making processes and implementation of climate action.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s National Policy Framework “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” gives highest priority to the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. We are focused on eventually becoming a net carbon zero country, without compromising our national development goals.

“I am pleased to mention Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa opened Sri Lanka’s largest wind farm, with a capacity of 100 MW, in the Mannar District. The total energy portfolio by 2030 will accommodate over 40 per cent renewable energy and with an anticipated 80 per cent energy mix obtained from hydro and renewable energy sources.

“Our country is currently engaging with international and regional entities to bring sustainable nitrogen management to the South Asian agenda.

It is in line with the implementation of the Colombo Declaration on Sustainable Nitrogen Management with an ambition to halve nitrogen waste by 2030, which would bring multiple benefits, including effective measures in mitigating impacts of climate change.

“Sri Lanka believes that climate financing commitments under UNFCCC and other mechanisms are needed for developing economies such as Sri Lanka to build resilience and address the adverse effects of climate change and to undertake potential greenhouse gas emission reduction initiatives.

“I call upon you to embark on getting more, and if possible, all young men and women to harvest and harness more rainwater and solar energy. Both are in abundance and blessed in Sri Lanka,” Minister Gunewardena said.

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