Measures to alleviate impact of climate change stalled for lack of funds

by Ifham Nizam

Despite strong suggestions that Sri Lanka needs nearly Rs. 50 billion to stick with climate change adaptation and mitigation policies, nothing had been done to provide the required funding so far, officials said.

A study in 2011 revealed that the country needed some Rs. 50 billion for the policies till 2016. Though Climate Change Secretariat officials expressed confidence in sticking with the proposals last year, nothing has happened to date.

The National Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Sri Lanka committee, in its study found that 16 District Secretariat Divisions would emerge as highly vulnerable to drought exposure.

The Island learns that so far no donor funds were available but the Treasury was doing its utmost to proceed with the activities in a small way. However, the Climate Change Secretariat officials expressed confidence that money would be made available soon.

Money is expected from Adaptation Fund and NORAD and the Secretariat was hopeful that they would get it soon.

Environmentalists believe before the government resorts to huge or mega projects, attempts should be made to go with the mitigation and adaptation policies, as climate change would certainly affect a country like ours.

The Meteorological Department indicated that weather patterns had increasingly become less predictable, causing floods in certain areas and droughts in others.

In January and February 2011, floods displaced over 1.2 million people from their homes in 14 districts. The long-term damage caused to housing, agriculture, industries and infrastructure was estimated at nearly Rs. 30 billion.

More than 401,998 people from 110,204 families were affected due to inclement weather that wreaked havoc in some 18 districts since December 17, 2012. The estimated loss was around Rs 150 billion this time.

Though the losses were marginal in monetary terms due to recent floods, a large number of families were affected especially due to lack of procedure and adaptation of same.

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