APAD- SL will observe the United Nations sponsored World Humanitarian Day 2021 with emphasis on #TheHumanRace against climate change on Thursday 19th of August 2021. The UN General Assembly designated August 19th in 2009 as World Humanitarian Day (WHD) in memory of the August 19th 2003 bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq that killed the UN Chief Humanitarian Aid Officer in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. “Climate Change” has been deemed as a topic top on the agenda at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November 2021.
Climate Change Impacts and Actions by Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s highest emissions pathway (RCP8.5) temperatures are projected to rise by 2.9°C–3.5°C by the 2090s, with the 2017 ND-GAIN ranking Sri Lanka 100th out of 181 countries vulnerable to climate change impacts. High temperatures, and two seasonal monsoon seasons expose it to extreme climate events and vulnerable to climate change. In 2020-21, Sri Lanka has been exposed to intersecting disasters: the sinking of the burning oil laden Singaporean MV X-Press Pearl Cargo Ship carrying 25 tonnes of nitric acid 325 metric tons of fuel on June 17, 2021, the COVID 19 pandemic and the May 2021 floods due to increased precipitation. The oil laden sunken X-Press Pearl has severely impacted marine life and coastal communities while the May floods killed 20 people, affected 176,419, displaced 7,989 individuals in western and south- western Sri Lanka. Finally, the Pandemic related death toll stands at 6,150 death toll with 3,58608 confirmed infections; the speed with which the Delta variant has infected people has created immense pressure on medical services. In light of this, we are grateful for the humanitarian efforts of brave and selfless health professionals and front line workers who have been working around the clock to save lives and support the country.
Even as the current COVID-19 pandemic with intermittent lockdowns have affected human lives, it has also been responsible for providing the environment with a much needed temporary reprieve due to reduced air travel, along with a reduction in other modes of travel. However, all stakeholders in Sri Lanka are aware of the long term impact of Climate Change with Public Private partnerships being forged in an united effort to mitigate the carbon footprint.
The government has pledged to reduce greenhouse emissions by 20% by 2030 with new energy policies and strategies introduced in 2019. The Government has encouraged Private sector collaboration; sourced Private Sector resources for Green and Renewable Sources of Energy including Solar and Hydro Power. Moreover, through a policy of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and plastic use reduction, the government has made biodegradable plastic bags mandatory countrywide. Collaboration between the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation and the local Dairy sector to reduce enteric methane for food security and livelihoods is yet another instance of Private Sector participation. A-PAD SL in partnership with A-PAD regional platforms, Connective Business Initiative (CBi) with its global networks, are encouraging GREEN initiatives.
To quote UN Secretary General Antonio Guterre “The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win … let’s lace up our running shoes and win the climate race for us all”.