In-depth


Supporting agriculture in salt-affected paddy lands

Supporting sustainable natural resource management

Working in partnership with United Nations Environment Programme, UNDP convened over 30 governmental and inter-governmental agencies around the Integrated Strategic Environment Assessment – ISEA (www.isea.lk) for the formerly conflict-affected Northern Province. The ISEA facilitated the establishment of environmental baselines for the Northern districts including the mapping of archaeological areas and wildlife corridors which helped guide decision-making around post-war developmental projects with sensitivity to key environmental issues. The Government used the ISEA to improve its physical investment plan for 2030, and to revise the urban and other development plans for the North.

Disaster management and climate change adaptation

The percentage of casualties out of the number of people affected by natural disasters decreased from 0.04 percent to less than 0.01 percent between 2003 and 2012 as a result of improved disaster preparedness in the country. However the damages due to disasters are still on the rise.

To support the integration of disaster risk reduction into national development policies, UNDP facilitated the development national hazard profiles for coastal erosion, droughts, floods, landslides, lightening, sea level rise, storm surges, tropical cyclones and tsunamis (www.hazard.lk). Landslide hazard information is now incorporated into local authority land permitting processes. Further the disaster resilient building designs and training of carpenters, technicians and masons plus the communities help improve resilience of communities.

Additionally, UNDP provided technical assistance and training to strengthen the National Disaster Management Centre. This includes support to the establishment of a 65-member National Disaster Management Coordinating Committee, a platform which serves as the hub for disaster risk management activities in the country. For example, members of the Committee share their programmes and experiences, have collaborated on educational material and have provided inputs to the 2005 Disaster Management Act. The National Emergency Operations Procedures that involve over 30 agencies dealing with over 25 disasters will be completed in 2013 with UNDP’s support. The updated Disaster Management Policy of Sri Lanka to be released in 2013 will have a higher emphasis on risk reduction and risk transfer.

UNDP also supported the development of agricultural systems to adapt to climate change (www.climateadaptation.lk) and was successful in attracting grant funding from Special Climate Change Fund and Adaptation Fund to support community level climate resilience.

Low-emission climate-resilient development

UNDP helped the Ministry of Environment establish the National Ozone Unit that successfully phased out the use of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)) before the targeted dates. Through an associated intervention, UNDP facilitated the non-use of harmful methyl bromide fumigant in Sri Lanka’s tea industry, allowing ‘ozone-friendly’ tea products to access niche markets. Starting 2012 with UNDP support Sri Lanka embark on a 15 year effort to phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) gases.

Support to control invasive alien species

As a measure to safe guard its biodiversity, UNDP supports Sri Lanka to develop policies, strategies and action plans to manage and control invasive alien species (http://www.ias.geocenter.lk/invasive-species/). Improved customs procedures, awareness and training and pilot sites in different ecological regions will improve the management practices on controlling invasive species.

During the peak of the humanitarian crisis in 2009, UNDP responded quickly in advance of the monsoon season, leading efforts to install and manage extensive drainage, solid waste, sewerage and water management systems for the Manik Farm Internally Displaced Persons complex in Vavuniya, thereby ensuring the well-being of over 300,000 Internally Displaced Persons living on flat land in only temporary and makeshift shelters.

Mainstreaming energy, environment and disaster resilience

UNDP has supported the formulation of key policy documents such as “Road Map towards Safer Sri Lanka (2006)”, “Caring for Environment (2008)”, “Haritha (Green) Lanka Strategy and Action Plan (2009)”, “Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2012)”, “Middle Path: Country Synthesis paper to Rio+20” and “Youth Position Paper for Rio+20”, and “Gap Analysis for UN Secretary Generals Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL).” UNDP is supporting to update the Haritha (Green) Lanka Strategy and Action Plan to incorporate Rio+20 outcomes and develop a new Disaster Management Programme for the 2013 to 2017 period. These have helped ensure that Sri Lanka’s policies are in line with international commitments, and contributed towards improving planning capacities, access to information, increasing awareness, and promoting public-private partnerships in managing natural resources and promoting investments on best practices on environmental protection.

UNDP supported Forest Department to enroll Sri Lanka in the UNREDD initiative and access funding by developing the Sri Lanka REDD Readiness Programme - (http://www.un-redd.org/) starting 2013. UNDP is helping Forest Department to expand Community Forestry Management through the Australian Funded Sri Lanka Community Forestry Programme. UNDP and FAO supported modern biomass to energy technologies project will help to promote the use of biomass in industrial applications.

UNDP will continue to promote information sharing for development. One key activity here will be to establish a national system on generating and sharing ecosystem data. UNDP will also mobilize resources to help Sri Lanka meet its international obligations on the environment. It will also seek new resources to enable the country to improve natural resource management and address issues such as biodiversity, land degradation and deforestation.