Building climate resilience in communities through Divi Neguma & Gama Neguma
Planning and Samurdhi staff representing all 25 districts in the country, supported by more than 15 sector agencies such as the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Local Governments & Provincial Councils , Department of Meteorology, Natural Resources Management Centre, National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Department of Agrarian Development, International Water Management Institute, Coastal Conservation & Coastal Resources Management Department, National Aquatic Development Authority and Universities participated in an innovative two day workshop on June 28th and 29th at the Mount Lavinia Hotel.
The focus of the consultative workshop was to identify the climate hazards that may affect the key Government rural development initiatives including Divi Neguma and Gama Neguma and to formulate a four year project to build the institutional capacity of agencies to ensure that the climate change impacts on the rural development efforts are minimized.
The district officials assisted by the officials of line agencies and experts on agriculture, building designs, disaster risk reduction and water management identified the activities to be conducted by different agencies and necessary training, awareness and institutional strengthening needed to achieve the objectives.
Appreciating the timely effort by the staff of the Ministry and the agencies Hon. Basil Rajapaksha, Minister of Economic Development said that “addressing environment and sustainability issues are an important part of development to ensure the sustainability.” As such “appropriate safe guards and best soil, air, energy and water management practices should be incorporated into the programmes.” Further the Hon. Minister added that “increased awareness, education and understanding at all levels can make a better contribution towards sustainability as opposed to relying on rules and regulations.”
Mr. Kithsiri Ranawaka, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development, Mr. Jayathilake Herath, Director, Divi Neguma and Mrs. C.M.A Dhammika, Director, Gama Neguma, Dr. Herath Manthirtilake, IWMI, Dr. B.V.R Punyawardane, Climatologist, Major General (Retd) Gamini Hettiarachchi, Director General, Disaster Management Centre provided technical inputs.
Dr. Ananda Mallawatantri, UNDP Sri Lanka, while introducing the concept of the project highlighted that this initiative has the potential to “initiate a paradigm shift in rural development by mainstreaming environment, energy, disaster risk reduction and other best practices.”
This new project to build climate resilience through Divi Neguma and Gama Neguma is funded by the Special Climate Change Fund of the Global Environment Facility and implemented by Ministry of Economic Development through UNDP.