UK working with Sri Lanka to meet climate action commitments

UK working with Sri Lanka to meet climate action commitments

The United Kingdom (UK) says it is working with Sri Lanka to meet climate action commitments.

The UK Government hosted the Conference of Parties 26 (COP26) in Glasgow and a high-level Sri Lankan delegation was in attendance.

The climate summit was the biggest gathering of world leaders the UK has held since the Second World War. It brought together parties to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa has already set out Sri Lanka’s key climate targets at the COP26 World Leaders Summit, reflecting Sri Lanka’s UNFCCC Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC): ‘Carbon neutrality by 2050 in electricity generation’; ‘70% of electricity by renewable energy by 2030’; ‘enhancing forest cover to achieve carbon sequestration of 7% by 2030’; steps to phase-out of fossil fuels, including co-leading the ‘No New Coal Compact’; and halving nitrogen waste by 2030 (Colombo Declaration).

Sri Lanka has also signed up to a number of COP26 driven climate initiatives: the ‘Leader’s Pledge for Nature’; the ‘30 x 30 Global Oceans Alliance (GOA)’ declaration; the ‘Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement’; the ‘Together for Tomorrow: Education and Climate Action’ video pledge; the ‘Commonwealth Leaders Declaration on Climate Change’ and the Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forest and Land-Use.

The UK and Sri Lanka have been working in partnership on other climate initiatives: UK support for Green Building Council of Sri Lanka events, where UK environment experts presented the ‘net zero Climate Framework’; UK policy support for UNDP’s “Green Development Dialogue”; a “Mangroves Stewardship” initiative; and COP/climate interfaith dialogue. A South Asia ‘Nitrogen for Climate and Green Recovery’ event with high-level statements from President Rajapaksa, South Asian Ministers’ and the international scientific community presented options for climate action. A ‘One year to COP’ event with speeches from the French (Paris accord) and Italian (COP co-hosts) Ambassadors’ set out the road to COP last year.

British Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Lisa Whanstall, speaking on COP26 and climate action work between Sri Lanka and UK noted that the impacts of climate change are devastating.

“We have a responsibility to take action – now. By completing and implementing the Paris Agreement at Glasgow, the world can come together to tackle this crucial challenge. The UK is working with Sri Lanka to meet our climate action commitments”. 

Addressing leaders at the first major global gathering since the COVID-19 pandemic, COP President Alok Sharma said: “The science is clear that the window of time we have to keep the goal of 1.5 alive, and to avoid the worst effects of climate change, is closing fast. But with political will and commitment, we can, and must, deliver an outcome in Glasgow the world can be proud of.”  (Colombo Gazette)

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