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Climate Change & Energy Challenges in Sri Lanka: Towards Regional Cooperation in South Asia

Updated: Apr 4

On 21st March, Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, witnessed two significant events that were historic occasions: the launch of the Climate Parliament chapter in the country within the parliament, and in the city. These events saw participation from the President’s and Speaker’s offices, Ministers, senior MPs, government officials, and civil society representatives. 




At noon on 21st March, Climate Parliament Sri Lanka, under the leadership of its Chairman MP Eran Wickramaratne and other Steering Committee members MPs Mohomad Musammil, Amirthanathan Adaikkalanathan, Anura Priyadhaarshana Yapa, and Madura Vithanage, organized a Parliamentary launch of Climate Parliament. The launch followed with a rich discussion focused on ‘Climate Change & Energy Challenges in Sri Lanka: Towards Regional Cooperation in South Asia’. The meeting within the Parliament was addressed by Hon Ajith Rajapakse, Deputy Speaker, Dr. Mukul Sharma, Asia Director, Climate Parliament, Rakesh Goyal, Chief of Party, South Asia Regional Energy Partnership (SAREP), Nahim Razzaq, Member of Parliament, Bangladesh and Convener, Climate Parliament-Bangladesh, Ruwan Wijewardene, Senior Advisor to President on Climate Change, Rajiv Ratna Panda, Power Market Specialist, SAREP, Prof. Buddhi Marambe, University of Peradeniya, Sajith Premadasa, Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Sumedha Basu, Policy Advisor, Climate Parliament and Ravindranath Dabare, Chairman, Centre of Environmental Justice, Sri Lanka. 


It is noteworthy that on 9th January 2024, Measures to establish two Parliamentary Caucuses, the Honourable speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament notified Climate Parliament Sri Lanka as a formal caucus within the Parliament, upon the formal request submitted by 22 MPs, led by senior MP Eran Wickramaratne. This recognition is unprecedented and unique for Climate Parliament in any Asian country. The Centre for Environmental Justice Sri Lanka will be the secretariat of Climate Parliament-Sri Lanka. 

 

 In the evening of 21st March, there was the public launch of Climate Parliament-Sri Lanka. A wider meeting was organized in the city, addressed by Kanchana Wijesekera, Minister of Power & Energy, Sri Lanka, along with Climate Parliament Sri Lankan MPs, academicians, representatives of civil society, and partner organizations. 




These meetings focused on discussing crucial issues related to climate change and renewable energy in the South Asia region, with particular emphasis on Sri Lanka and the parliamentary actions surrounding these matters. Climate change poses a serious threat to the small island nation of Sri Lanka, leading to unexpected droughts, floods, landslides, sea-level rise, and other environmental changes. The urgent need is to address these impacts and ensure energy transition through regional and international cooperation. The meetings also specifically focussed on the need to establish South Asian Regional Parliamentary Forum for Energy Cooperation (SARPEC).



Following these meetings, Climate Parliament Sri Lanka will soon formulate its national and regional activities, including initiating a Climate Change Act in the country and developing regional action plans to strengthen SARPEC.


 After these meetings, on 22nd March, Climate Parliament South Asia led by Mukul Sharma and Sumedha Basu along with SAREP representative Rajiv Ratna Panda organised some bilateral meetings with the Energy Secretary, Climate Change Division Director, Director General, Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority and others. 

 



Climate Parliament Sri Lanka and South Asia organised these activities in partnership with SAREP, USAID and Centre for Environmental Justice. 




Department of Government Sri Lanka also went live about this launch.


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