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Sri Lanka to Launch Climate Justice Forum for Vulnerable Nations at COP 28 UN Climate Change Conference

During a press conference themed ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’ held at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC), Minister of Environment Naseer Ahamed announced Sri Lanka’s plan to launch the Climate Justice Forum (CJF) at the upcoming 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) during the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference. The proposed CJF aims to promote climate justice and expedite financial support for losses and damages in vulnerable and developing countries through an alternative and non-traditional approach.

The Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, will also host the fifth Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific (5th AP Forum) in Colombo from October 3rd to 6th, 2023. This forum will serve as a platform for governments, intergovernmental organizations, and stakeholders to discuss and prioritize environmental issues in the Asia Pacific region.

Additionally, Sri Lanka is taking significant steps to address environmental concerns. The government plans to develop the Dambulla and Hiriwadduna eco-tourism sites as eco-tourism destinations. Furthermore, the country is moving forward with the ban on various single-use plastic items, including garlands, spoons, straws, stirrers, and more.

Minister Ahamed highlighted the preparedness of the Ministry of Environment in dealing with air quality calamities through a contingency responsive action plan. Moreover, the ministry is working on a National Policy for electricity and electronic waste management.

In the mining sector, the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) are issuing transport licenses with computer-generated details to prevent alterations by license holders. Additionally, amendments to the Mines and Mineral Act have been introduced, facilitating direct investment in mineral resources in Sri Lanka without the involvement of brokers.

These initiatives demonstrate Sri Lanka’s commitment to addressing environmental challenges and promoting climate justice on regional and global levels.

Minister of Environment Naseer Ahamed, further commented;

“Sri Lanka has proposed the establishment of a Climate Justice Forum with the aim of accelerating the financing of losses and damages and providing an alternative and non-traditional approach. Also, Sri Lanka is of the opinion that it is appropriate to include debt justice as an essential component of the overall solution proposal to be given to the climate-vulnerable and developing countries for their mitigation and adaptation interventions, taking into account the debt crises faced by those countries. In order to make that effort successful, the Cabinet approved the implementation of the strategic program presented by the Ministry of Environment as the proponent of establishing the Climate Justice Forum.

The Major activities to be carried out by the Ministry for this year include the formulation of a national climatic change policy, formulation of a national mineral policy, formulation of a national cooling policy for Sri Lanka, formulation of a Sri Lanka Road map for net zero Carbon by 2025, prohibition of four (04) environmentally harmful single-use plastic products and the establishment of climate cells to facilitate implementation of Provincial Adaptation Plan.

Under waste management, we have introduced new rules for plastic use and recycling. The Central Environment Authority (CEA) has already incorporated the provisions of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and polluter pays the principal to National Environment Act amendment. Two pilot projects have already been implemented to practice EPR voluntarily.”

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