High –Level SDG Action Event
Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda
H. E. Dr. A. Rohan Perera, Ambassador and
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
23rd March 2017
At the outset, my delegation wishes to thank the President of the General Assembly for convening this High-level SDG Action Event to invigorate political momentum on action against climate change.
During the past eighteen months, two extremely important milestones in our collective quest in rising up to the challenge of Climate Change were reached.
Firstly, in September 2015, global leaders adopted the specific Sustainable Development Goal on climate change: Goal 13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, which exemplifies our collective resolve to combat climate change.
Secondly, the Paris Agreement, which entered into force on 04th November 2016, and represents the will of the global community to a low-carbon future. The political will thus demonstrated by Member States in ratifying the Paris Agreement in an unprecedented manner, should augur well for its effective implementation, and thereby preserve the global climate, the common heritage of all humanity.
Climate and sustainable development are inextricably inter-connected. Therefore, it is imperative that we build synergies between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and climate action, as they would be mutually reinforcing.
I am pleased to state that Sri Lanka signed the Paris Agreement in April last year, and deposited the Instrument of Ratification in September. For our part, Sri Lanka is committed to implement the Agreement, and contribute to the global efforts in combating climate change. The action will, no doubt, facilitate the implementation of SDGs in our country.
The “blue-green development strategy” adopted by the Government of Sri Lanka endeavours to achieve sustainable development through a ‘light foot print’ approach on the environment and climate.
Sri Lanka’s per capita carbon emission is less than 1 metric ton per year, and therefore, is a negligible contributor to global warming. Nevertheless, as a developing country, we are highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, such as extreme weather patterns, which result in devastating floods or severe drought. These adverse effects inhibit our quest for sustainable development.
We have identified adaptation as the most suitable way to face the challenge of climate change. Accordingly, Sri Lanka has developed a comprehensive National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, which is the cornerstone of the major national initiatives in the adaptation process.
We have also identified certain priority areas for mitigation which have high greenhouse gas emission reduction potential. Energy, transport and industry sectors are these priority areas. We are committed to make all possible efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by developing renewable energy sources to protect global climate for present and future generations.
Though the adverse effects of climate change are felt across borders, the impact of climate change is particularly harsh on developing countries. Their mitigation and adaptation strategies and action require financing.
It is important for the developed world to honour their commitments to the developing countries in terms of financial assistance, technology transfer and capacity building to tackle the challenge of climate change. In this regard, it would be imperative to realize the target of making available USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to support developing countries.