The Economic Development Ministry yesterday (June 25) signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP) to support the Divi Neguma Livelihood Development Programme to withstand climate related shocks.
The agreement was signed between Ministry Secretary, Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka and UNDP Country Director, Sri Lanka Razina Bilgrami to implement a four year project worth Rs.410 million. It will strengthen the existing Government investments in rural livelihood development. The project titled, “Strengthening the Resilience of Post Conflict Recovery and Development to Climate Change Risks in Sri Lanka,’ will focus on building models of climate change adaptation in three districts- Puttlam, Kurunegala and Ratnapura.
Climate change threatens the sustainability of both these programmes. Already the impact of climate-related weather anomalies are manifest in reduced agriculture productivity, in crop losses, in flood and landslide related damage to infrastructure and in increased uncertainty for farm-based livelihoods.
The project seeks to address the climate-related problems (such as frequent drought, floods, landslides and coastal storms) posing a serious threat to the Government’s objective of developing strong rural economies to bridge the urban-rural income disparity, particularly in post conflict zones.
This will be achieved through introducing adaptability to climate change into the design and implementation of both Gama Neguma and Divi Neguma. It will include developing institutional capacities to assess risk, design corrective measures and implement adaptation actions with community participation. To realise this, the project will work with a range of technical partners- such as the Departments of Agriculture, Agrarian Services, Irrigation, and Livestock and the Disaster Management Centre.
The project aims to conduct climate risk assessments to identify areas with greater risk and train district planning officials to manage disasters occurring with increased frequency. At village level, the project will support incorporation of climate risk assessments into every GN-level Village Development Plan. The project will deliver concrete adaptation measures in selected districts with high vulnerability to climate change, building on the Divi Neguma rural development programme. These measures will be identified through the Economic Development Officers at village level but will focus on small tank rehabilitation, soil conservation, micro irrigation efficiency, seed selection and mangrove conservation to protect lagoon fishery.
The project financing is a grant from the Special Climate Change Fund of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). It will be implemented through the Ministry of Economic Development in close collaboration with Ministries of Disaster Management and Environment.