Seminar on “Implications of Climate Change in South Asia: The Experience of Sri Lanka”

Organised by Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS), Colombo, Sri Lanka and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Hong Kong, a seminar on “Implications of Climate Change in South Asia: The Experience of Sri Lanka” was held on January 19, 2017 at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Recently, RCSS has been working with KAS on a publication called “Energy Security and Climate Change in South Asia: A Threat Analysis for Sri Lanka” in which RCSS reserach team have contributed research articles on cross-cutting issues related to climate change: renewable energy; disaster management; and gender. The seminar was organized to present the articles and generate a discussion on the topics and create interest among the participants to research more into the thematic areas of discussion.

At the seminar, Prof. Imitiaz Ahmed, Executive Director of RCSS, in his introductory remarks, reaffirmed the idea of the seminar that is to illustrate Sri Lanka’s understanding of climate change. He highlighted the point that RCSS works on traditional and non-traditional security and climate change has been understood as a part of non-traditional security which is gaining its momentum. Dr. Peter Hefele, Head of the Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change in Asia and Pacific, KAS, Hong Kong, has begun his keynote speech with a brief introduction to their work at KAS including understanding the impact of climate change on social and geopolitics in South Asian region with the emphasis on Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which help decision makers to collaborate in order to make concrete solutions and disseminate findings on climate change to a broader generation of youth increasing their awareness and unleashing creativity. Also, he pointed out one of the main objectives of KAS is to understand how to change the way we produce and consume energy, which concentrates on how to eliminate fossil energy and find common grounds and partners to face this problem.

Avanthi Kalansooriya , in her paper ‘Post-COP 21 Climate Change Regime and Prospects for Renewable Energy’, placed Sri Lanka’s approach on economic development on a global context of international agreements and developments. She also discussed about increasing people’s participation at all levels to meet the challenges of securing energy without harming the environment considering the current climate change challenges. The paper of Dr. Minna Thaheer, Former Associate Director, RCSS, ‘Disaster Management sans Conflict Sensitivity: A Receipt for Disaster’ discussed how natural disasters impacted daily lives in a diverse and pluralistic as well as ethnically fragile and war torn Sri Lankan state. Sumudhu Jayasinghe, Research Officer, RCSS, in her paper ‘When Mother Nature Marks Women: The Gendered Implications of Climate Change’, presented how climate change and natural disasters affect women in Sri Lanka, in which she highlighted how women in different geographical areas face different issues with regard to climate change impact.