Protecting environment is ‘duty of all’, Sri Lankan Red Cross leader tells climate workshop

Protecting environment is ‘duty of all’, Sri Lankan Red Cross leader tells climate workshop
23 June 2013

The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) and the Disaster Management Centre of the country’s Ministry of Disaster Management last week held a two-day public workshop on “Good Practices for Climate Change Adaptation”, aimed at raising awareness of best practice in climate change.

The workshop took place at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall in the capital, Colombo. 

SLRCS Director General Tissa Abeywickrama, in an opening address, focused on vulnerable communities in rural areas who are especially prone to the effects of climate change. 

“Our urban and rural communities are becoming increasingly vulnerable to various effects of climate change and these…are adversely affecting our community’s socio-economic state,” he said.
“Therefore, just like many other nations, climate change [is] no longer a choice to Sri Lankans.” 
‘All is flux’
The director general quoted the Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, famous for his insistence that: “All is flux; nothing is stationary”.
“We should work to stop man-made detrimental impacts to the environment,” said Mr Abeywickrama. “It is our responsibility to make this a duty of all.”
Recommendations from the Colombo seminar will be disseminated to contribute to the ongoing National Adaptation Programme process, and to strengthen community-based adaptation.
The SLRCS says it will publish a report that includes the proceedings and recommendations of the seminar intended to strengthen discussion of adaptation. 
Losses increasing
Sri Lanka’s disaster ministry said recently that “the impacts of disasters could be minimized only by a coordinated approach of all public and private sector organizations and mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into sectoral programmes and projects.”
The ministry said disaster losses in Sri Lanka “during the last few years…are increasing”, adding that its new disaster management (DM) programme will cover the period of 2013 to 2017, and be aligned with national priorities and implemented through multiple agencies but coordinated by the ministry. 
It was envisaged that the DM programme would “provide a sound basis for matching donor support and…minimize duplication of efforts by agencies”.
SLRCS Director General Tissa Abeywickrama, in an opening address at a public seminar on climate, quoted the Ancient Greek philosopher Heroclitus: “All is flux; nothing is stationary.” (Photo: SLRCS)