Category Archives: UN-ESCAP funding

Pollution: 300 million children breathing toxic air – UNICEF report

Original article


NEW YORK 31 October 2016 – Almost one in seven of the world’s children, 300 million, live in areas with the most toxic levels of outdoor air pollution – six or more times higher than international guidelines – reveals a new UNICEF report.

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Residents in Lagos,Nigeria,navigate the polluted waters of Makoko,a fishing community mostly made up of structures on stilts above Lagos Lagoon,as smoke from a nearby house spills out over the canals

Clear the Air for Children uses satellite imagery to show for the first time how many children are exposed to outdoor pollution that exceeds global guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO), and where they live across the globe.

The findings come a week ahead of the COP 22 in Marrakesh, Morocco, where UNICEF is calling on world leaders to take urgent action to cut air pollution in their countries. Continue reading Pollution: 300 million children breathing toxic air – UNICEF report

Sri Lanka committee to look in to Norochcholai environmental issues

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norochcholai
Norochcholai power station

Sep 21, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) has appointed a 7 member committee to look at the environmental damage allegations that have been leveled against the Norochcholai power station.

“We have received several complaints about this so we appointed a committee that is qualified to look into this matter,” Damitha Kumarasinghe, director general, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) told Lanka Business Online. Continue reading Sri Lanka committee to look in to Norochcholai environmental issues

Experts call for action against those involved in the Doppler Radar System controversy

Thursday, June 02, 2016

By Tharushan Fernando

doppler-radar

Experts say that stringent measures should be taken against those who were involved in incurring massive losses to the country when installing a dysfunctional Doppler Radar System.

While a committee had launched Investigations into the in-operational status of the system in 2014, the investigation report revealed that the installation of the system had been carried out in a haphazard manner.

Continue reading Experts call for action against those involved in the Doppler Radar System controversy

Tears from heaven

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Originally published in the Sunday Times
To many it was not ‘tears from heaven’ but a ‘flood of destruction’ as the skies opened out across Sri Lanka this week, causing tragedy, destruction and trauma.

In this hour of grief however, the business community aided by technology coming together – helping even rivals or competitors – and rising above petty jealousy or trading squabbles was the highlight of the week. The hard part however is in post-crisis rebuilding with donor fatigue already setting in.

The shining light across the week was the manner in which technology helped relief and rescue efforts. Relief for instance from helpful Sri Lankans was possible by just pressing a button via e-commerce webs like takas.lk.

Continue reading Tears from heaven

‘An International Climate Change Research Centre; the need of the hour for Sri Lanka’

Sri Lanka was battered many a time in the past by Mother Nature. As citizens of this beautiful island, we have bitter memories of calamities such as the 2004 December 26th tsunami and droughts/flooding during recent times. Findings of many recent scientific studies point to a globally changing, erratic climatic patterns and exacerbated occurrences of extreme atmospheric events (EAEs). The notion that human activity such as uncontrolled green-house gas (GHG) emissions aggravates the climate change and its consequences is a widespread consensus amongst the scientific community. Hence, predicting and if possible, alleviating the extent of damage caused by such extreme climatic events will do immense good to the masses of Sri Lanka. To this end, the role of a fully functional and dedicated research centre for Climatic Sciences would be colossal. In this context, the commissioning of an apex climate research centre in Sri Lanka is of high national importance because hitherto, no such research centre exists in Sri Lanka that is capable of conducting high-quality research on aspects such as EAEs, hydrological flow-patterns and impacts of emissions on the climate.

Considering the national need for a high-quality climate change research centre for Sri Lanka, the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) has taken the initiative to form such a centre with the fullest support and assistance from national and international partners. As a public-funded government institution, the ITI garners the support from the relevant ministry (Ministry of Higher Education and Research) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the establishment of the envisaged research centre. The main international partner for the research centre is the Commission on Science and Technology for sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS). In addition, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) will also be a main international partner providing support and technical know-how for the establishment of the envisaged research centre. When established, the planned international climate change research centre will be the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. It would feature cutting-edge research facilities to conduct research in the areas of extreme atmospheric phenomena, mathematical modelling and prediction of climate change, hydrological flow/rainfall patterns, impacts of emissions on the climate and allied research fields. The centre would also facilitate the inter-institutional, international knowledge-transfer process by the exchange of academics, research students and technical experts between relevant local and international institutions.

An international symposium titled “Impacts of Extreme Atmospheric Events on Geo-surface in a Changing Climate”, organized by the ITI will be held on the 14th – 15th of May 2015, at the Hotel Galadari, This symposium will mark the initial colloquium for the commissioning of the aforesaid international research centre. This international event will feature technical sessions from many eminent experts in the fields of climatic and atmospheric sciences. An MOU pertaining to the establishment of the research centre and inter-institutional international knowledge-transfer will be signed between the ITI and the International Centre for Climate and Environment Sciences (ICCES) during the symposium.

The ITI welcomes all interested persons, institutions and representations by the private sector to partake in this prestigious international symposium

Date – 14th – 15th of May 2015, Venue – Galadari Hotel, Grand Ballroom, Symposium fee – LKR 12,000 per person, Contact person – Eng. W.R.K Fonseka, Industrial Technology Institute, 363, Bauddhaloka Mw, Colombo 07, Contact Telephone – +94-11-2379800

emissions on the climate and allied research fields. The centre would also facilitate the inter-institutional, international knowledge-transfer process by the exchange of academics, research students and technical experts between relevant local and international institutions.

Fears of El Nino hitting agriculture, Sri Lankan communities this year

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An ongoing drought in several dry zone districts in Sri Lanka and predictions of an El Nino year paint a grim scenario for an island that has had continuous issues of flooding, drought and landslides in the past five years, a UN official said this week.

Razina Bilgrami, Resident Representative, UNDP Colombo, speaking at Tuesday’s launch in Colombo of a project titled “Strengthening the resilience of post conflict recovery and development to climate change risks in Sri Lanka”, said that the impact of such disasters is felt more amongst the vulnerable and the poor – and that is why it is very close to UNDP’s heart. She said a recent survey by UNOCHA on drought showed that the poorest people, those who depend on rain-fed agriculture or on small village tanks, are the worst-affected and most unable to resume livelihood activities.

Razina Bilgrami
Razina Bilgrami

The event was held in the presence of Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development; Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka, Secretary, Ministry of Economic Development; Ismail Omer, Representative, World Food Programme Sri Lanka, and Ms. Beth Crawford, Representative, Food and Agricultural Organisation, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

Continue reading Fears of El Nino hitting agriculture, Sri Lankan communities this year

Landmark climate change project launch in Sri Lanka

Economic Development Ministry and UNDP Sri Lanka yesterday marked the official launch of its project under the Environmental Sustainability and Disaster Resilience Program, ‘Strengthening the Resilience of Post Conflict Recovery and Development to Climate Change Risks in Sri Lanka’.
The occasion was graced by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Resident Representative a.i., UNDP Sri Lanka Razina Bilgrami, Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka, Ismail Omer, Representative, World Food Program Sri Lanka, Beth Crawford, Representative, Food and Agricultural Organisation, Sri Lanka, Divi Neguma Additional Director-General and climate project director Jayatilaka Herath, UNDP Acting Assistant country Director (Environment) Tharuka Dissanaike and representatives from other Government institutions and civil society organisations.

 

Strengthening the Resilience of Post Conflict Recovery and Development to Climate Change Risks in Sri Lanka
Strengthening the Resilience of Post Conflict Recovery and Development to Climate Change Risks in Sri Lanka

The official launch of the project was followed by an inception workshop. Given the impact of climate-related disasters on the vulnerable and the poor, the project aims to provide necessary technical and financial support to the Rural Development Unit and the Divi Neguma Department of the Ministry of Economic Development to safeguard the investments made in uplifting the rural livelihoods against climate related disasters and environmental changes.

Continue reading Landmark climate change project launch in Sri Lanka

Protected: UN-ESCAP Capacity Development Training on Drought Monitoring and Early Warning, 17th -21st, February 2014

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Protected: UN-ESCAP Technical Assistance Mission to Sri Lanka on Drought Monitoring Mechanism

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