UN-HABITAT Workshop Focuses on Climate Change and Decentralization in Asia and Pacific

UN-HABITAT29 May 2012: The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) organized a two-day workshop on Climate Change and Decentralization in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The workshop aimed at identifying strategies for better decentralization of climate change action and focused on how climate change initiatives can be improved through localized participatory approaches and multi-level governance.

Opening the workshop, Anura Priydarshana Yapa, Sri Lankan Minister of Environment, highlighted the current impacts of climate change in his country, including soil erosion, land degradation, pollution of inland waters, loss of biodiversity and depletion of coastal resources. He acknowledged the support provided by UN-HABITAT in the formulation of the National Climate Change Policy.

Laxman Perera, UN-HABITAT Country Programme Manager, stressed that densely populated and developed areas face the biggest impacts of climate change and noted that in Sri Lanka, large portion of the economic infrastructure are concentrated in coastal cities, which are vulnerable to climate change impacts.

UN-HABITAT underscores that its flagship publication, "Cities and Climate Change: Global Report on Human Settlements, 2011," warns that unless sustainable action is taken to mitigate and respond to climate change issues at global, national and local levels, there will be an increase in the number of environmental refugees worldwide by the year 2050.

The workshop was organized in collaboration with the Management Resources for Good Governance (MaRGG) and the Ministry of Environment of Sri Lanka. It brought together over 60 decision makers and practitioners from Sri Lanka, as well as representatives from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Pacific Islands countries, and Viet Nam. [UN-HABITAT Press Release]