COP26 Regional Ambassador commends Sri Lanka’s commitments on renewable energy and climate action

The COP26 Regional Ambassador for the Asia-Pacific and South Asia Ken O’Flaherty congratulated Sri Lanka for timely submission of its updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) with ambitious commitments on renewable energy and net zero carbon, as well as a pledge for “no more coal.”

He reiterated that the commitment at the highest level of policy making is the strength behind such ambitious commitments and it would no doubt bring wide accolades to Sri Lanka.

Ambassador O’Flaherty also stated that there are a wide range of opportunities for countries when they submit NDCs with clear ambitious targets, not only for climate financing grants, but also for attracting foreign investors who are increasingly focusing on countries with clear de-carbonizing mechanisms in their policies. He reiterated that overall Net Zero Carbon by 2050 is an important target accepted by an increasing number of countries.

Ambassador O’ Flaherty made these comments when he called on Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Parliament. COP 26 Regional Ambassador for Asia-Pacific Ken O’ Flaherty visited Sri Lanka from 5th - 9th August 2021. The visit was organized by the High Commission of UK in Colombo in liaise with the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Environment of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s progressive initiatives to mitigate climate change impacts, including President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s initiative “Towards a Green Socio-Economic Pattern with Sustainable Solutions to Climate Change,” Sri Lanka’s engagement with the Commonwealth Blue Charter by championing the Action Group on Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihoods (MELAG) as well as actively participating in eight other Action Groups within the Blue Charter covering other areas, and the Mangrove Caretaker Programme launched with the British High Commission in Colombo were highlighted by Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena during the discussion.

The Foreign Minister also extended an invitation to COP26 Presidency Alok Sharma to visit Sri Lanka. He also thanked the Government of UK for assistance being offered to Sri Lanka through the Blue Planet Fund’s Ocean Country Partnership Programme. The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is due to take place in November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland and the United Kingdom holds the COP26 Presidency.

During the discussions, the importance of the visit amidst global challenges due to COVID-19 and the gesture of goodwill by the British government in being the first country to come forward with specific assistance when the MV Pearl X-Press vessel disaster happened on 20th May 2021, was also appreciated by the Sri Lankan side.