Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that climate change will play an enormous role in shaping ecosystems and livelihoods in Sri Lanka in the decades to come and it is essential to build awareness and resilience to mitigate the adverse effects on ecosystem.
He said this at a meeting with Dr Tony Simons, Director General, World Agroforestry (ICRAF: International Center for Research and Agroforestry) at the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday. “For centuries, Sri Lanka has skillfully harnessed the power of nature through traditional agroforestry practices, and it can set an example by continuing to place a high priority on addressing environmental, food security and social development issues,”Dr Simons said.
ICRAF Director General thanked the Prime Minister for the confidence, trust and status bestowed on ICRAF by the Sri Lankan Government in hosting ICRAF in Sri Lanka. “We are excited at the prospect of supporting the Government of Sri Lanka in a new phase of renewal and green infrastructure development, leveraging on the human, natural and social capital that this beautiful country has in abundance," he said.
Mr Laksiri Abeysekera, Interim Country Director, Sri Lanka said the ICRAF has experience of developing smallholder farmer-focused innovations and technologies that would be offered to adapt to Sri Lankan needs to support livelihoods and improve ecosystem resilience in the face of various kinds of challenges. A low-hanging fruit is improving farmer-centred soil diagnostics in this regard, he said.
Dr Simons explained that the Host Country Agreement signed with Sri Lanka offers ICRAF even more scope – and responsibility – to contribute to Sri Lanka’s development agenda by supporting local expertise with the latest in agricultural science. “We stand ready to assist the government, institutions and people of Sri Lanka in creating a greener and more vibrant future for all,” he said.
Anura Dissanayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr Ravi Prabhu, Deputy Director General of ICRAF and Javed Rizvi, CIFOR-ICRAF Director for Asia also took part in the discussion.