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Sri Lanka remains committed to President Rajapaksa’s goal of achieving 80% renewable energy by 2030, State Minister for Regional Co-operation Tharaka Balasuriya reaffirmed to UK’s Regional Ambassador for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference Ken O’Flaherty during a virtual discussion on October 27. In a media statement, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry stated that the discussion was held in light of the UK hosting the The 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in 2021.The UN Conference, initially scheduled for November 2020, was postponed to November 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foreign Ministry also stated in the release that such collaborations were important because the actions of each country will have an overarching impact on the entire globe. 

In light of Sri Lanka being ranked the 6th most vulnerable country in the world to the adverse impact of climate change in the Global Climate Risk Index 2020, the State Minister highlighted initiatives adopted by Sri Lanka to promote climate resilience by reducing greenhouse gases through conservation of mangroves, wetlands and forests. Plans to promote climate-friendly transport systems through green financing which would support the design and manufacture of electric vehicles by young Sri Lankan entrepreneurs was also discussed. The minister emphasized Sri Lanka’s commitment to address marine plastic pollution as well as the need to develop facilities to recycle plastic litter with a focus on coastal cities. 

Ambassador O’Flaherty stated that he appreciated Sri Lanka’s green initiatives, including the ongoing collaboration between the UK and Sri Lanka under the Commonwealth Litter Programme (CLiP) which focuses on addressing the impact of micro plastics through collaboration in research, enhancing capacity for analysis by strengthening laboratory facilities and public awareness campaigns. He further commended Sri Lanka’s leading role in the Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Group on Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihoods and advocating to halve the world’s Nitrogen waste by 2030, through the Colombo Declaration on Sustainable Nitrogen Management.

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