Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Taking Forward the Climate Change Discussion in Sri Lanka

By Athula Senaratne
Research Fellow and Head, Environmental Economic Policy Unit - IPS

The IPS commenced its climate change research programme three years ago with the support of a UNESCO partnership programme. From the outset, we assessed our strengths on how we can make a productive contribution to the emerging field of climate change research in the country.   Despite the increasing research on various aspects of the subject, we recognized that there is a gap in policy dialogue on issues that are emanating from the findings of research.   So we decided to fill this gap by opening a dialogue on climate change policy which is accessible to, and participated by, other concerned stakeholders.

The first milestone of this process was a national workshop held at Dambulla in 2009 with the participation of a number of scholars, researchers, and policy makers (http://www.ips.lk/events/workshops/19_8_09_climate_change/more_detail.html). This web portal you are now on, ClimateNet, is another milestone of the climate change research programme of the IPS.  Our hope is to make it an important source of climate policy research in Sri Lanka as well as in the region. We first announced about ClimateNet  in Dambulla and allocated a short session to elaborate our vision.  Participants were invited to offer their views and all their inputs were given due consideration in designing ClimateNet.
ClimateNet is primarily intended to serve the purpose of a platform for policy dialogue on climate change issues in Sri Lanka and the South Asian region. We hope this will serve as a repository of information on climate change issues in Sri Lanka that is open for scholars, policymakers, and the public.  We will update our Resources page regularly with important materials on the subject so that concerned parties can find a reliable source on climate change issues on Sri Lanka.  ClimateNet will also bring in news and information on important developments in the field on a regular basis.  This will be achieved through developing an extensive network with other important stakeholders. ClimateNet will provide a forum for exchange of ideas among relevant stakeholders through blogging.  Perhaps, this may be the most important of all. We initially launch this activity with invited guest contributions in addition to contributions by IPS staff members.  However, we expect to open up for more unrestricted forms of exchange in the future as we acquire more experience and resources.

Despite the fact that IPS has taken the initiative of launching the ClimateNet, we do not wish to assume a role more than one 'stakeholder' among many. Climate change is a complex issue and complex issues involve many stakeholders. Solutions for such issues also cannot be found without the participation of all stakeholders. It needs frequent exchange of information and ideas among   stakeholders and ClimateNet is designed purely to facilitate this process. This is the underlying principle of all activities involved with the ClimateNet.

Therefore, ClimateNet belongs to all stakeholders who are involved in the climate change issues and you are welcome to contribute to the goals of this venture.  You can make your contribution through providing us with useful materials that can be stored in Resources page, sending us important information to be published in News page or by sharing your valuable opinions and ideas on the Blog*.  Not limiting to that, you can also send us your suggestions on how we can improve and develop ClimateNet so that it would serve its purpose even better in the future.

We hope you will continue to visit, and we look forward to engaging with you in the future.

*ClimateNet blog content (including external contributions and comments) will be subject to Terms of Use set by the IPS."

The writer, Dr. Athula Senaratne is a Research Fellow and the Head of the Environmental Economic Policy Unit at the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS)