Innovation is a necessity to combat climate change

The Climate Change Secretariat of the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment together with Biodiversity Sri Lanka hosted a Capacity Building Workshop on Climate Change Technology Development and Transfer with the concurrence of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and the support of Dilmah Conservation.

The capacity building workshop was conducted by Mr. Rajiv Garg, Network and Capacity Building Manager at CTCN, the operational arm of the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism and it is hosted and managed by United Nations Environment Programme.Dr. Jayathunga, Director of the Climate Change Secretariat opened the workshop on behalf of the

Dr. Jayathunga, Director of the Climate Change Secretariat opened the workshop on behalf of the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment and while welcoming the participants, identified the objectives of the workshop.

Mr. Theja Dharmaratne, presented the opening remarks on behalf of Biodiversity Sri Lanka in his capacity as an Alternate Director of BSL. In his remarks, he expressed how being a member of the private sector, the contribution of same to adverse impacts of climate change has been tremendous and as such, the private sector should take immediate measures to combat same. Best practices such as the Climate Research Station on Queensberry Estate being built by Dilmah Conservation which is the first of its kind, is illustrative of the private sector’s commitment to combating the effects of climate change.

Mr. Dharmaratne also noted that at the government level, initiative needs to be taken to address the lack of awareness on the contributing factors to and the consequences of climate change at the grass- root levels.

Mr. Garg commenced the workshop with an introduction to the CTCN and its purpose of operation as well as the services the Secretariat offers. The objective of the CTCN is primarily to provide developing countries with innovative technologies on climate change adaptation and mitigation and capacity building as well as facilitate funding to bring about this technology transfer. Stressing on the CTCN’s role in helping developing countries come forward and providing these countries with the resources to take action against climate change.

Engaging the audience, Mr. Garg raised the question on what the definition of technology is. As commonly misconstrued, he stated that technology is not in fact a piece of tangible equipment, but rather, it is more of an innovative concept which is not always tangible. As such, he stated that technology is availed by the right policy environment created by the government, the right skills which arise from capacity building, the right supply chain which takes into account everyone from the producer to the end-user, an innovative idea and the right institution such as the Climate Change Secretariat and Biodiversity Sri Lanka which invariably encourage technology development.

Further to this, Mr. Garg stressed that innovation is anything ‘new’ which includes an existing technology with the minutest change which makes its use easier and more beneficial. Mr. Garg also expressed that innovation arises from an open mind and analyzing the need for new technologies or gaps in existing technologies. Considering the large skills base within the private sector, Mr. Garg expressed that innovation best arises from this environment. As such the CTCN and the Green Climate Fund (the financing mechanism of the UNFCC) provides a mechanism which aims to revolutionize and make entire sectors and countries more responsible in terms of tackling the issues of climate change. A third technical session was held as an interactive round table where Mr. Garg explained in detail the process of developing a proposal to present to the CTCN for technical assistance. He stressed that the ideal place for the private sector to start would be to identify project ideas based on the Technology Needs Assessment produced by the Climate Change Secretariat in 2014. Based on this, project ideas can be developed and upon approval by the Climate Change Secretariat, the CTCN will submit the proposal to a review process upon which technical advice will be provided to perfect the proposal which would increase the chances of the CTCN accepting the proposal and providing aid to the requesting party in implementing the project. A number of example project ideas from around Asia were shown and Mr. Garg reiterated that as Sri Lanka is yet to submit proposals, he believes that following this capacity building workshop, project proposals from Sri Lanka would be expected by CTCN in the near future.

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