Nov 01, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa pointing out that people should go along with nature rather than act against it emphasized the need for a new agricultural revolution that is not against nature.
President Rajapaksa made these remarks while addressing a special conference organized by Sri Lanka on the sidelines of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP: 26) in Glasgow, Scotland under the theme "Nitrogen Rediscovery: Climate Change, Solutions and Activities for a Healthy Biodiversity and Cyclical Economy". The conference was held yesterday (31) at 5.00 pm local time.
Emphasizing that the policy framework of his government is sustainable development, the President said that this was clearly reflected in Sri Lanka’s updated national determinations and aspirations for the United Nations Convention on Climate Change.
“The challenge before us is to increase agricultural production without destroying the environment through the use of modern scientific techniques and familiar practices.”
Pointing out that the excessive use of chemical fertilizers is the main reason for the chronic kidney disease that has been a serious problem among farmers in Sri Lanka for decades, the President said that it was in this context that his government took steps to reduce the import of chemical fertilizers and to strongly encourage organic farming.
Although the move has been widely praised, it has drawn criticism and protest. In addition to groups supporting chemical fertilizers, the protests have come from farmers who are accustomed to overuse of fertilizers as an easy way to increase yields, and this is a very unfortunate situation considering Sri Lanka’s rich agricultural heritage, he said.
President Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka’s progressive agenda on the environment is being implemented in the context of resource constraints faced by it as a developing nation. He also pointed out that maintaining such an agenda with development programs is challenging for all developing nations, especially after the Covid epidemic.
President Rajapaksa expressing confidence that the developed countries would extend their fullest support to such nations through development assistance, technology exchange, skills development, investment and financial assistance, mentioned that the businesses have a significant role to play and there should be a significant return on investment in sustainable development.
President Rajapaksa said that all of us living today are the guardians of this planet for future generations and that all should work together to ensure the health benefits by contributing as much as possible. If this is done with the cooperation and support of all, a positive change can be brought about for the people and the planet, he added.
Welcoming the foreign delegates to the conference, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that Sri Lanka has become the first country in the world to decide to transform 100% into green agriculture. He added that the objective is to create a green-socio-economy with sustainable solutions to climate change. Appreciating the discoveries made by all scientists in the past and present, regarding nitrogen, the Minister said that centuries after the discovery of nitrogen, Sri Lanka is also overcoming this challenge.
Anil Jasinghe, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Saroja Sirisena, spoke on "Sri Lanka's Expectations on Climate Resilience and Adaptation to COP 26 and Beyond".