UN-REDD+ Project Inception Workshop: Address by the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative
Hon. Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy, Mr. Susil Premjayantha, Secretary to the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy, Mr. B.M.U.D. Basnayake, Distinguished representatives of government, UN and non-governmental organizations.
Ministry of Environment is a long-standing partner of the UN family Sri Lanka. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be part of the sustainable development of Sri Lanka though Ministry led programmes like UN REDD.
As the UN system in Sri Lanka we are pleased that the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN REDD) programme is being initiated in Sri Lanka. As a partner of the Forest Department which is coming under the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy, UN supported Sri Lanka’s integration into the UNREDD programme a couple of years ago. Today we all can be proud of that partnership.
In the post conflict accelerated development of this country, projects like this can provide the country opportunities to ensure the sustainability and resilience of that development and also ways to share the benefits of development with multiple stakeholder groups.
As you may already be aware UN REDD programme will support Sri Lanka to get ready for the REDD+ mechanism which has the potential to provide a range of benefits to the development of Sri Lanka.
As you may already know UNREDD programme in Sri Lanka will be a collaborative effort of three UN agencies. It provides an opportunity to harness the technical strengths and experience of FAO, UNDP and UNEP to the benefit of the country. This is a one of the rare opportunities we have.
By its design, UNREDD requires the active participation of all stakeholder groups – government, UN agencies, Civil Society Organizations, Private Sector and academia in the process – to achieve the success. We firmly believe that partnerships developed through this programme will be beneficial for other initiatives as well.
The tools such as monitoring systems, carbon measurements etc under UNREDD will be helpful in other development areas. For example the project aims to develop a detailed forest inventory and a mechanism to measure the amount of carbon Sri Lanka’s forests can absorb.
At this moment there are nine projects UNDP support the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy to implement. According to the projections there will be 6-7 more projects to come in within next 3-4 years through UNDP and FAO. With all these assistance we trust that Sri Lanka will be able to become a global model in Environmental Management
We also happy to note the Sri Lanka active participation in the global environmental dialogue related to Rio+20, post Kyoto and post 2015 MDG. Hope the added information provided through this project will enhance Sri Lanka knowledge base to contribute to these global platforms better.
I would like to congratulate the Forest Department officials who were instrumental in bringing the REDD program to Sri Lanka by working side by side with UN agencies. Without their commitment and engagement this would have been impossible. I thank the representatives of other government, UN and civil society organizations also for their participation in this meeting.
I also thank UNDP, FAO, UNEP and UNV colleagues –regional advisers and local experts- who worked tirelessly to bring UN REDD into this level.