Sri Lanka secures USD38mn to strengthen resilience of smallholder famers

At the 13th Board Meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the main international funding body for climate action, USD 38.1 million was approved in funding for Sri Lanka for its proposal titled Strengthening the Resilience of Smallholder Famers in the Dry Zone to Climate Variability and Extreme Events in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s proposal, prepared by the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will enable the Government to implement integrated solutions to water management. The project aims to achieve higher levels of food, livelihood and water security for communities in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka. GCF resources will therefore be invested in improving the community irrigation water infrastructure and associated agricultural practices, scaling-up decentralized drinking water systems and strengthening Early Warning, forecasting and water management systems to enhance the livelihood and resilience of smallholder farmers, particularly women, from climate related impacts.

The resources will allow assistance to be provided to 910,000 people in three river basins – Malwatu Oya, Yan Oya and Mi Oya – who are vulnerable to climate change. Moreover, around 712,000 people living in the same areas will indirectly benefit from the project.

Under this project, which will be implemented from 2017 to 2024, UNDP will work with a number of government institutions to support the Government of Sri Lanka to deliver the project and measure its impacts.

H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, President and Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment, speaking about the GCF proposal stated, “I am well aware of the impact of changing seasons, increased floods and droughts and high temperatures are affecting the lives and livelihoods of poor, conflict-affected farmers in the Dry Zone. In this regard, I am pleased that Sri Lanka has received this funding so as a nation we can take immediate climate related action and support the Dry Zone communities. My Ministry looks forward to working closely with UNDP and other partners to achieve this goal.”

Speaking about UNDP’s support on this Project, Peter Batchelor, Resident Representative a.i. of UNDP Sri Lanka stated, “This is a significant milestone for Sri Lanka. UNDP has supported the Government of Sri Lanka for nearly five decades and we quite pleased to have contributed to securing the largest ever proposal to be approved. We continue to work closely with the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment to develop and implement projects and programmes on environmental protection, climate change, biodiversity and forestry. UNDP now remains committed to implement the GCF project together with the Government to protect the farmers in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka.”

Further to the grant from the GCF, the Government of Sri Lanka will leverage Government co-financing amounting to USD 14 million for this project to address several financial, technical, and institutional barriers related to achieving integrated water management to improve agriculture-based livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the Dry Zone.

In addition to Sri Lanka’s proposal, the Board approved 8 other proposals. Among these are proposals from El Salvador, Armenia, Gambia, Mali, Vietnam, Tajikistan/Uzbekistan, Tuvalu and Chile. The USD 38.1million fund to Sri Lanka, unanimously approved by the GCF Board, is the first time that Sri Lanka has received funding from the Green Climate Fund. (UNDP Press Release)