Sri Lanka and Maldives commit to champion water vulnerability at UN 2023 Water Conference

26 March, 2023

At the well-attended dialogue, Sri Lanka and the Maldives highlighted critical challenges on climate change and water faced by Small Island Developing States. The discussion underscored the importance of collaboration whenlobbying for concrete commitments towards solving these challenges, atthe upcoming UN 2023 Water Conference.

The Climate Envoy for Maldives, Ms. Sabra Noordeen stressed the dire issue of water vulnerabilityin the Maldives,expressing the needfor urgent action to reduce the global water crisis.

The President’s Advisor on Environment, Climate Change and Green Finance Dr. Mallawatantri supported thisstandpoint, highlightingSri Lanka’s issues. Although rich in water resources, inadequate protection and management adversely affects the availability of quality water,and preservation of water sources through optimum management isa priority for Sri Lanka.

The Dutch Envoy for Water Affairs, Ovink addressing the forum onlinesaid that “these challenges will be discussed at thewater conference, whichpresented a unique opportunity to share challenges and best practices, leading to collective action and solutions for the water crisis.”

Dr. Mark Smith, Director General, IWMI called for “bolder changes to ensure water security” as water scarcity rapidly increases. He outlined eight missions for science-based action for a water secure future, to be collaboratively achieved with other stakeholders.

Ambassador for the Netherlands Bonnie Horbach called for cohesive action that “went beyond promises, stating thatclimate change and water issues transcend boundaries acutely affecting many countries, including the Netherlands.”

She encouraged participants to share knowledge and expertiseto achieve imperativechangesfor a secure planet.

The dialogue hadparticipants from all sectors who had opportunity foran interactive discussionwith the speakers and an eminent panel comprising Ms. Priyanka Dissanayake of the World Bank, Leel Randeni, Director Climate Change Secretariat of Sri Lanka and IWMI’s Dr. Nishadi Eriyagama.

The UN 2023 Water Conference will be held from 22-24 March in New York and aims to bring aboutfirm commitments to deliver on water actions in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These actions will also contribute towards outcomes of the COP28.

– Sunday Observer Sri Lanka

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