12/05/2023, 13.44
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COP28: Colombo stands as a candidate for climate change studies

by Arundathie Abeysinghe

At the ongoing UN conference in Dubai, the Sri Lankan president proposed two initiatives: the establishment of the Forum of the Countries of the Global South to exert political weight in the dialogue with the countries of the North, and the creation of a university on the island to work exclusively on the issue of global warming.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Sri Lanka is trying to play a leading role at the UN COP28 climate summit being held until 12 December in Dubai. Scholars believe that Sri Lanka is now one of the top 30 countries in the world where the negative effects of climate change are being felt.

At the ongoing conference in the United Arab Emirates, it was recognised that states within the tropical belt - home to 40 per cent of the world's population - suffer most from the natural disasters caused by the environmental crisis.

This is why the island in the Indian Ocean welcomed the establishment of the Loss & Damage Fund, after 30 years of demands and battles by the Global South, to which the UAE will contribute USD 100 million in addition to the USD 225 million contributed by the European Union, another USD 100 million by Germany, around USD 75 million by the United Kingdom, USD 10 million by Japan, and only USD 17.5 million by the United States.

Sri Lanka is not only looking at repairing the damage done by climate change, but also at ecological transition by focusing on green hydrogen and energy from renewable sources, President Ranil Wickremasinghe told a press conference in Dubai.

The main goal of the country's delegation at COP28 is to collaborate with other tropical belt countries. This is why Colombo has launched plans for a Climate Justice Forum during the conference that aims to address the vital issue of climate change and exert political weight in the dialogue with the countries of the Global North.

President Wickremasinghe, in addition to the presentation of the Forum during the COP, aims to find allies to establish a Climate Change University in Sri Lanka, emphasising the need for scientific studies in this field. Bangladesh, India, Seychelles, Moldova and Burkina Faso have already pledged to support the establishment of this new university.

"The Korea Exim Bank is willing to give us the necessary funds," Presidential Advisor on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardene said in Dubai, without elaborating on the cost of the project as it has yet to be determined. Wijewardene concluded:

'In addition, many institutions and universities, such as Yale at Georgetown in the US, some Chinese research centres, the University of Geneva, some Italian universities, and the University of Gujarat, would be eager to collaborate on our project.

In fact, due to the economic consequences of climate change, Sri Lanka has suffered huge financial losses and is expected to suffer a loss of 1.2 per cent of its gross domestic product due to climate-related issues by 2050.

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