7.4 Environmentally Sustainable Development

Every citizen has a responsibility in contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change for the sake of future generations. Our vision is to work with and for all Sri Lankans to realise environmentally sustainable development that will ensure a healthy environment that supports a liveable and prosperous country. Our policy will comply with sustainable development goals 2030 and will be dependent upon strong government action.

Leveraging good environmental performance across community, private and state sectors for protecting people and environment is needed for preventing and reducing harm caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Creating social awareness about the state of the environment and ensuring shared responsibility with civil society for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will assist this process. The Central Environment Authority of Sri Lanka will be a trusted source of advice and will work together with the populace in addressing the complex issues arising from their work.

Targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be set up according to the 2015 Paris Agreement that Sri Lanka is a signatory to, of which the primary goal is to limit the rise in global temperature to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. With the effects of global warming becoming acute, further resilience will be needed to achieve these targets. As air pollution is a health hazard, we will contemplate a carbon tax from heavy air polluting industries and transfer that revenue to the national health budget.

Infrastructure projects are major contributors to global warming. Thus, those projects will provide the key to fighting it. Reducing the carbon footprint of an infrastructure project will bring material, energy and labour efficiencies due to savings from design to decommissioning. A core part of the mission at leadership level of infrastructure management will be sustainability. To avoid any misunderstandings and cost blow outs, a common sustainability policy reflecting procurement requirements needs to be established.

One strategy for greenhouse gas emissions reduction would be to make its management a mandatory pre-condition for approving any infrastructure project and also to incorporate sustainability assessment schemes as a direct procurement requirement. Greenhouse gas management is not just a functional methodology, but it also requires the value chain to work together. This will commit contractors and suppliers to achieving reduction targets. Another strategy would be to enable investment in more energy-efficient and low-carbon transport solutions.

We will introduce climate-friendly building projects that will reduce environmental impact of buildings by targeting water-saving and energy-efficient initiatives. Coal and energy intensive infrastructure will be phased out with the use of more climate-friendly technologies.

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