Coping with climate change and variability: lessons from Sri Lankan communities
Across Sri Lanka, climate change related weather aberrations and resultant extreme weather events are becoming increasingly common. While this affects the country at large, farmers and agricultural workers face the worst impacts of this variability. The increased frequency of flood and drought incidence in the last ten years has caused severe hardship to poor farmers across Sri Lanka. The Small Grants Programme of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF SGP) in Sri Lanka with the financial assistance from Australian AID implemented a number of Community Based Adaptation (CBA) initiatives during 2010 to 2014 seeking solutions to some of the impacts of climate change. These projects could be considered among the country’s first scientifically designed responses to manage risks of climate change-induced changes: to weather patterns and natural resources depletion. In the design and implementation of these projects, GEF SGP attempted to improve livelihood resilience and ensure water and food security to communities at risk by directly engaging in aspects of science, technology and research. The combination of laying a scientific basis for the interventions, implementation of projects through community based organizations and the engagement of local government actors strengthened the delivery of project targets, and laid the foundation for their eventual sustainability. This publication is an attempt to capture the lessons and document the important challenges faced during the five years of project implementation, which is important to improve the country’s strategic focus on adaptation to climate change.