Raid assessing CC risks to coastal cities


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) with the Commonwealth secretariat are in the process of conducting a rapid assessment of the risks posed by climate change to coastal cities. The whole exercise is being coordinated under the Commonwealth Blue Charter. The Stimson Center has created a 100 item index called the Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index (CORVI) as a decision support tool to improve responses through data-driven resilience. The indicators are in ten categories (climate, ecosystems, economics, fisheries, governance, geology and water, infrastructure, major industries, stability, social/demographic) and takes approximately a year to populate. Since we are a decent bunch of people who like to help out the world, Sri Lanka is lab ratting a rapid assessment version of this where the number of indices is recued to 30 and the duration to six months. The MFA team is headed up by Hasanthi Dissanayake (Acting Additional Secretary/Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate Change) and Dr. Sevvandi Jayakody (University of Sabaragamuwa/EFL) is heading up the research exercise. Two workshops were held in rapid succession to determine the best list of indicators from the full list of 100 with a pretty lively conversation on the various aspects. Key issues discussed were the relevance of the specific indices to Sri Lanka and the coastal cities of the western province in particular where the work will be done, the rationale for cutting the number of indicators by 70% while cutting the duration by 50%. Willy nilly, the formidable gathering of thinkers and officials from state, academic, civil society and commonwealth fought through the whole job lot and came up with a final listing. Much to be done as Dr. Sevvandi noted but well, it’s a start.

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