Climate Conscious Development Planning Vital for Sustainable Development

The beginning of the southwest monsoon season has triggered heavy rains causing flash floods and mud slides across several districts across the country. The risk of increased extreme weather events – heavy rainfalls and floods, drought and storms – have become inevitable as consequences of continuous climate change. As a result, Sri Lanka must be climate conscious in all its activities, especially when it comes to development planning.

The annual cycle of floods and droughts causes significant economic and social stresses. This cyclical configuration diminishes the capacities of the families to return to at least their status quo in the long run. The main causes for the adverse impacts due to extreme weather events are ignoring climate change and unsustainable development planning. The most vulnerable districts identified by UNICEF in 2018 for recurrent weather disasters, predominantly the annual monsoons, are Ratnapura, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Anuradhapura, Mullaitivu and Batticaloa. The recent floods caused by the south-west monsoon resulted in human and environmental impacts in other areas including the Gampaha district. Floods are inevitable when there is heavy rain but they cannot be attributed only to climate change but also to poor development planning.

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