Cooperation with South Asia will Help Sri Lanka Ensure Food Security – Dr Asanka Wijesinghe

12 May 2022

IPS Research Fellow Dr Asanka Wijesinghe said that close cooperation with South Asian countries will help Sri Lanka address its food security and climate change challenges. Dr Wijesinghe was speaking at a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Washington-based Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center on ‘Rising sea levels and the climate crisis in Bangladesh, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka’. Dr Wijesinghe discussed the impact of climate change on Sri Lanka’s food security, the importance of climate change adaptation, and prospects for energy sharing in the South Asian region.

He pointed out that climate change affects Sri Lanka’s household welfare and food security through yield loss in food crops like rice, reducing export revenue from yield loss in plantation crops such as tea, and negatively impacting aggregate output. He underscored that climate change adaptation is necessary while channelling funds to mitigation, and compensating affected producers and consumers. Additionally, market-based instruments like crop insurance can reduce the fiscal burden of governments.

He emphasised that integration into the global market is necessary as surplus regions can feed deficient areas through international trade. Empirical evidence points to lower welfare loss of climate change in an integrated world. The South Asian region can share the technology required for climate change adaptation, while researchers can collaborate to influence policy outcomes through evidence-based research. He cautioned that protectionist trade policies like local content requirements might reduce the competitiveness of green energy technologies in the region and impede investments in the sector.

Dr Athaulla Rasheed, Doctoral Researcher, Australian National University, Canberra; Sirazoom Munira Silvy, Program Officer, Climate Vulnerable Forum, Support to CVF Presidency of GoB; and Dr Kumar Biswajit Debnath, Research Associate, Hub for Biotechnology in Built Environment, Newcastle University, UK were the other panellists at the discussion. Dr Rudabeh Shahid, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center moderated the discussion.

Watch the full discussion HERE.