Speech by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the “ World Leaders Summit of COP26″, UN Climate Change Conference, Scotland, UK – 01 November 2021


This event takes place at a critical time for humanity.

As a developing tropical island nation with abundant biodiversity, Sri Lanka is deeply aware of the impacts of climate change.

Our rich philosophical heritage, shaped by Lord Buddha’s teachings, places great value on environmental integrity.

Sustainability is therefore at the heart of our national policy framework.

Sri Lanka’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions aims to reduce emissions towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

We have prioritised enhancing national forest cover, with initiatives underway to increase our carbon sequestration capacity by 7% by 2030.

We will increase contribution of renewable energy sources to 70% of national energy needs by 2030 and are taking steps to phase out use of fossil fuels.

Sri Lanka is also proud to be a co-lead of the “Global Energy Compact for No New Coal Power”.

Sri Lanka recently restricted imports of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and weedicides due to public health concerns, water contamination, soil degradation, and biodiversity impacts.

Although opposed by entrenched lobbies, this has created opportunities for innovation and investment into organic agriculture that will be healthier and more sustainable in future.

Reactive nitrogen emissions from overuse of artificial fertilizer is a major contributor to climate change.

In 2019 Sri Lanka spearheaded the Colombo Declaration on Sustainable Nitrogen Management, which seeks to halve Nitrogen waste by 2030.

We look forward to more countries joining this initiative.

Sri Lanka also leads the Action Group on Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihoods under the Commonwealth Blue Charter initiative.

Sri Lanka welcomes investments, technology transfers, and climate financing for its ambitious sustainability efforts, along with broader development assistance to support recovery from the COVID19 pandemic.

Climate change affects all nations, but disproportionately impacts developing island nations.

Developing nations that take bold steps towards climate change mitigation and adaptation deserve extensive support.

It is essential that the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases fulfil their national commitments and assist developing nations navigate through the climate crisis.

I call upon all nations to work together in a spirit of true cooperation to overcome this crisis and sustain humanity and our planet.

Thank you.