Leading to Sri Lanka’s, ‘Youth in Climate Action Virtual Conference’ planned across two days on 28 and 29 October, Maarya Rehman, Country Director, British Council had the honour of meeting His Excellency President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on 6 October in the presence of High Commissioner, Sarah Hulton. The meeting was arranged to present the President with the findings of our Global Youth Letter on Climate Action, and to highlight the work the British Council is doing to support the UK government’s aim to make COP26 the most inclusive ever – by amplifying the voice of young people in climate action.
It proved to be an extremely successful meeting with His Excellency being impressed and appreciative of the climate work carried out in country in collaboration with the FCDO. The meeting opened up a long overdue conversation that will lead to further opportunities and collaboration with the Sri Lanka government to engage with the youth. The President will be attending the Leader’s summit, heading the Sri Lankan delegation, and he voiced his particular concern that climate literacy / awareness is low amongst the most disadvantaged, something he felt we were addressing through our work in leadership skills for young people and English language teaching resources. The launch event expects to see a number of high stake ministers joining the conversation.
We are excited to see the Sri Lankan young people have their signatures on our Global Youth Letter so far, calling on world leaders for urgent action. The British Council Sri Lanka has a number of projects planned as part of the Climate Connection programme. Youth engagement and our youth leadership programme will continue to remain the main vehicle for addressing climate change issues at the community level, bringing positive change to society at large. Through our overall scope of work in Sri Lanka in the English, Education and Arts areas we aim to actively contribute to the local National Action Plan for climate action at a policy level.