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(Eng. Gamini Senanayake speaking on sustainable consumption and production)

An awareness creation and capacity building workshop for journalists and communicators on Sustainable Consumption and Production and Climate Change was held on the 6thof March 2018 at the Kingsbury Hotel by SWITCH-Asia Sustainable Consumption and Production National Policy Support Component for Sri Lanka, Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Sri Lanka Press Institute, SLYCAN Trust and Meatless Monday Sri Lanka.

Many journalists and media personnel from around the country participated at the workshop along with key speakers and experts from the field of sustainable consumption and production (SCP). The workshop consisted of presentations on the importance of food choices and its direct impact to climate change while highlighting the need for mindful and sustainable consumption which is possible by shifting to meatless lifestyle patterns.

Mr. Mapa Pathirana, Add. Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment highlighted the importance of sustainable consumption and production patterns and the need for the optimal use of limited natural resources in the context of climate change.

“We have to think globally while we act locally, concentrating on the use of limited natural resources in an optimal way of protecting our environment by moving towards sustainable lifestyles”, said Mr. Pathirana.

Eng. Gamini Senanyake, who is the key expert to the SWITCH–Asia Sustainable Consumption and Production National Policy Component (SCP NPSC) speaking at the event said, “SCP is a holistic approach to minimise the negative environmental impacts from consumption and production systems while promoting quality of life for all.” 

He highlighted that it is important to conserve natural resources in order to ensure that there is enough for the future and promote a shift in consumption towards products with lower energy and materials intensity. Eng. Gamini Senanyaka noted that to achieve this it is important to reduce waste during the processes of extraction, production, consumption and disposal.

Ms. Vositha Wijenayake, the Country Director of Humane Society International for Sri Lanka, and the Executive Director of SLYCAN Trust, spoke on the importance of shifting to sustainable lifestyles. The farm animal industry is one of the key contributors to climate change, and our food choices which reduce our consumption of meat products is a step towards sustainable development.

“Livestock supply chains are among the most significant contributors to climate change as they represent 14.5 percent of human-induced GHG emissions. It is important to shift towards a more sustainable lifestyle. By adopting meatless food, or cutting down our meat consumption, we shift to sustainable food choices which are climate friendly, as well as cruelty free,” said Ms. Wijenayake.

(Ms. Vositha Wijenayake speaking on the need to shift to sustainable food choices)

The last session of the conference consisted of a group activity for the purpose of coming up with possible recommendations on what are the best methods of taking the message of shifting to sustainable consumption and production patterns to the general public. The media personnel were divided into groups representing each respective media channel to brainstorm on the possible methods to carry forward the above message. The print media identified that it is important to present articles on topics such as these, with accountable figures so that the reader would understand the severity of the current situation if actions are not being done to change it. The electronic media stressed on the importance of getting the message across through attractive advertisements and to have information bulletins going under popular TV programs in order to reach a wider audience.

The conference was a huge success and it ended by highlighting the need to implement the recommendations that were identified to shift to a more sustainable and humane Sri Lanka.