#ADBSustainableFood Webinar Series #2 - Responses to Food Insecurity in Sri Lanka

Description

Sri Lanka is facing multiple crises. Among them, the one hitting its population where it hurts the most is food insecurity. As per UN World Food Program’s (WFP) report in July 2022, two in five Sri Lankan households are not consuming adequate diets.

Since mid-2020, food prices worldwide have been consistently rising. The pandemic, and subsequently, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have exacerbated food inflation and increased the cost of importing food. Similarly, increased crude oil prices as well as the disruption in fertilizer supplies have raised fertilizer prices. Sri Lanka’s dwindling foreign currency reserves in the aftermath of reduced tourist inflows due to the pandemic, further compounded by tax cuts has led to a precarious fiscal position. In this backdrop, importing food and fertilizer is a challenge for Sri Lanka.

As an emergency response, international organizations have begun humanitarian programs targeting the country’s vulnerable segments. The WFP has already been distributing food vouchers to pregnant women in underserved districts of Colombo. Further, FAO and WFP are closely monitoring the food security situation in Sri Lanka and have just concluded a Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM). Asian Development Bank, upon the request of the government of Sri Lanka is preparing an emergency assistance package in close coordination with the World Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, IMF, and the United Nations agencies.

Moreover, Sri Lanka faces significant threat from climate change. Without appropriate adaptative action, high temperatures and rainfall are likely to put downward pressure on agricultural yields, negatively impacting national and household food security. Sri Lanka is richly endowed with natural capital and its economy significantly depends upon it. Hence, a long-term strategy of combining climate smart agriculture with nature-based solutions enhanced by the adoption of digital technology is, perhaps, the best way forward.

ADB joins six other International Financial Institutions to address food security, which includes the African Development Bank (AfDB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). ADB is also working to establish a food security support program to mobilize more resources to promote food security and resilience of food system.

Objectives

The webinar invites expert speakers from the World Food Program, Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations Development Program, and Asian Development Bank to share their perspectives on the food security situation in Sri Lanka, short-term responses from IFIs, and potential long-term solutions. The webinar aims to:

  • Discuss the genesis, evolution, and the impact of the food security crisis in Sri Lanka
  • Exchange ideas on appropriate responses and brainstorm on practical solutions
  • Discuss potential pathways for promoting climate-resilient agriculture and nature-based solutions to achieve long-term food security.

Target participants

The event invites representatives from the following organizations engaged in agriculture, natural resources, and rural development:

  • government and intergovernmental organizations
  • multilateral and bilateral development institutions
  • private firms engaged in the agriculture and food business
  • research and development institutions, think tanks, and centers of excellence
  • NGOs, civil society, and advocacy organizations other individuals and organizations interested and/or engaged in agriculture and natural resources

Resource speakers

Moderator: Qingfeng Zhang, Chief of Rural Development and Food Security (Agriculture) Thematic Group, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, ADB

Opening remarks:

  • Kenichi Yokoyama, Director General, South Asia Department, ADB
  • Bruno Carrasco, Director General concurrently Chief Compliance Officer, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, ADB

Discussants:

  • Susana Moreno, World Food Programme
  • Cristina Coslet, Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Vimlendra Sharan, Food and Agriculture Organization Representative for Sri Lanka and Maldives
  • Abdurrahim Siddiqui, Representative and Country Director, World Food Programme, Sri Lanka
  • Sanath Ranawana, Principal Water Resources Specialist, South Asia Department, ADB
  • H.D. Sudarshana A. Javasundara, Senior Social Development Officer (Gender), South Asia Department, ADB
  • Martin Lemoine, Unit Head, Agribusiness Investment Team, Private Sector Operations Department, ADB
  • Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, UN Resident Coordinator, United Nations Country Team, Sri Lanka

Closing remarks: Chen Chen, Country Director, Sri Lanka Resident Mission, South Asia Department, ADB

How to register

Register via Zoom to join.
Meeting ID: 949 1139 8754 | Password: RDFSWS2022

Costs

Attendance is free for this online event.

Event organizers / partners

ADB’s Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department

Event Contact

  • Narayan IYER (Mr.) Senior Natural Resources and Agriculture Specialist (Agribusiness) Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department Asian Development Bank +632 8632 5765 E-mail contact form