In a groundbreaking initiative to confront the looming threat of climate change, Sri Lanka successfully concluded its inaugural 'International Climate Change Forum' (ICCF) on November 2-3 in Colombo. The event, organized by 'Connect to Care' for the Presidential Secretariat and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, gathered a diverse array of global experts, policymakers, scientists, and practitioners. Their collective mission was to address critical issues related to climate change, with a specific focus on climate change adaptation within the context of food security.

The first day of the ICCF delved into climate adaptation challenges in Sri Lanka, exploring potential local and global solutions. On the second day, the focus shifted to the development of coordination, project initiatives, and financing mechanisms to effectively tackle these challenges. Notably, the event identified research gaps that will be addressed through the proposed International Climate Change University.

Highlighting the significance of the ICCF, the outcomes of this forum are slated to influence discussions at the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in December 2023 in the UAE. The unique sessions of the ICCF, developed by key agencies working in climate adaptation, converged towards a unified approach.

The President, setting the tone on the first day, underscored Sri Lanka's exceptional biodiversity and relatively low emissions as strengths in building a flourishing green economy. Notable sessions, such as 'Role of the Private Sector in Climate Adaptation' led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and 'Partnership for Scaled Climate Smart Response,' featuring the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), emphasized collaborative approaches to meeting climate adaptation challenges.

The session on 'Technology and Locally Led Adaptation,' a collaborative effort by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), further showcased the depth of engagement and commitment at the ICCF. This pioneering event serves as a beacon of global collaboration and knowledge-sharing in the crucial fight against climate change.

The insightful session on 'Policy and Governance Levers,' orchestrated by the World Bank (WB) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) during the International Climate Change Forum (ICCF), concentrated on the adoption of science-based targets. Key areas of emphasis included Water Quality, Biodiversity, and Natural Capital Accounting, all geared towards fostering climate-smart agriculture. The session was more than a dialogue; it provided actionable solutions aimed at bolstering Sri Lanka's climate resilience.

Day 2 of the ICCF unfolded with a dynamic agenda, beginning with the FAO's workshop on 'Climate Smart & Sustainable and Inclusive Agriculture in Sri Lanka.' Envisioned as a multi-stakeholder endeavor, this workshop laid the groundwork for collaborative efforts to navigate the intricate landscape of sustainable agriculture. Following suit was the USAID's workshop on 'Partnerships and Synergies to Mainstream Climate Smart Technologies in Agriculture Value Chains,' setting the stage for collaborative approaches to integrating climate-smart technologies within agricultural value chains.

The crescendo of Day 2 was the workshop organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on 'Climate financing opportunities, including carbon markets as a means for convergence.' This session delved into the financial landscape, exploring avenues for climate financing and the potential role of carbon markets in fostering convergence.

A distinctive feature of the ICCF was its multi-stakeholder approach, fostering collaboration among agencies dedicated to supporting Sri Lanka in climate adaptation. This approach facilitated the sharing of experiences, lessons learned, and the formulation of a common mechanism for future work. The emphasis on resource mobilization underscored the commitment to pooling collective knowledge and efforts, ensuring a unified front in addressing the challenges posed by climate change. The ICCF not only provided a platform for discourse but paved the way for tangible actions, aligning diverse stakeholders toward a shared vision of a climate-resilient future for Sri Lanka.

In conclusion, the International Climate Change Forum (ICCF) in Sri Lanka emerged as a pivotal platform for addressing the pressing challenges posed by climate change. The sessions, notably the 'Policy and Governance Levers' organized by the World Bank (WB) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), laid a robust foundation for adopting science-based targets, with a particular focus on Water Quality, Biodiversity, and Natural Capital Accounting to promote climate-smart agriculture.

The dynamic workshops on Day 2, orchestrated by FAO, USAID, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), showcased a multi-stakeholder approach to advancing sustainable and inclusive agriculture, fostering partnerships for climate-smart technologies, and exploring climate financing opportunities, including the role of carbon markets.

A unique feature of the ICCF was its ability to bring together diverse agencies, each committed to supporting Sri Lanka in climate adaptation. This collaborative spirit facilitated the sharing of experiences and the formulation of a collective mechanism for future work. The emphasis on policy refinement, institutional reviews, and the development of provincial and national adaptation strategies underscored a commitment to actionable solutions that enhance Sri Lanka's climate resilience.

As the forum concluded, it left a lasting impression as more than a space for dialogue; it paved the way for tangible actions, aligning stakeholders toward a shared vision of a climate-resilient future for Sri Lanka. The ICCF not only provided insights and strategies but also fostered a sense of unity and purpose in the face of the complex challenges posed by climate change. The outcomes of this forum will undoubtedly contribute to the ongoing global efforts to address climate change, leaving an enduring impact on Sri Lanka's journey towards sustainability and resilience.