Colombo to be upgraded

“The Metro Colombo Urban Development Project and its successful implementation, together with other initiatives of the Government to develop Colombo, will help transform this city into a truly world class one”, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa said. The government, under the Urban Development Authority (UDA), is planning to upgrade Colombo with new walkways, bridges, sanitation facilities, cleaner beach areas, playgrounds and jogging tracks.Under the Metro Colombo Urban Development Project (MCUDP), the area surrounding Town Hall Square will be improved and the Crow Island Beach and Marine Drive beach will be cleaned and entrance gates will be setup together with a security hut, toilet facilities, parking, a waterfront court, children’s playground and seating arrangements. MCUDP is a USD 223 million World Bank funded three year urban regeneration program aimed at reducing the physical and socioeconomic impacts of flooding in the Metro Colombo region and improving priority local infrastructure and services.“The Metro Colombo Urban Development Project being launched today is a five year long undertaking that comprises three main components. The first main component addresses the various flood and drainage issues that the metro Colombo region suffers from because of its rapid, organic growth during the past several decades. Under this component, the city’s drainage infrastructure, including its micro drainage channels, primary and secondary canals and lakes will be rehabilitated,” Gotabaya Rajapaksa said. (Colombo Gazette) New public toilets will also be opened in close proximity to the Galle Road and other selected locations in the city for the public and tourists. read more

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Nearrecord warm temperatures fuel deadly costly weather events in 2017 – UN

Source: World Meteorological Organization (WMO)“Seventeen of the 18 warmest years on record have all been during this century, and the degree of warming during the past three years has been exceptional,” Mr. Taalas pointed out, stressing: “Arctic warmth has been especially pronounced and this will have profound and long-lasting repercussions on sea levels, and on weather patterns in other parts of the world.” The globally averaged temperature in 2017 was about 0.46°C above the 1981-2010 long-term average of 14.3°C – a 30-year baseline used by national meteorological and hydrological services to assess averages and variability of key climate parameters, which are important for climate-sensitive sectors, such as water management, energy, agriculture and health. Climate also has a naturally occurring variability due to phenomena such as El Niño, which has a warming influence, and La Niña, which has a cooling influence. We need increased levels of ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions combined with concrete actions to reduce disaster risk especially in least developed countries which contribute little to climate change Petteri Taalas“Temperatures tell only a small part of the story. The warmth in 2017 was accompanied by extreme weather in many countries around the world,” Mr. Taalas continued, saying that the United States had its most expensive year ever in terms of weather and climate disasters, “whilst other countries saw their development slowed or reversed by tropical cyclones, floods and drought. In March, WMO will issue its 2017 full Statement on the State of the Climate, which will provide a comprehensive overview of temperature variability and trends, high-impact events, and long-term indicators of climate change such as increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, sea level rise and ocean acidification. The final statement will include information submitted by a wide range of UN agencies on human, socio-economic and environmental impacts as part of a drive to provide a more comprehensive, UN-wide policy brief for decision makers and the Sustainabel Development Goals (SDGs). Mr. Glasser expressed concern that climate change, combined with poverty, eco-systems destruction and inappropriate land use are pushing more people to leave home. “We need increased levels of ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions combined with concrete actions to reduce disaster risk especially in least developed countries which contribute little to climate change,” he underscored. “The long-term temperature trend is far more important than the ranking of individual years, and that trend is an upward one,” Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said. A WMO analysis showed that while measuring 1.2°C above the preindustrial era that 2016 holds the warmest year record, 2017, which measured approximately 1.1° C above the pre-industrial era, was the warmest year without an El Niño, which can boost global annual temperatures. Describing the accelerating pace of climate change as “an existential threat to the planet,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Robert Glasser, said, “A three-year streak of record hot years, each above 1° Celsius, combined with record-breaking economic losses from disasters in 2017 should tell us all that we are facing an existential threat to the planet which requires a drastic response. “We are getting dangerously close to the limit of the 2°C temperature rise set out in the Paris Agreement and the desired goal of 1.5° will be even more difficult to maintain under present levels of greenhouse gas emissions,” he underscored. Recording the same global average temperatures, 2017 and 2015 were virtually indistinguishable because the difference is less than one hundredth of a degree, which is less than the statistical margin of error. read more

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