Policy coherence for resilience in Sri Lanka coherence of climate change adaptation (CCA) disaster risk reduction (DRR) and sustainable development goals (SDGs)

Nirma Swaris, Rangika Umesh Halwatura, Dilanthi Amaratunga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Policy coherence is a complex and tough task for many developing nations because their capacity to examine and deliver evidence-based inputs to policymaking is limited, and policy dialogue platforms need to be effectively used. Resolving these difficulties is a critical requirement for policy consistency. As a result, the study focuses on the level of policy coherence for climate change adaptation (CCA), disaster risk reduction (DRR) and sustainable development goals (SDG) in Sri Lanka and suggests routes for policy coherence for Resilience. This study aims to investigate the coherent approach of CCA, DRR and SDG; to identify concerns in policy documents addressing the coherence of CCA, DRR and SDG in local context; and to propose policy coherence suggestions for resilience in Sri Lanka.

Methodology comprises a review and content analysis of 17 policy and legal documents in Sri Lanka and a qualitative study. The qualitative approach consists of semistructured interviews that obtained deep and broad expertise knowledge with ten government representatives and stakeholders. Both content analysis and interview data were analyzed by using NVivo.

It was discovered that there are several issues with the coherence of policies in Sri Lanka, including the fragmented approach, lack of integration, inadequate coordination, limited resources and lack of monitoring and evaluation. The policies are inspired by international frameworks, and local implementations are not focused, leading to inadequate implementation of policies. The lack of development cooperation for the use of innovative approaches, such as climate-resilient infrastructure and environmentally friendly solutions for CCA and DRR, further aggravates the situation. Another concern is the lack of land use management and responsibility for the development of physical infrastructure for DRR integration with CCA. It is found that there is a limited community involvement which is vital for the implementation of policies. Local implementations are encouraged to fill the gaps in existing policies/acts. The analytical framework of the study is based on a preliminary examination of policy documents, a review of the literature and discussions with practitioners. The framework reflects the current situation of policy integration which addresses strategic, conceptual, institutional, operational and financial coherence. The research suggests pathways for achieving policy coherence in CCA, DRR and SDG in Sri Lanka, such as enhancing the strategic coherence by improving goals to increase the coherence within CCA, DRR and SDG; improving the credibility of the unified approach for developing DRR and CCA risk assessments; intensifying institutional cooperation and stakeholder management; improving the common monitoring and evaluation; establishing implementation strategies; and increasing the community involvement.

Research limitations/implications:
The study on policy coherence in Sri Lanka recommends increasing community and professional involvement, conducting more research, developing a national strategy, increasing capacity building, strengthening international collaboration and fostering multisectoral collaboration. These recommendations can help improve policy coherence between CCA, DRR and SDGs, align policies with national goals and priorities and improve implementation effectiveness. By implementing these recommendations, Sri Lanka can address the challenges of climate change and natural disasters and achieve SDGs.

Practical implications:
The study on policy coherence for resilience in Sri Lanka has practical implications, including improved coordination and resource allocation, increased capacity building, improved reputation and sustainability. By integrating CCA, DRR and SDGs, this study can help Sri Lanka become more resilient to climate change and natural disasters, achieve SDGs and become a responsible actor in the international community. These implications can contribute to a more sustainable future and ensure that development goals are achieved in a way that is resilient to climate change and natural disasters.

Social implications:
Increased community participation: the study emphasizes the importance of community involvement in the policy development process. This can help build trust between communities and government agencies, improve transparency and ensure that policies are developed in a way that is responsive to local needs and priorities.

Based on the identified existing loopholes in the policies and pathways to policy coherence, the issues in policymaking could be overcome. It could be used to establish strong linkages between policies based on CCA, DRR and SDGs to achieve long-term resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-473
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment
Issue number3
Early online date28 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2024

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