During a courtesy meeting with Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Colombo on January 19, 2024, the International Water Management Institute’s (IWMI) new Chair of the Board of Governors, Simi Kamal, reiterated the organization’s support to building Sri Lanka’s water, food and climate resilience. Kamal, who had been appointed at the start of the year, emphasized that IWMI would continue to provide cutting-edge research and solutions to tackle the most pressing climate change and water issues in Sri Lanka and the world.
“The Government of Sri Lanka’s forty-year partnership with IWMI exemplifies the power of synergies between policy and science in addressing critical water and agricultural challenges,” Kamal said. “IWMI is very grateful for its continued collaboration with the government of Sri Lanka as we work towards a future of sustainable water management and inclusive development across the country.”
The Prime Minister has sought IWMI’s research and guidance in wastewater management, water reuse, food security and food waste to achieve Sri Lanka’s climate goals and prepare for potential climate-related crises.
“We are deeply committed to supporting the government of Sri Lanka with the knowledge and information they need to build water, food and climate resilience,” said IWMI Director General, Dr. Mark Smith, who was also present. “By leveraging our expertise and partnering with Sri Lankan stakeholders, we also aim to promote sustainable water management and climate change adaptation. We look forward to further strengthening our partnership by exploring new areas for collaboration under our shared vision for a future where science plays a pivotal role in building a water-secure Sri Lanka.”
Also at the meeting were Syon Niyogi, IWMI’s Chief Operating Officer, and Dr. P. Ramanujam, Special Advisor to the Director General.
Continued collaboration under a new strategy
Kamal took the opportunity to follow up on IWMI’s current activities in the country and briefed the Prime Minister on IWMI’s upcoming strategy for 2024–2030. She expressed her appreciation to the Sri Lankan government for hosting IWMI’s global headquarters in Colombo. IWMI remains the only international organization headquartered in Sri Lanka and looks forward to celebrating 40 years of partnership with the Government in 2024.
IWMI’s work in Sri Lanka includes research in the areas of irrigation and agricultural productivity, sustainable agrifood systems, and groundwater management. Projects also focus on climate information and adaptation, waste management, water storage, and wetlands conservation.
As a CGIAR Research Center with capacity strengthening at the heart of its work, IWMI is sharing its research, data and evidence with the government, universities, donors and vulnerable communities. Knowledge helps them to develop stronger policies and practices around land and water management, and to achieve their development goals.