Humanities & Social Sciences Communications (Oct 2021)

Climate change and food security in Sri Lanka: towards food sovereignty

  • Mahinda Senevi Gunaratne,
  • R. B. Radin Firdaus,
  • Shamila Indika Rathnasooriya

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 8, no. 1
pp. 1 – 14


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Abstract This study explored food security and climate change issues and assessed how food sovereignty contributes to addressing the climate change impacts on entire food systems. The study aimed to contextualise food security, climate change, and food sovereignty within Sri Lanka’s current development discourse by bringing global learning, experience, and scholarship together. While this paper focused on many of the most pressing issues in this regard, it also highlighted potential paths towards food sovereignty in the context of policy reforms. This study used a narrative review that relied on the extant literature to understand the underlying concepts and issues relating to climate change, food security and food sovereignty. Additionally, eight in-depth interviews were conducted to obtain experts’ views on Sri Lanka’s issues relating to the thematic areas of this study and to find ways forward. The key findings from the literature review suggest that climate change has adverse impacts on global food security, escalating poverty, hunger, and malnutrition, which adversely affect developing nations and the poor and marginalised communities disproportionately. This study argues that promoting food sovereignty could be the key to alleviating such impacts. Food sovereignty has received much attention as an alternative development path in international forums and policy dialogues while it already applies in development practice. Since the island nation has been facing many challenges in food security, poverty, climate change, and persistence of development disparities, scaling up to food sovereignty in Sri Lanka requires significant policy reforms and structural changes in governance, administrative systems, and wider society.