Sri Lanka’s soil, water and air as well as the diversity of plants and animals has placed this island as a unique habitat for humans as well as animals. This natural capital, like all other resources, needs to be conserved and managed well in order for the country to thrive in the future. While it is clear that we should preserve our natural resources, maintaining and developing it carefully instead of thoughtlessly endangering it by taking ad-hoc measures is an immense challenge that requires long-term vision.
While there’s broad consensus on the fact that our actions must be in harmony with the environment, coordinating development-related activities in an environment-centric manner is not an easy task due to diverse interests among stakeholders, including government agencies. This requires a policy framework which prioritises landscape planning with emphasis on conservation.
In order to meet this challenge, ESCAMP is supporting the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation to create an Advisory Committee that is mandated to provide expert guidance to the Government on the development of a conservation landscape planning policy framework.
The first meeting of this committee was held on 15 March 2022 under the patronage of the Secretary of the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation Mr Somaratne Vidanapatirane, who emphasized the need to safeguard Sri Lanka’s forest and wildlife resources. Welcoming the newly appointed committee, ESCAMP Project Director Mr Anura Sathurusinghe explained the objectives of the committee while assuring them of providing support to meet their mandate within the stipulated period.
Landscape Management Planning Coordinator of ESCAMP Mr H.G. Gunawardena then presented the manner in which landscape management has evolved to become an essential element of a nation’s sustainable development roadmap. He went on to communicate the lessons learned during the implementation of the pilot programme initiated through ESCAMP. Dr Jini Dela’s presentation focused on the landscape management planning process in relation to the Sinharaja Forest Complex.
The meeting ended with a discussion among committee members on the task ahead of them. The committee was able to arrive at the salient points which need to be included when developing the conservation landscape planning policy framework.