The second stakeholder consultation on Sinharaha, Kudawa access road was conducted on 7th January 2020 at the Sinharaja, Kudawa Forest office.
The main objective of this consultation was to discuss and finalise the revised designs developed by the University of Moratuwa (UOM). These designs were developed based on stakeholder requirements and considering the biodiversity aspects of the vicinity.
Nearly forty (40) members from different environmental NGOs and CBOs participated in this consultation. After the introduction and background information by Mr. Mahinda Senevirathna, Conservator of Forests, Professor Samitha Manawadu presented designs with reasons and basis for the ecological sustainability.
The main discussion points and agreements covered following:
- Basically, all stakeholders agreed with the designs presented by Professor Manawadu.
- However, a close supervision and stakeholder participation is essential for a transparent process.
- Environmental / ecological conservation should be prioritised in any future development works than the tourism promotions.
- Environmental officers should be deployed to inspect and monitor future ESCAMP activities in Sinharaja.
- The present information centre should be improved and equipped to provide required information for tourists.
- It was decided not to construct any structures in water falls as they might be barriers for movements by fish and other small animals.
- All stakeholders agreed to provide two feet safe passage for disable persons and this should be a compulsory requirement in other improvements as well.
- There was a request by an NGO not to open up a new entrance to Sinharaja from Handapan Ella.
- It was decided to form a special committee with following stakeholders and villagers to monitor future ESCAMP activities within the Sinharaja.
- Professor S. Manawadu – University of Moratuwa
- T. G. Shalith – Sinharaja Sumithuro
- Sanath Wasantha – Sinharaja Sumithuro
- T. M. Vidyawarani – National Environmental Foundation
- K. D. Thilakasiri – Kudawa Sinharaja, United CBO
- Suranga Buddhika – National Environmental Foundation
- Dilani Lakmali – National Environmental Foundation
- Dhammika Wattegama – Forester, Sinharaja
- Naleen Perera – IUCN
- Hemantha Withana – Centre for Environmental Justice*
- Sandun Bandara – ESCAMP, PMU
Mr. Anura Sathurusinghe, the Project Director of ESCAMP emphasised that all ESCAMP activities in Sinharaja will be carried out in accordance with the decisions taken at this consultation.
* The PMU has decided to include Mr. Hemantha Withana also to this committee based on his experience and knowledge in the environment and ecological conservation field.