Sri Lanka’s ‘environmental sustainability’, the 7th in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda hangs in balance, as the country lost a US $ 30 million ‘environmental credit line’ from the World Bank, for diverting from government’s development priorities.
Even though Sri Lanka is ranked as a global biodiversity hot spot, it has been observed that the country is confronted with serious degradation of its ecosystems and the biodiversity they host. According to the United Nations 2007 MDG Monitor, Sri Lanka may be able to achieve MDG 7, provided some changes in course are made.
Thereafter, the World Bank along with the Department of Wildlife designed a US $30 million project called Ecosystem Management and Conservation Project (ESCAMP), that could address most of these environmental issues and also assist the country in achieving the MDG 7.
It is learnt that the preparations for this project commenced in mid 2009, and necessary approvals from relevant government authorities for a donor-funded project were obtained accordingly. Subsequently, the World Bank invited the government for negotiations on February 21-22, 2011.
”However, three days before the proposed negotiations, the Ministry of Finance informed us that this project did not address the development priorities of the government and suggested modifications to the project design and the inclusion of additional activities,” the World Bank office responding to a Mirror Business email said.
It also said the activities suggested by the Finance Ministry could be within the government's development priorities, but the inclusion of such activities under this project would have transformed the project from an environmental conservation project to a rural infrastructure development project.
”Therefore the World Bank felt that a conservation project was not the vehicle to undertake rural infrastructure development, and it would be impossible for the project to achieve its development objectives which are conservation-focused. Under these circumstances, we felt the best course of action would be to cancel the project”, the email noted.
According to the Project Information Document (PID), the EASCAMP project was scheduled to be engaged in preparation of strategic conservation landscape plans, improving the management of selected protected areas, deforestation and forest degradation, and the developing a national master plan for mitigation of the human elephant conflict.
Comments - 8
Dinesh Thursday, 24 March 2011 05:41 AM
We lost a great oppertunity, but how many people would undestand the issue!!!
Disgusted Thursday, 24 March 2011 05:53 AM
Do these politicians understand that they should give priority to a legacy meant for future generations?
Ritigala Jayasena Thursday, 24 March 2011 06:02 AM
Fully agreed with Dinesh...opposition should educate people about this type of things...
TMA Thursday, 24 March 2011 06:08 AM
We thought we had a good environment minister
sltk2004 Thursday, 24 March 2011 06:14 AM
People have endorsed this type of behaviour by the politicians. So we have not right to criticize this.
nadun sri lanka Thursday, 24 March 2011 06:08 AM
seriously the current development plans doesn't care for the environment at all. ex. look at the new skyways in nugegoda and dehiwala. they cut down all the trees now its like walking in the middle east.
Duminda K Thursday, 24 March 2011 06:25 AM
World Bank provide these kind of small money to nations like SL to minimize there economical growth.The whole world depends on the rain forests which are in undeveloped nations,African/South America,Asia. Why cant the world bank minimize environment pollution from this money in US/UK?
Faqi Thursday, 24 March 2011 12:59 PM
The average person in Sri Lanka do not understand any of these issues. They are more worried about the cost of living such as the price of every day items like Bread, coconuts etc. The environment means very little to them.,
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