By Ajith Siriwardana
New Democratic Front (NDF) presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa said yesterday he would initiate an earth science university under his government to teach subjects related to the environment, wildlife conservation and climate change.
We will embark on an environmental charter to ensure the safety of all endangered species
He said this at an event held at the Taj Samudra hotel to sign the Environmental Charter with environmentalists and non-governmental organizations to focus on the moves to be taken to protect the environment in his future government.
Mr. Premadasa pledged to launch the university following a request made by the well-known Indian naturalist, conservationist and writer Valmik Thapar, who delivered the guest speech at the event.
He said he would establish a Presidential Task Force within seventy two hours after taking over as the President to develop a comprehensive programme based on the identified policy goals.
“We will embark on an Environmental Charter to ensure that adequate protection is given to all endangered species. My government will focus on three major tasks such as project elephant, project leopard and project blue whale to protect the endangered species,” he said.
Mr. Premadasa said all agencies with a conservative mandate such as Department of Wildlife Conservation, Forest Department of Coast Conservation would be placed under one ministry -- the “Ministry of Environment, Wildlife Conservation and Climate Change” and added that a new mechanism would be introduced to enable environmental organisations to be involved in the formulation and implementation and monitoring process of environmental conservation.
He also promised to summon all agencies and personnel concerned with environment conservation after two weeks of his appointment as the president and discuss the environmental issues and provide solutions.