United National Party ( UNP) Deputy Leader Ruwan Wijewardene today issued green proclamation on behalf of the party in an effort to safeguard Sri Lanka’s natural environment and natural resources thereby ensuring a sustainable future for our citizens.
“Our priority is the protection of the Sinharaja rain forest, which is facing a threat from the unchecked actions of the Government,” Mr. Wijewardene said in the green proclamation.
“The existing laws in the country must be enforced, and through them further deforestation and destruction to the environment will be halted. The campaign should not end here. We must go on to build a consensus on a new framework to give effect to the Paris Climate Agreement. These should include protecting the Carbon Sink.
Secondly, the UNP proposes a “Green Declaration” (Haritha Prakasaya) based on a consensus obtained from all relevant stakeholders. The existing Forest ordinance in the country will be strengthened under this Declaration.
Amending the National Wilderness Heritage Act of 1988 to enable court action to prevent the contravention of these provisions, The party proposes a special legislation to also cover the Knuckles Range and Peak Wilderness - (Sri Pada). It is proposed that stronger laws be introduced to safeguard and increase forest cover as well as tree cover. This can be accomplished by amending the Forest Ordinance, based on the Forest Law Act of 1991 (Switzerland), the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act of 1976 (India), the Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation Regulation) Act (UK) and the Tree protection laws adopted by the State Parliaments of Australia. A programme to promote mini-forests - 1/2 acre to 25 acres will be supported by the necessary legislation as well as financed by the government.
The party promotes Promote soil conservation by amending the Soil Conservation Act to make soil conservation compulsory as well as promote shrubs, ground cover and trees.
The proclamation include the declaration of Agricultural Areas which will also promote special regenerative agriculture and conservation and prohibition of the commercial fragmentation of agricultural land, national policy to protect the rivers and streams around the country, with an emphasis on the rivers with headwaters in the hill country and in the Sinharaja rain forest.(Yohan Perera)