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Preparation of a Country Environmental Profile for Sri Lanka for European Union (EU) Sri Lanka economic cooperation

S.W. Newman* and D.M.S.H.K. Ranasinghe**
* School of Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds L 52 9JT UK
** Department of Forestry & Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura

Full Paper Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


A Country Environmental Profile was prepared with the aim to identify and assess environmental issues to be considered during the preparation of a Country Strategy Paper which will directly or indirectly influence European Union (EC) cooperation activities.

The approach taken in compiling the profile included a comprehensive literature review, a field trip to some Tsunami affected districts including Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Jaffna Districts and a participatory workshop on environmental potentials for Sri Lanka from 2006 – 2013.

The study revealed that among the key environmental issues in the country, Land degradation, deforestation, Degradation of coastal and marine resources, Loss of Biodiversity, Solid Waste Disposal and Surface and ground water pollution are important. In the North East, in addition to these, War has become the major factor affecting development. Although funds are being allocated for development activities after the onset of peace (temporary!) political instability has led to limited investment especially by the private sector. With regard to resources available, issues, opportunities available etc. the country can be largely divided into zones; the coastal zone taking about 24% of the country’s land area, the densely populated resource rich (water, cash crops and minerals) south west quartile surrounded by sparsely populated resource poor land dominated by low returns from subsistence agriculture. The North Central Province where there are major irrigation schemes and parts of Jaffna with high value fruit and vegetables. Environmental problems have been made worse on most of the coast by the Tsunami and some Tsunami Rehabilitation methods could exacerbate matters.

Among the major recommendations for the Country Strategy, the division of the country into environmental development zones in order to maximize impact and sustainability in poverty reduction and economic cooperation is important. They are Tsunami Affected Areas, Municipalities, Coastal Non Tsunami areas, Areas with irrigation schemes to facilitate high agricultural production, South West Country which has high potential in terms of resources and also threats due to population pressure and the rest of the country having low rainfall and low population density. In each zone the character of the zone, key environmental technologies are described. Among the other recommendations, it was emphasized that economic cooperation between Europe and Sri Lanka should focus on environmental business and social enterprise and be guided by a study of win:win:win business partnership models. Any area development project should consider organizational development and delegate management approaches rather than purely increasing government capacity. Monitoring the constraints to environmental business partnerships should be a central part of design along with recording livelihood perceptions of important environmental limitations. The housing, road and energy sectors could have the highest impact on poverty elimination linked to the creation of new environmental opportunities. In conclusion, economic cooperation between Europe and Sri Lanka should focus on environmental business and social enterprise and be guided by a study of win:win:win business partnership models.

Key words: European Union, Profile, Tsunami, Environment, Strategy

Ranasinghe, D.M.S.H.K., Professor, Dept. of Forestry & Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda (Sri Lanka) Tel: + 94 11 2 804685 Fax 4724395 email: [email protected]