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Sri Lanka banks reject hydro project loan after endemic fish re-discovery

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan banks supporting biodiversity conservation efforts refused to lend money for a mini-hydro power plant after the re-discovery of an endemic fish in the water way of the proposed project, a forum was told.

Nations Trust Bank has supported multiple long term research projects yielding significant results, the forum by Biodiversity Sri Lanka (BSL), a private sector platform to promote biodiversity and environmental conservation was told.

One of the project led to the re-discovery after an absence of 53 years in a particular locality of Rasboroidesnigromarginata (Fairy “Dandiya”), a point endemic fish that exist only in one geographic region, a statement said.

“It was revealed that on the basis of this unique finding, Nations Trust Bank and several other banks declined to provide funding for a mini-hydro project proposed for this particular stream,” it said.

The forum was Biodiversity Sri Lanka’s annual technical sessions aligning with the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation – Asia Pacific Chapter Conference, which saw covered over 30 private sector led environmental initiatives from over 20 organizations, mostly BSL member companies.

There were nine symposia on a diversity of topics, namely Indigenous Knowledge, Sustainable Agriculture, Conservation Partnerships, Plastics and Long-term Marine Pollution, Conserving Coastal Biodiversity, Sustaining Mangroves, Species Conservation, Green Tourism, Conservation Communications and Sustainable Banking.

The Sustainable Banking Initiative’s symposium on ‘Sustainable banking – considering biodiversity as a risk in lending’, focused on environment and social risk management systems, biodiversity related risks in lending decision making, sustainable financing models and environmentally sensitive industries and their impacts.

“The bankers who were present at the symposium showed encouragingly high levels of understanding and knowledge on environmental issues and biodiversity which are not traditionally their core areas of expertise,” the statement said.
(COLOMBO, 24 September 2019)