Sri Lanka to protect forests with US$45mn World Bank project
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s forest and wildlife protection agencies will start project to help communities living near protected habitats to improve livelihoods and make use of natural resources without degrading or over exploiting, the World Bank said.
The World Bank is giving a 45 million dollar credit for a project that wll involve 15,000 residents, 30 percent of them women, living near protected habitats improve their livelihoods and develop income streams such as eco-tourism.
"Sri Lanka is blessed with a rich endowment of eco-systems," Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives said in a statement.
"Striking a fair balance between economy and ecology is crucial, not only for the preservation of the ecosystem but also for helping people emerge from poverty."
"Managing this natural heritage is the responsibility of all Sri Lankans. Benefits of well managed eco-systems include, improved national economy as well as addressing challenges such as human wild life conflicts and climate change effects."
Sri Lanka’s government wants to expand forest cover.
The project will also will develop human-elephant co-existence mechanisms and protect watersheds to boost agricultural productivity.
"The project will improve responsible planning and management of protected areas and other biologically and ecologically important locations throughout Sri Lanka,” said Darshani De Silva, Senior Environment Specialist and Project Task Team Leader.
"It will help to create sustained linkages with communities living adjacent to protected areas to ensure participation in protection of critical ecosystems and benefit sharing.."
It will improve the quality of visitor services, and raise revenue potential of forest and wildlife resources.
The capacity of Forest Department and Department of Wildlife Conservation will also be boosted to better carry out their work.