Sustainable FutureThe World Bank signed an agreement with the government of Sri Lanka to provide $45 million in credit to help protect the country’s ecosystems and natural resources, creating a sustainable future. Officially solidified on Sept. 5, the partnership will assist in the improvement, protection and fostering of a multitude of areas throughout Sri Lanka, ranging from quality of life to natural ecosystems.

“Sri Lanka is blessed with a rich endowment of ecosystems. 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,” said Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

The project, known as the Ecosystem Conservation and Management Project (ESCAMP), strives to monitor the management of natural ecosystems and sustainable usage of its natural resources in an attempt to directly develop negatively affected neighboring communities.

Working with a multitude of associations and government programs, including the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) and the Forest Department (FD), the collaboration is intended to ensure the management of environmental resources and the promotion of a sustainable future.

One such aspect of the project is the improvement of the country’s forests. Although natural forests occupy an estimated 30% of the total land area in Sri Lanka, and approximately 14% of the country’s land area is under legal protection, damage to natural ecosystems is still prevalent.

Devastating forest degradation of dry zone forests and biodiversity loss has led to the inability for natural ecosystems to produce and provide essential benefits. This agreement hopes to halt these harmful actions.

Furthermore, ESCAMP is determined to emphasize the importance and development of social inclusion, something that is vital to the eradication of poverty. “Managing this natural heritage is the responsibility of all Sri Lankans,” said Pswarayi-Riddihough.

In addition to this collaboration, a number of other equally promising initiatives have recently been enacted to improve the quality of life and the environment in Sri Lanka. One of these plans is the Metro Colombo Urban Development Project, which is attempting to improve the city’s flood resilience and quality of life through the development of an integrated flood management system. Approximately 232,000 inhabitants of Colombo will have greater flood protection as a result. Simultaneously, the Strategic Cities Development Project aims to support and strengthen cycling lanes and spaces for riders during the country’s urbanization process.

The culmination of projects such as ESCAMP and its intended goals is transforming how the world looks at, thinks and characterizes Sri Lanka. Overall, Sri Lanka appears to be improving tremendously as it is preparing a more reliable and sustainable future.

Jordan J. Phelan
Photo: Flickr