Sri Lanka National Committee of IUCN Members

01 August 2012 | Article

The Sri Lanka National Committee of IUCN was established consequent to a decision made by the 55th Council meeting in October 2001. For eleven long years the Sri Lanka National Committee of IUCN has been strong and forth right in its directions and meets frequently to influence, encourage and assist the societies in rural Sri Lanka while conserving the integrity and diversity of nature in a just world that values and conserves nature. As per IUCN Regulation 67, the Sri Lanka National Committee of IUCN has and adopts its own Constitution.

The Sri Lanka National Committee of IUCN (SLNC) is made up of a diverse group of Members as follows:

  • Ministry of Environment (MOE)-The State Member
  • Central Environmental Authority (CEA)-The Government Agency Member
  • Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) -The Government Agency Member
  • Forest Department (FD)- The Government Agency Member
  • Environmental Foundation Ltd. (EFL)-NGO
  • Federation of Wild Life Conservation (FWC)-NGO
  • Sewalanka Foundation, Sri Lanka (SWL)-NGO
  • Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka (WNPS)-NGO
  • Green Movement of Sri Lanka (GMSL) )-NGO
  • Small Fishers Federation (SFF)-NGO

Each of these Members, while serving on the National Committee also play a very vital role in society to the betterment and upliftment of living standards of rural Sri Lanka, in the organizations they service. The Chair is elected among the Members every two consecutive years and IUCN Sri Lanka Country Office serves the National Committee as the Secretariat.

In 2008 after the successful launch of the “Raising Environmental Consciousness in Society (RECS)”, implemented by IUCN Sri Lanka, four Members were instrumental in various sections of its programme, viz: Forest Department was instrumental as a partner in the Sri Lanka Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standard establishment process; the Central Environmental Authority along with IUCN set up a library and the display of scientific information at its Centre at Rumassala; Wildlife and Nature Protection Society was instrumental in establishing butterfly gardens in 100 schools in 10 districts in Sri Lanka; and the Environmental Foundation Ltd was instrumental in building the capacity of Sri Lanka’s Judiciary to address environmental issues through the courts, by a small grant that was allocated to them through the Project. Through these activities the Members were expected to create a framework that contributes effectively to sustainable development that demonstrates business progress in environmental and resource management that strengthens corporate social responsibility, and shares leading-edge practices to contribute to a sustainable future.

IUCN’s forest governance project, Strengthening Voices for Better Choices (SVBC), convened and facilitated multi-stakeholder dialogues at various levels in 6 tropical forest countries. IUCN Sri Lanka Country Office spearheaded this project, whereby bringing different stakeholders together to identify, discuss and negotiate forest governance arrangements leading to more sustainable and equitable forest use.

SVBC worked with villagers, private landowners, forestry officials and other stakeholders in the buffer zone of the Knuckles Environment Protection Area to ensure that management decisions better reflect local needs and interests. The project helped to establish a multi-stakeholder forum which meets yearly to review management of Knuckles.

In the implementation of SVBC, Sewalanka Foundation implemented the needs assessment of stakeholders in the field project site, while Green Movement of Sri Lanka, Ministry of Environment and the Forest Department were instrumental in organizing Joint Forest governance workshops.

In 2008, the Sri Lanka National Committee of IUCN Members enjoyed the benefit and privilege of being fully sponsored to attend the Barcelona Congress and brought back a wealth of experience with them.

In 2009, the Mangroves for the Future Initiative gave opportune and arise for five of the Member Organisations to benefit from the Mangroves for the Future (MFF)-Small Grants Project and also the State Member to Chair the National Coordination Body for MFF in Sri Lanka.

One Member, namely; Environmental Foundation Ltd became a recipient of a Large Grant to Increase Resilience and adaptation of coastal and riverine communities to climate change and other threats, by conserving the ecosystem services of the Ma Oya and associated coastal wetlands in Sri Lanka. This was a great success.

The Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC), the then Chair, represented the Sri Lanka National Committee at the IUCN South and East Asia Regional Members Committee Meetings held in March 2009 in Bangkok and the second meeting held in Seoul, Korea in October 2009. In 2011 the current Chair represented the Sri Lanka National Committee at a meeting convened during the Regional Conservation Congress in Incheon, Korea.

Department of Wildlife Conservation was invited to take part in the Natural Resource Governance project. While actively participating in their workshops they also contributed to the manual by writing a case study on rights of indigenous community on Natural Resource Governance.

Members of the National Committee were closely involved with activities on the Peak Wilderness PA cluster to be inscribed as a World Heritage site.

The National Committee convened a special meeting to welcome into their midst the Regional Director, Asia Ms Aban Marker Kabraji and Deputy Regional Director, Dr T P Singh to Sri Lanka.

In that same year, Green Movement of Sri Lanka, Ministry of Environment and Sewalanka Foundation, Members of the National Committee had an unique opportunity of being selected to participate at the Postgraduate Certificate Course on Integrated Coastal management at AIT in Bangkok, Thailand. Candidates were sponsored by Mangroves for the Future Initiative.

In September 2011, Nine Members were fully sponsored to attend the Regional Conservation Forum held in Incheon, Korea.

The Small Fishers Federation (SFF) hosted the Members of the Sri Lanka National Committee of IUCN to their headquarters in Pambala, Chilaw, bordering the picturesque lands of the Negombo and Chilaw lagoon. The meeting was very interactive and Members had the opportunity of a serene boat ride down the waters of Negombo-Chilaw Lagoon, while the Chairman of the Federation explained elaborately their many activities, including replanting and the conservation of mangroves.

The Members of the National Committee look forward to interaction and future direction when they participate at the World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea in 2012.