Integrated spatial planning and analysis to prioritise biodiversity conservation in Sri Lanka
EFL successfully concluded the project “Integrated Spatial Planning and Analysis to Prioritize Biodiversity Conservation in Sri Lanka” by disseminating the final outputs of the analysis to all the partners and stakeholders during a workshop held at the Water’s Edge, Battaramulla. This project, supported by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Japan Biodiversity Fund was conducted in partnership with the Biodiversity Secretariat Sri Lanka.
During December 2016, we presented our findings at the 13th meeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP 13) in Cancun, Mexico. The presentation was conducted by Mr. Leel Randeni, representing the National Biodiversity Secretariat. We presented our analysis which sought to identify conservation priorities in Sri Lanka, producing several socio-economic and infrastructural spatial overlays to identify areas of conflict in order to prioritize where conservation should take precedence over infrastructure and other development, and where mitigations could help minimize environmental impacts.
Sri Lanka is recognized as possessing globally important biodiversity. However, extensive conversion, fragmentation and pollution of natural ecosystems have placed this natural heritage under severe threat. Despite being an early signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, only 19% of the priority recommendations from the first National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP) were achieved. This lack of progress was attributed to poor integration of biodiversity conservation targets and recommendations into the plans, policies and programmes of the development sector agencies.
The Government of Sri Lanka is now revising the National Physical Plan and Policy. There is an urgent need to identify and spatially map the biodiversity conservation priorities so they can be integrated into development plans. The objective of this project was to conduct a spatial analysis to identify biodiversity priorities at the national scale, vis-à-vis the NBSAP’s targets, that can be integrated into the National Physical Plan.
We continue to be engaged with the National Physical Planning Department to incorporate the recommendations put forth by this project.