EFL held a successful awareness session for financial institutions on the detrimental environmental, social and financial consequences of investing in mini hydro projects in ecologically sensitive areas. The awareness session was held on the 10th of June 2016 at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute in collaboration with Sri Lanka Water Partnership and was attended by representatives of major banks including National Development Bank, Sampath Bank, National Savings Bank, and Peoples Bank as well as representatives from the Central Environmental Authority. Through presentations by conservation scientist Dr. Eric Wikramanayake, freshwater specialist Madura De Silva, environmental law expert Mr. Jagath Gunawardena and Kusum Athukorale of Sri Lanka Water Partnership, attendees were cautioned against accepting proposals for mini hydro power projects as the process behind Environmental Impact Assessments is often flawed and inaccurate. Institutions were advised to reject proposals in protected areas as these are not legal, as well as those that do not show proper consultation with riparian communities. The awareness session emphasized the need to spend some time on back ground checks with relevant authorities and organizations to avoid the negative impacts such as those encountered in Eratne due to mini hydro power plants. EFL hopes that through this workshop, financial institutions will be more cautious and thorough when investing in mini hydro power projects, thus halting reckless and illegal mini hydro projects at inception.
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