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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN SRI LANKA


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INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Inter-Agency Committees, consisting of representatives of development Ministries and Enforcement Authorities, as well as the private sector, formulate, review and revise EIA activities, regulations and EIA policy.
To achieve the objective of participatory decision-making and the integration of environment decision-making with development decision-making, a mix of instruments including legislation, regulation, fiscal incentives, voluntary agreements, education, and awareness campaigns, are used.

Decision-Making: Legislatoin and Regulations

The constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka provides for the protection of the environment by the Government and individuals. Legislative enactments and State policy directives clearly show the commitment of the Government to protect natural resources. 
The growing trend towards popular participation in the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources stems from these constitutional and legislative provisions and the cultural heritage.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

Sri Lanka has consistently followed policies and programmes for economic growth with equity and social welfare. The five-year investment plan targeted resources for the achievement of these objectives. Poverty alleviation programmes and the development of social infrastructure were emphasized in these investment plans within given resources. Environment protection, which is an integral part of Sri Lankan culture, is reflected in the principles of its governance. 

The UNCED process gave direction and momentum to this process of environment protection. A conscious effort is now made at the national and provincial level to integrate environment concerns into the development process. A National Environment Action Plan (NEAP) has been developed to provide the environment policy framework for development programmes and projects. Decision-making has been made more participatory by involving the stakeholders in society in drawing up the NEAP. Decision-making in development and environment management has not only been integrated through the NEAP, but the process has also been decentralized by the devolution of power to Provincial Councils. Environment is an unfolding subject under the constitution and provincial environment statutes are being developed within the framework of national policies.

During the medium term 1996-2000, the Government will further pursue the objectives of accelerating economic growth, while ensuring equity and a higher quality of life particularly for the poor by following a strategy which has the following main features.

  1. Market-friendly economic policies and the private sector to be the engine of growth.
  2. Raising overall investment by creating a policy conducive to environment, peace and stability.
  3. Government's role to be supportive of the private sector by creating infrastructure and implementing economic reforms.
  4. Development of ports, shipping and financial and capital markets to be major regional service centre.
  5. Policy measures to make industry and agriculture internationally competitive.
  6. Promotion of exports through appropriate tax, tariff, interest and credit policies.
  7. Welfare programmes to mobilize the resources of the poor for the development process.
  8. Private investments in manufacture and infra-structure development.

The greening of national accounts is accepted as a desirable goal to be achieved.

Programmes and Projects

The National Planning Department has introduced environmental screening of new public investment projects. 

The need to integrate environmental and developmental decision-making at the project formulation stage itself has been recognized as important for economically efficient, socially equitable and responsible environmental management and sustainability of the growth achieved. Therefore, analytical tools such as Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environment Protection Licensing (EPL) have been made use of. A Gazette Notification under the National Environment Act makes it obligatory for all prescribed projects to conduct an EIA which has to be evaluated and assessed by the Central Environment Authority (CEA) to give environmental clearance. Appeals can be made to the Secretary, Ministry of Forestry and Environment. An environment protection licence is mandatory for all projects. The EIA reports are open for public scrutiny. Sectoral EIA guidelines are being finalized for a number of sectors. Environment Protection Licensing Scheme is compulsory for all projects. The issue of EPL has been decentralized to local authorities.

National Decision-Making Structure
1. National Sustainable Development Coordination Body:
2. National Sustainable Development Policy:
3. National Agenda 21/other strategy for SD
4. Local/Regional Agenda(s) 21:
5. Environmental Impact Assessment Law:
6. Major Groups involved in Sustainable Development Decision-Making:

National Instruments and Programmes
1. Sustainable. Dev. or environmental education incorporated into school curricula:
2. Sustainable Development Indicators Program:
3. Ecolabel Regulations:
4. Recycle/Reuse Programs:
5. Green Accounting Program:
6. Access to Internet:
7. Access to World Wide Web:
8. National World Wide Web Site for Sustainable Development or State of the Environment:

Policies, Programmes and Legislation
1. Combatting poverty:
2. Changing consumption and production patterns:
3. Atmosphere:
4. Land Use Planning:
5. Forest and Deforestation:
6. Desertification and Drought:
7. Sustainable Mountain Development:
8. Sustainable Agriculture:
9. Biological Diversity:
10. Biotechnology:
11. Oceans and Coastal Areas:
12. Freshwater Management:
13. Toxic Chemicals:
14. Hazardous Wastes:
15. Solid Wastes:
16. Radioactive Wastes:
17. Energy:
18. Transport:
19. Sustainable Tourism:

This information was provided by the Government of Sri Lanka to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: October 1997.

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MAJOR GROUPS

Women  

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

Sri Lanka signed the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, in July 1980, and ratified it in October 1981.

The constitution recognizes gender equity. The legal system is supportive of women's rights, and free legal assistance is available. A Charter for Women has been approved by the Cabinet to ensure gender equity and freedom from sex discrimination. Its provision can be enforced in the courts of law. This Charter has embodied special provisions for protection against gender-based violence. A National Women's Committee, appointed by the President, continuously monitors the implementation of all provisions in the Charter.

Programmes and Projects

The Women's Bureau implements a number of programmes to improve the economic status of women by providing skills and assisting in self-employment schemes.

Status

Women in Sri Lanka are acknowledged as being advantageously placed. Women were granted universal franchise in 1931. Extensive social welfare programmes, like free education, free health care and free food rations covering the entire population, were implemented by successive Governments. Since independence, in 1948, these policies paid dividends as may be seen from the high literary rates and life expectancy rates for women. As a result of these policies and the cultural heritage of recognizing women's rights, the gender disparities in Sri Lanka are insignificant. The world's first woman Prime Minister was from Sri Lanka. 

Capacity-Building, Education, Training and Awareness-Raising

Women's groups are encouraged and assisted with training and credit under the banking system and the Samurdhi programmes. The Children's Secretariat and the Ministry of Women's Affairs promote interest in the work of these groups.

This information was provided by the Government of Sri Lanka to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: October 1997.

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CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The Children's Charter, based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, was approved by the Cabinet in 1992, and the implementation of its provisions is monitored by a National Committee. A presidential Task Force was appointed recently to make recommendations to prevent child abuse and prostitution of children.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

Special emphasis is given to children in the area of human resource development. A National Plan of Action for Children has been formulated. Legislation is in place to prohibit child labour in industry.

Raising the living standards and reducing poverty among all groups of people remain the main priorities of the Government. Peace and security are vital for achieving these objectives.

Programmes and Projects

The Department of Probation & Child Care (DPCC) and the Children's Secretariat implement a number of programmes to protect children from child abuse and prostitution and improve their nutrition and health status. NGOs which provide residential facilities for destitute children are provided financial assistance by the Government. 

The Government launched the Samurdhi Programme to promote self-employment, particularly among the youth in rural areas, to alleviate poverty by using their own strength. The Ministry of Social Services provides a variety of programmes to assist the destitute and vulnerable groups in society. The Public Assistance Programme alleviates distress among the sick, aged and those who are unable to work. The number who benefitted from this programme increased to 332,064, in 1996.

Status

Although there had been a decline in six vaccine-preventable diseases and the health status of children improved, the general health status of the country declined due to an increase in communicable diseases. In the context of existing resource constraints, meeting the ever-increasing demand for both curative and preventive health care was a challenge to the Government. Special immunization programmes were implemented for the benefit of children. Improvement of the economic status of major groups is important for improvement of the education and health of these groups.

Challenges

While the quality of Sri Lanka's human capital has improved continuously over the last five decades, unemployment, particularly of youth, has become the major problem, and now stands at 11.6 percent.

This information was provided by the Government of Sri Lanka to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: October 1997.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The constitution provides equal rights and privileges to them. Sri Lanka believes that they should be provided food and nutrition, security, health coverage, education facilities and financial assistance, in keeping with their social and cultural conditions.

Programmes and Projects

A survey of a sanctuary for the Veddhas has been completed, and the Cabinet of Ministers has appointed a National Committee to formulate and implement a National Programme of activities for the 'Vanniye Attho'.The future programmes of activities will be directed to meet their educational, health, nutritional and cultural needs.

Status

The population of Sri Lanka consists of an indigenous group of people called "Vanniye Attho" or Veddhas. The Government is promoting their development so that they are brought into the mainstream of development, while protecting their culture and tradition.  The grandson of the chief of the Vanniye Attho is a graduate of the University of Colombo. 

This information was provided by the Government of Sri Lanka to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: October 1997.

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

No information is available.

 

LOCAL AUTHORITIES

No information is available.

 

WORKERS AND UNIONS

No information is available.

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

The Ministry of Forestry and Environment gives very high importance to developing a rapport with industry to promote cleaner technologies and pollution minimization programmes. 

Decision-Making: Major Group Involvement

A forum for improving the dialogue between the Government agencies and the private sector for the promotion of sustainable development, known as the Lanka International Forum on Environmental and Sustainable Development (LIFE), has been established.

Programmes and Projects

Under a UNDP project, a programme to demonstrate pollution minimization methods and the benefits of recycling wastes is being implemented very successfully.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training, and Awareness-Raising

Under a US-Aid funded project, the private sector industrialists are provided training and awareness programmes on pollution control and environmental standards, cleaner technologies and recycling of wastes. 

This information was provided by the Government of Sri Lanka to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: October 1997.

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY

Programmes and Projects

The scientific community has established ways in which to address the general public and deal with sustainable development.

This information was provided by the Government of Sri Lanka to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: October 1997.

 

FARMERS

No information is available.

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SCIENCE

No information is available.

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INFORMATION

No information is available.

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INTERNATIONAL LAW

No information is available.



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