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Economic Aspects | Natural Resource Aspects | Institutional Aspects | Social Aspects |Sri Lanka

NATURAL RESOURCE ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN SRI LANKA

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AGRICULTURE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for policy decision making with the approval of the Cabinet.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

The major goals of the Agriculture Sector are, inter alia, to:

  1. increase the productivity of the land and farmers' incomes in a sustainable manner;
  2. improve processing, marketing and storage;
  3. increase the productivity and efficiency of the Plantation Sector;
  4. stabilize and reduce the cost of living; and
  5. create an exportable surplus for balance-of-payment support.

In order to achieve the above goals, a recently established National Development Council has appointed a Task Force to recommend policy changes to address issues such as agriculture research, extension, marketing, pricing and the role of the State in providing services and inputs and the role of the private sector in providing inputs, and multiplication and distribution of seeds.

The agriculture credit policy is to provide credit support for farmers.

Decision-Making: Major Group Involvement

Farmers' organizations have been established to strengthen their bargaining power. By the end of 1996, a total of 12,934 farmers' organizations had been established.
Farmers' organizations and Samurdhi Animators focus on mobilizing the rural poor to upgrade their skills and create employment opportunities.

Programmes and Projects

In response to an FAO prediction of a food shortage, the Ministry of Agriculture launched an island-wide food drive called 'Vaga Lanka' which aims at combining modern and traditional methods of agriculture. This involves agriculture and the adoption of integrated farming techniques. The emphasis placed on integrated pest management contributed to a reduction in the use of pesticides in 1996.

During 1996, the Department of Agriculture conducted Farmer Field Schools for integrated pest management (IPM) in 21 districts and 3 Mahaveli Systems; 800 field-level IPM demonstrations have been conducted in selected areas. Rural credit schemes have provided agricultural loans. A number of policy measures are directed to give an impetus to agricultural exports. Plantation Sector Reforms (privatization) are expected to improve the productivity and efficiency of the Tree Crop Sector.

Farm machinery and testing institutions have been set up by the Department of Agriculture to assist farmers at the State Farms.

Status

Agriculture continues to be an important sector in the economy of Sri Lanka, contributing 20 percent of the GNP. Between 1991 and 1995, the agriculture sector was able to absorb 89 percent of the public investments per annum. The Government implemented large irrigation projects, like the Mahaveli Programme, to increase food production and employment opportunities for the rural poor.

Challenges

No information is available.

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

To ensure the sustainability of agriculture, a number of measures are being introduced to strengthen the capacity of farmers, improve the marketing of agricultural products and to popularize sustainable agricultural technology. A seed and planting material policy was approved in 1996, with the aim of establishing seed enterprises with the private sector. A Cultivation Insurance Scheme and a Livestock Insurance Scheme are being established to assist farmers in times of drought and floods.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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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.

Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.

Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.

Click here to access the Web Site of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.

For country reports on Plant Genetic Resources, click here.

To access the FAOSTAT Data Base for information by country, item, element and year, click here:

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ATMOSPHERE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Environment is the focal point for both Conventions. Interministerial committees have been set up to consider relevant issues and make recommendations. Important decisions need ratification by the Cabinet Ministers. Government Ministries, Departments Statutory Corporations, Universities and NGO groups, are involved in implementing the Montreal Protocol and the UNFCCC.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

Training programmes for refrigerator technicians are planned in 1998. Undergraduate courses on renewable energy and energy efficiency are planned under the GEF Project.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

Transfer of energy-saving technologies and low-emission thermal power generation technologies are needed.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

Currently, the Government of Sri Lanka provides a contribution in-kind for the two training programmes.

Cooperation

The Montreal Protocol (1987) was ratified on 15 December 1989; the London Amendment (1990) was ratified on 16 June 1993; and the Copenhagen Amendment (1992), in July 1997.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was ratified on 23 November 1993.

There was a regional programme on the impact of climate change under SAARC in 1992. Sri Lanka was also a participant in the Regional Study on Global Environmental Issues, funded by the Asian Development Bank in 1992-1993.

 

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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.

Click here for national information from the Web site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

<For the access to the Web Site of the Ozone Secretariat, click here:

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BIODIVERSITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Forestry and Environment is responsible for policy-making with the approval of the Cabinet.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

Major legislative enactments on the biological resources of Sri Lanka are the National Environmental Act 1980, Forest Ordinance, The Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance, National Heritage Wilderness Areas Act, Botanic Gardens Ordinance, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act, the Plant Protection Ordinance, and the Customs Ordinance.
The concept of environmental protection is enshrined in the country's constitution.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

The preparation of the Biodiversity Action Plan was undertaken in response to Article 6 of the Convention (CITES). While consolidating the ongoing efforts of conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, the Action Plan aims at establishing a policy and programme regime, which brings national action to various aspects of the subject, including capacity-building and bio-safety measures, in tune with the articles of the Convention.

The Government is to adopt this National Biodiversity Action Plan for the conservation and sustainable use of these resources in the near future. Wildlife preservation, in the form of zoos and national farms, is used for the ex-situ preservation of wildlife. Also, efforts are being made to strengthen the legislative framework to derive maximum benefit from biotechnology while minimizing its risks. The lack of technology and technical capacity, as well as financial constraints, have weakened the national efforts to protect biodiversity.

Decision-Making: Major Group Involvement

A network of over 100 NGOs has been built up, and biodiversity focal points have been established in development ministries and agencies for environmental advocacy in formulating biodiversity policies.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status

Sri Lanka is a small island in the Indian Ocean with a land area of 25,000 square miles and a population of 18.3 million. Topographically the island consists of a south central mountainous region which rises to an elevation of 2,502 m and is surrounded by broad lowland plains at an elevation of 0-75 m above sea level. From the mountainous regions nine major rivers and 94 other rivers flow across the lowlands into the Indian Ocean.

Sri Lanka is one of the few countries in South Asia having a wealth of biodiversity. Within a land area of 25,000 sq. miles, this rich biodiversity is distributed within a wide range of eco-systems varying from rainforests to grasslands, freshwater bodies, wetlands and rivers, and coastal and marine eco-systems. An important feature of the climate is that there are two basic eco-zones: a wet zone and a dry zone. Since these two zones are not sharply distinct, there is also what may be termed, an "intermediate" zone gradually merging into the wet and the dry zones. These climatic conditions and the panorama of natural eco-systems in the country support over 3,800 species of flowering plants, of which 23% are endemic, 314 species of fern and derivatives of the fern family. Species diversity is also high among mosses and fungi. In addition, the country has a high faunal diversity. Available information shows that Sri Lanka's biodiversity per unit of land area is among the highest in South Asia. The diversity of the country's biological resources has not yet been fully surveyed. Conservation and sustainable use of these resources based on the indigenous knowledge systems and practices is ingrained in Sri Lanka's ethos and way of life.

The developed countries should ensure that benefits of biotechnology accrue to the country of origin of the biological resources; these benefits to include royalty payments and transfer of technologies to the countries of origin of the biological resources in accordance with the provisions of the Convention.

It is also necessary to develop an internationally recognized regime for recognizing the property rights, both intellectual and physical, of the local communities. The capacities of biodiversity-rich countries should be built up to enable them to carry out bio-prospecting and undertake technology assessment for protection of their resources. The introduction of transgenic and alien species should be only with the requisite safeguards.

Challenges

No information is available.

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

School children and youth, as well as NGOs, are the targets of biodiversity awareness-creation programmes. "Young Zoologist" Clubs in schools encourage biodiversity education and conservation. The Ministry of Forestry and Environment provides assistance to a number of NGOs involved in biodiversity awareness-creation programmes for conservation.
Attention is given to institution building, including capacity-building, and developing bio-safety measures in keeping with the articles of the Convention. 

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

Sri Lanka is trying to build up a bio-technology information network and capacity in the area of taxonomy. The facilities for cryo-preservation of germ plasma in the country are very limited. The Plant Genetic Resource Centre at Peradeniya is the only institution with such facilities and only a fraction of the range of the agricultural germ plasma available in the country is stored at this centre. It is necessary to build capacities and develop programmes for gaining a better understanding of the different components of the country's biodiversity. The country's capacity in the area of taxonomy needs to be built up. The opportunities available for training in this area are limited.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

Sri Lanka signed the Convention on Biological Diversity in June 1992 and ratified it in March 1994.
Sri Lanka ratified the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora on 4 May 1979, and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals entered into force on 1 September 1990.

There is regional and national cooperation for technology transfer, capacity- building and the exchange of information. The SAARC countries cooperate in identifying regional issues and taking regional and international measures for the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources. However, national action regarding conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and an equitable share of benefits, demands contributory action on the part of the international community, particularly the developed countries.

 

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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.

Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.

Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.

Click here to link to biosafety web sites in the European Union.

For access to the Web Site of the Convention on Biological Diversity, click here:
For access to the Web Site of the CITES Convention, click here:

For the Web Site of the CMS Convention, click here:

For the Web Site of the Convention on the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, click here:

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DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

Sri Lanka has not signed the International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification Particularly in Africa.

 

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For access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here:

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ENERGY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

The development of alternative sources of energy is given priority. The consumption patterns of the poor should be considered as survival consumption.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status

The process of development and increase in the number of households is increasing the consumption of energy. It should be emphasized that the consumption of energy by an individual in South Asia is about one-twentieth that of a person in a developed economy.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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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.

Click here for basic statistical data for countries in the ESCAP region, including statistics on demographics, education, employment, energy, national accounts, external trade, finance and production, land use, transport and international tourism.

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FORESTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Forestry and Environment lays down policy in consultation with the Department of Forests. The Chief Conservator of Forests implements the programmes. The Cabinet approves major policies and investments on the recommendation of the Ministry.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The Government's efforts to arrest deforestation through the enforcement of stringent laws, such as the Forestry Ordinance and the Wild Life Conservation Act, have resulted in limited success. A forestry sector Master Plan was prepared and it was revised in 1993, with the aim to protect and develop forest cover. 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

A five-year implementation plan, based on the Forestry Sector Master Plan, has been prepared with the involvement of the private sector and NGOs. New approaches to forestry management, such as with community participation, are being adopted under the five-year plan for forestry development.

Decision-Making: Major Group Involvement

NGOs are involved in developing forestry development plans and they contributed in preparing the 5-year forestry development programme which commenced in 1997 with ADB assistance. Environmental groups exercise vigilance and assist law enforcement authorities in the prevention of illicit logging.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status

Deforestation is one of the critical environmental problems in Sri Lanka. Forest cover which stood at 44% of the land area in 1956, declined to 27% by 1981, and the present forest cover is estimated at approximately 23% of the land area. This situation was brought about by both poverty and affluence. Nearly 70% of the people are rural and agriculture-dependent. The rural poor destroy forests for cultivation and to meet energy needs. The affluent and the entrepreneurs use more and more timber without replacing the forests. The development process has also contributed to deforestation.

Challenges

No information is available.

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

National tree planting campaigns are carried out by the Ministry of Forestry and Environment to increase the forest cover in urban areas and to mobilize the energies of school children and youth in promoting reforestation.
The Department of Forests trains officials in forestry management. Youth and NGOs participate in tree-planting campaigns.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

Research into seeking alternatives to timber use is promoted, but financial and technological constraints limit these efforts to the minimum. Technology for timber sawing needs to be improved to reduce waste.

Financing

In the Plantation Sector, financial assistance is provided for timber plantations.

Cooperation

International cooperation is needed to build capacity and transfer technology.

 

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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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FRESHWATER

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Water Resources Council is a coordinating body which was established to plan the water resources at the macro level. Decisions are made by respective agencies, and they follow a hierarchical order. All related agencies are represented in the Council and an integrated approach has been adopted for the protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) has published water quality standards as well as standards for industrial effluent that could be discharged into water bodies. Other agencies, such as the Department of Irrigation and the Department of Agrarian Services, have been alerted to ensure quality water. 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

The IFS has undertaken a study on water pollution, including the sources of such pollution. The Water Resources Board is most concerned about the underground water supply and studies are being undertaken to ascertain the volume of water supplies.

The main supplier of drinking water for the urban centres, namely, the National Water and Drainage Board, has a strong programme to monitor the water quality of the Kelani River, before releasing it for drinking purposes.

The Community Water Supply and Sanitation Project is ongoing and has improved the sanitation facilities and raised awareness about the need for maintaining hygienic standards in water supply.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

The water quality monitoring capacity of related agencies is not adequate. Simple technologies, like water testing kits which would be used by school children, would be useful to promote a culture of water quality monitoring.

Financing

The National Water and Drainage Board is seeking a foreign loan to tap the Kalu Ganga River, approximately 40 km from Colombo, to augment the Colombo Water supply.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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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.

Click here to visit the Web Site of the Ramsar Convention.

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LAND MANAGEMENT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

A Land-use Planning Unit has been established in the Ministry of Lands with a view to planning development in a sustainable manner and conserving natural resources. This Unit identifies different types of soil for agricultural purposes. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

There are coastal development laws in which lands are identified for development projects, such as the construction of hotels, taking into account the need to protect the marine environment.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

The Development Authority has undertaken a zoning exercise to decide on where to place various development projects.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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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.

Click here for basic statistical data for countries in the ESCAP region, including statistics on demographics, education, employment, energy, national accounts, external trade, finance and production, land use, transport and international tourism.

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MOUNTAINS

No information is available.

 

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OCEANS AND COASTAL AREAS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Department of Fisheries and Coast Conservation, under the Ministry of Fisheries, is responsible for policy-making and implementation. The major policy decisions are approved by the Cabinet.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The Government of Sri Lanka has various laws, rules, and regulations for dealing with activities in the coastal zone. 

Regulations have been developed to prevent over-fishing, and the coastal management plan provides for zones to conserve marine species threatened by indiscriminate fishing and the use of inappropriate fishing techniques.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

A Coastal Zone Management Plan has been prepared by the Ministry of Fisheries in order to adopt an integrated approach to the management of coastal resources and to involve local communities in the planning and implementation of programmes for the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources and the conservation of the coastline.

The policy on coastal fishing has been oriented towards mitigating the adverse effects on the environment and maximizing the protection of fish in a sustainable manner. A national contingency plan to deal with oil spills is also under consideration.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

Sri Lanka signed and ratified UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1994.

 

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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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TOXIC CHEMICALS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Central Environmental Authority acts as the focal point for chemicals, under the prior informed consent procedure.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

A complete inventory of chemicals in use within the country was completed. Relevant data on those chemicals have been computerized and are available for risk assessment purposes. The International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC) database on chemicals is also to be installed.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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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.

To access the Web Site of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, click here:

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WASTE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Solid Waste and Sanitation

No information is available.

 

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Hazardous Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Forestry and Environment is the focal point, and the Central Environment Authority is the competent authority for this convention. Decision-making is also the responsibility of the National Co-ordinating Committee for the implementation of the Basel Convention, chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Forestry and Environment.
Other groups involved include: the Ministry of Forestry and Environment; Central Environmental Authority; Ministry of Shipping, Ports, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction; Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Food; Ministry of Planning Ethnic Affairs and National Integration; Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training; Ministry of Defence; Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine; Ministry of Science, Technology and Human Resources Development; Ministry of Industrial Development; Marine Pollution Prevention Authority; Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Sri Lanka; Ceylon Chamber of Commerce; Board of Investment of Sri Lanka; Ceylon Fertilizer Corporation; Sri Lanka Ports Authority; Pesticide Registration Office; Sri Lanka Customs; Government Analyst Department; Ceylon Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research; Import and Export Control Department.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The regulations for the internal management of hazardous waste were published in 1996, by the Ministry of Environment. Regulations for the transboundary movement of hazardous waste are being formulated and will be brought into operation under the Import and Export Control Act.
Guidelines are being prepared for the safety measures to be adopted during collection, transportation, storage, recovery, recycling and disposal of hazardous wastes. 

At present, waste minimization programs are being carried out for selected industrial sectors. In addition to that, several regulatory measures taken by the Government help indirectly to reduce the pollution caused by high- and medium- polluting industries.
Some of the significant regulatory measures are: 

Some fiscal incentives are given to industries under certain conditions to use advanced technology in order to minimize and control pollution and other wastage.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies, and Plans

Arrangements are being made to prepare a National Action Plan for Clinical Waste Management.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

Due to the high cost of, and inadequate accessibility to, environmentally- sound technology and the level of technical capacity to select, maintain and use the proper technology, industries find it difficult to comply with the hazardous waste regulations. The capacity of the regulatory bodies are also inadequate to ensure the effective implementation of the new hazardous waste regulations.

Sri Lanka lacks financial assistance for the efficient implementation of the Basel Convention. Particularly, financial assistance is essential to build the capacity of the country for hazardous waste management, including establishing hazardous waste disposal facilities.

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

Training programs have been arranged for the officers who are involved in hazardous waste management.

Information

A project under World Bank funding was completed to establish an inventory of hazardous waste, the current disposal practices in Sri Lanka, and also to carry out a pre-feasibility study to identify and rank suitable hazardous waste disposal sites. 

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

Sri Lanka ratified the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal in August 1992. 

 

 

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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.

For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:

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Radioactive Wastes

No information is available.

 

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