Business Times

SEA compulsory for Sri Lanka’s development activities

By Bandula Sirimanna

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) has been made compulsory by the Sri Lankan Government for future development activities country wide. Charitha Herath, Chairman - Central Environmental Authority (CEA), told the Business Times that after the end of the ethnic conflict, development activities has been started all over the country and in order to ensure this happens in a sustainable manner, decisions have to be taken considering all the environmental, economic, social and physical factors.

Development activities took place in the past without considering those aspects have drawn numerous negative impacts to Sri Lanka’s environment, he said. Under this set up, as a first step the CEA has initiated a SEA programme to develop a spatial information data base for Uva and Central provinces together with Disaster management centre and National Physical planning department with financial assistance from the UNDP.

Uva and Central Provinces are belonging to central fragile areas and is one of the highly environmentally sensitive areas of the country, according to the National Physical Plan prepared by the National Physical Planning Department (NPPD). Also these provinces have historical and economic significance which can be used to develop the country. Development activities in Uva and Central provinces had to be carried out in accordance with the recommendations of the SEA, he said.

Mr. Herath said that the SEA will identify strategic places for development in land utilization in Uva and Central provinces because this kind of systematic study for this region has never been carried out before. Environmental sensitive areas like forests, water catchments, mineral resources and other important resources will be identified and possibility of using them in development process and infrastructure development in sustainable manner will be assessed, he added.

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