IUCN project for local Coast Conservation

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International Union of Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Business and Biodiversity Programme (BBP) for Asian Region which was recently established in Sri Lanka, intends to start a new project for Coast Conservation with the support of the private sector.

Shiranee Yasaratne

The world’s biodiversity is down 30% since the 1970s, with tropical species taking the biggest hit, according to the latest Living Planet report released last week. “Leaving protection of biodiversity to governments alone will not work, and all of us need to come forward to conserve Earth’s Biological Diversity,” said IUCN’s Shiranee Yasaratne. Irresponsible businesses can have major negative impacts on biodiversity, as we have seen in some places. However, while the private sector is part of the problem, it can also be part of the solution by offering innovative solutions to conservation, mentioned Ms. Yasaratne, who is also the head of IUCN’s BPP Asia Region.

The IUCN expert made these comments at an event planning for a new programme called CoastNet which is a private sector-led network to protect Coastal Biodiversity. Representatives from some leading businesses from Sri Lanka, India, Maldives etc. assembled in Colombo recently for initial discussions arranged by IUCN’s BPP together with Mangroves For the Future (MFF) initiative.

The CoastNet network programme aims to strengthen the link between business sectors, particularly from those priority sectors such as fisheries and aquaculture, and tourism, that have an impact on the coastal zone.

Sri Lanka will be a hub for these programmes here onwards as the base of IUCN Asia’s BPP has been set up in Colombo. This unit was started in 2003 and since then, BPP’s Asian Programme has been based in Thailand. Most of the Asian region’s Environmental Programmes are based in Bangkok, so bringing this unit to Sri Lanka too is an important step in encouraging Sri Lanka’s businesses to get onboard on conserving Biodiversity. Ms. Yasaratne said that several factors helped to bring this unit to Sri Lanka, due to the country’s strategic location, availability of environmental consultants and an array of businesses that positively contribute towards the protection of Biodiversity.

Published on SundayTimes on 20.05.2012 www.sundaytimes.lk/120520/News/nws_09.html

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