“Mahinda Chintana Vision for the Future”, which sets forth the development policy framework of Sri Lanka has clearly mentioned that the protection of environment is an indispensible responsibility of the government in consideration of the well being of the future generation. The Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy has taken initiatives to converge all the development activities carried out by the government towards the sustainable path, by way of undertaking the ‘Haritha Lanka’ programme for sustainable development in order that the government commitment under the “Mahinda Chintana Vision for the Future” is achieved.
Sustainable development was nothing new to Sri Lanka and it was deeply rooted in our society as a way of life even 1500 years ago when our forefathers introduced the unique hydraulic civilization that extensively applied an ecological balance. However, Economic growth until the recent past was related with generating money and within a span of four to five decades much of our inherited natural wealth has been squandered. We are today faced with numerous environmental problems because of the shortsighted and haphazard development programmes of the past.
However, environmental degradation has been identified as a major critical national issue and my Ministry is addressing these problems step by step seeking ways to give a human face to the whole process of economic growth because it is understood that environment protection is an integral part of the development process. Any breakdown in the environmental stability would have serious implications to the stability of long term development of the country.
Sri Lanka has ratified nearly 40 Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) and several Declarations and making every attempt to meet its commitments and to develop mechanisms to benefit from these agreements. We can take pride in the fact that policies relating to environment protection were built on visionary political leadership even at the time when the country was experiencing a difficult period in socio political and economic fronts due to terrorism. A strong determination of the government has resulted to place environment and economic growth on equal footing.
As a policy, my Ministry facilitates wide participation of the people as stakeholders to promote environment development efforts initiated through various activities to restore natural harmony. Most of the environmental initiatives are long term processes and achievement may only become visible in generations to come. However, we continue our duty enthusiastically in order to grant our future generation a more environment friendly living condition.