Excerpts from SJB’s National Green Initiative – The Island

We recognize that human beings are only a part of the natural world and we respect the specific values ​​of all forms of life, including non-human species. We recognize the wisdom of the indigenous peoples of the world, as stewards of the land and its resources. We recognize that human society depends on the planet’s ecological resources and must ensure the integrity of ecosystems and conserve biodiversity and the resilience of life support systems.

We recognize that there are limits to the physical expansion of human society within the biosphere, and the need to conserve biodiversity through the sustainable use of renewable resources and the responsible use of non-renewable resources. We believe that in order to achieve ecological sustainability and to meet the needs of present and future generations with the earth’s finite resources, the continued growth of global consumption, population and material inequalities must be halted and reversed.

We recognize that sustainability will not be possible as long as poverty persists. Political Leadership in Environmental Sustainability We recognize the importance of providing the necessary political leadership and political commitment. Through the National Green Initiative, leadership will be provided for a new political culture in Sri Lanka to mainstream environmental sustainability into the national development agenda to strengthen the country’s capacity to provide sustainable ecosystem services for its development.

Participatory environmental conservation: we aspire to a democracy in which all citizens have the right to express their opinions and are able to participate directly in the environmental, economic, social and political decisions that affect their lives; so that power and responsibility devolves on local and regional communities, with ascension to higher levels of government only when essential.

Preamble: We are at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes more and more interdependent and fragile, the future is both very dangerous and very bright. Moving forward, we must recognize that amidst a magnificent diversity of cultures and forms of life, we are one human family and one earthly community with a common destiny.

We must unite to create a sustainable global society based on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace. To this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of the Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations. The choice is ours: form a global partnership to care for the Earth and others or risk destroying ourselves and the diversity of life.

Fundamental changes are needed in our values, our institutions and our ways of life. We need to understand that when basic needs have been met, human development is first and foremost about being more, not having more. We have the knowledge and the technology to meet everyone’s needs, while reducing our impact on the environment. The emergence of a global civil society creates new opportunities for building a democratic and humane world. Our environmental, economic, political, social and spiritual challenges are interconnected and together we can forge inclusive solutions.

People need nature. Nature is essential to all aspects of human life. It improves our lives, helps us feel better, has a positive impact on our social skills and thus provides the launching pad for us to become environmentally friendly citizens. It gives us all the food, air and water we need to survive. But we take more from nature than it can provide, and we put our own lives at risk. Nature “needs” people. We live on a planet of limited resources. We cannot continue to consume our stocks of natural capital because there will be nothing left for our grandchildren. While people need nature, nature needs people more and more. Nature must be nurtured and protected so that the benefits we derive from it continue to flow. For this, man and nature must work as actors in the same team.

Policy on the environment, biodiversity conservation and climate change: not only do we live on an island with limited resources, but we live on a planet with limited resources. Therefore, we cannot continue to consume our stocks of natural assets in an unsustainable way because there will be nothing left for our future generations. We have an expanding human population and a declining natural resource base in a limited area. Obviously, this model cannot be sustained over the long term.

The country is currently facing serious degradation of its ecosystems and the biodiversity they support. This will undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on the provision of ecosystem services. It is well established that a reduction in the provision of ecosystem services will have a negative impact on economic development. Reversing the current trend of ecosystem degradation should be a priority for all Sri Lankans, regardless of their political affiliations.

SJB, as the very first officially declared green political party, will ensure that environmentally sustainable development is the central policy objective of our future government. We are fully committed to mainstreaming the principles of the UN Sustainable Development Goals throughout decision-making and operational processes so that development under a future SJB-led government is truly sustainable.

Reversing the trend of biodiversity loss: Despite decades of conservation efforts, deforestation, forest degradation and biodiversity loss continue. Considering that biodiversity influences the quality of ecosystem services, which in turn affects the country’s development and human well-being, the conservation of biodiversity, including the ecological processes that support ecosystem services, will be a priority for the future. government led by the SJB.

National priority on environment, conservation of biodiversity and climate change The environment, conservation of biodiversity and climate change was a national priority under the Environmental Charter presented to the public by me as presidential candidate in 2019. This was the first time in Sri Lanka that a presidential candidate had made public an environmental charter known. As the head of SJB, I began a consultation process with environmental experts to update the Environmental Charter to address the unprecedented threats posed to Sri Lanka’s natural resources by the wrong decisions and shortsighted taken over the past two years.

The Environmental Charter will be revised to take pragmatic measures to face current threats and to adapt to “new normal conditions” resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Given the crucial role that Sri Lanka’s natural assets play in the country’s development, our future government will consider good environmental stewardship, biodiversity conservation and climate change as a national priority. With a results-oriented program with tangible goals.

The first step will be to end the fragmentation of institutional mandates and eliminate conflicting responsibilities by introducing an effective institutional mechanism for inter-ministerial coordination to mainstream conservation into the development process. The national priority programs on the environment, biodiversity conservation and climate change under our future government will have clearly defined results and targeted objectives to be achieved. A new effective mechanism for timely monitoring and control of the progress of the implementation of the proposed national priority programs will be put in place to ensure that the results are achieved on time.

Our future government will ensure that the country’s development path is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. Sri Lanka joined all UN Member States in 2015 in adopting the UN Sustainable Development Goals which are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all peoples enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. The SDGs will be the cornerstone of our national sustainable development agenda, but we will take a pragmatic approach to ensure that Sri Lanka’s development is sustainable.

National priority will be given to the conservation of wildlife and ecosystems and the mitigation of conflict between human elephants. Our government is committed to ensuring the long-term conservation of key species (lighthouses). Particular emphasis will be placed on the long-term conservation of three key species (flagship), the Sri Lankan elephant, the Sri Lankan leopard and the blue whale. Targeted conservation and management programs will be launched.

The government will pay special attention to plastic waste management and waste management in urban areas. Steps will be taken to reduce per capita plastic consumption to protect what mother nature has given us. Forest conservation and reforestation Forests are the lungs of our earth. Sri Lanka’s national target should be to have one third of the country’s total land area under forest and tree cover. Maintaining environmental stability by preserving and restoring ecological balance where necessary is a priority for the government. A comprehensive reforestation program will be launched, while taking all possible measures to mitigate deforestation.

The government will establish a special mechanism to investigate and resolve all issues related to unauthorized deforestation and ensure strict law enforcement. The government will introduce a national land use policy that will rationalize land use. Emphasis will be placed on the protection of critical ecosystems so that the country’s economic development benefits from essential ecosystem services. We hope that this platform will allow us to develop a sincere and fruitful partnership between non-governmental conservation organizations and our government, to promote a genuine conservation agenda in Sri Lanka and to ensure that the development of the country is truly sustainable.

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