The mission of Western Province is to lead on agricultural, agrarian development, minor irrigation, industries and environmental activities towards the uplift of living conditions of the population. Western Province encompasses the administrative districts of Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara, which together form a commercial hub linked with a major airport and the harbour. It also includes 48 administrative bodies, 6 municipal councils, 13 urban councils and 29 Pradeshiya Sabhas, all of which assist in the administration of their respective levels.
Commitment of Western Province to sustainable development
Adoption of urban and periurban agriculture policies at different levels of government is a key to establishing sustainable programmes within the region. Below are some of the projects implemented by Western province of Sri Lanka.
The vision of Western Province Council is to pave its way through peace, coexistence and sustainable development. The mission is to lead agricultural, agrarian development, minor irrigation, industries and environmental activities towards the uplift of living condition of the people in the Western Province.
Particular areas of interest to Western Province in the wide field of sustainable development.
Sustainable development and biodiversity
Promoting Urban Agriculture: Urban agriculture has been promoted paving the way to eradicate urban poverty, minimize cost of living and ensure food security. Material subsideries such as seed, fertilizer etc. And necessary training have been given to promote urban agriculture in Western Province.
“Divi naguma” - Ongoing home gardening programme - Divi naguma is a major national project launched by the central government with the objective of establishing one million home gardens in Sri Lanka. It is outlined in “Mahinda Chinthana Vision for future”. This programme promotes cultivation of vegetables and fruits and horticulture for strengthening the national economy and sustainable food security.
“Haritha gewathu” - urban and periurban green garden programme - This programme is implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Western Province to promote a natural living style by feeding the nation with delicious and nutritious meal of food. This was introduced in 2011 and will continue in 2012.
“Barawa” Biodiversity park - Under this project 444 acres of bare land 20km away from the Colombo city is being planned to develop as a Biodiversity Park which supports flood protection, display importance of organic crop cultivation, conserve traditional knowledge and cultural heritage, promote eco friendly lifestyle and upgrade living standard of the people in Western Province by attracting local and foreign tourists.
Planting sacred plants to promote biodiversity - From ancient time some plant species have been identified as sacred plants by different religions. We have conducted programs to plant these types of plants in religious places to promote biodiversity in the region.
School Agro societies - Number of projects has been launched to promote urban agricultural activities in the schools premises within Western Province. Training programmes were organized to educate the school children on cultivation methods which could be adopted in urban agriultura with the participation of school children and teachers.
Conducting crop clinics and training farms - Farms located at Ambepussa, Walpita, Horana, Homagama and Bombuwala function under the Provincial Agriculture Department. Presently these farms have been converted to training centers giving special practical training to encourage the public to increase local food production for sustainability.
Water and Sanitation
Rehabilitation of channels, lakes etc - The objective is to supply water for cultivations, conserve water and prevent the destruction cause by flood in the western Province through reconstruction of dams and anicuts.
Earth Hour - The national event of Earth hour was organized by the Ministry of Environment of Western Province. We joined the world to show our commitment with the world to save the planet by raising awareness about global warming.
The Ministry of the Environment of Western Province is entitled to follow the national targets on emission reduction, energy efficiency, water and forest management. As a member of Kyoto protocol, we contribute to global efforts by reducing their emissions significantly and achieve their quantified emission limitation and reductions primarily through domestic emission reduction efforts. Sri Lanka would support REDD-Plus activities, which are country driven and voluntary.
Energy efficiency is a key player in a country’s economic growth. Government of Sri Lanka promotes energy efficiency in the country. Energy supply in Sri Lanka is mainly based on three primary sources, namely hydroelectricity, biomass and petroleum. Rapidly increasing energy demand is often linked with local air pollution and global climate change, which poses an unprecedented challenge to humankind. The potential impacts of energy production and consumption on sustainable development are diverse and numerous and therefore their linkages has been carefully analyzed.
Sri Lanka has a National water policy by which it ensures safe drinking water and adequate sanitation for all.
As a highly urbanised area, Western Province needs to strike a balance between rapid economic growth and the demands of a growing population. The province needs to be more resource efficient in the face of increasing pressure on a limited natural resource base. Sri Lanka’s vision for sustainable development is “Achieving sustained economic growth that is socially equitable and ecologically sound, with peace and stability”.
The Sri Lanka Strategy for Sustainable Development (SLSSD) seeks to achieve this vision through eradication of poverty, ensuring competitiveness of the economy, improving social development, ensuring good governance, and a clean and healthy environment.
The main objective of the National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS) are:
The Ministry of Environment (MOE) has been designated as the focal point for developing the National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS) with financial support provided by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). A NSDS has been defined as “a co-ordinated set of participatory and continuously improving processes of analysis, debate, capacity-strengthening, planning and investment, which integrates economic, social and environmental objectives of society, seeking trade-offs where this is not possible”
The NSDS can also be understood as “the policies, plans, processes and actions that a country is taking to move towards sustainable development”. In this sense, NSDS is an umbrella strategy that brings together existing strategic planning processes and related actions. It provides a platform for consultation and negotiation among multiple stakeholders of national development, including the government, private sector and civil society. It should necessarily have access to a feedback mechanism to monitor and evaluate policy development and implementation.
Partnerships and collaborations with subnational governments, international organisations or public-private partnerships
Sri Lanka made commitments to environmental protection and sustainable development by adopting the main instruments agreed at the UNCED and WSSD, and by ratifying the Millennium Declaration. Moreover Sri Lanka is a party to several multilateral environmental agreements including many which predate UNCED.
Among these are: International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Vienna Convention for the protection of the ozone layer, and the Montreal Protocol. Sri Lank a ratified the UN Conventions on Biological Diversity, Climate Change, and the Convention to Combat Desertification in 1993, 1994, and 1998 respectively. Sri Lanka is also a party to the Kyoto Protocol under the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Biosafety Protocol under the Biodiversity Convention.
Western Province contributes for 48 percent of the national GDP in Sri lanka. It hosts a population of 5.4 million (28percent), and an additional floating population of 1.5 million. With a population density of 1458 per km2, it is one of the most congested regions in the country, and its agricultural land is gradually being lost to development.
Growing cities and populations are one of the big challenges of the future. Due to urbanization lands are prone to be parcelised and land has to be used for essential sectors like houses, highways and byways and shopping. The extent of agricultural lands has decreased also because people tend to focus on other industries. The importance of urban agriculture in sustainable urban development is growing. It is a strategy of improving access to food. Urban agriculture and home gardening aims at curbing the effects of rapid urbanisation, high food prices, and extreme climate events.
This focus on achieving greater self-sufficiency at household level and reduce food dependency on other provinces. Successful urban agriculture and home gardening meets the nutritional needs of the population, generate income for underserved communities and contribute to the greening of the city.
Since the Western Province is affected by urbanization, industrialization and population growth, it owns an environment mere affected by pollution. Therefore a programme aiming to raise awareness about sustainable development strategies among industrialists will be launched. Also, to produce an environmental sensitive child generation, a school environmental study programme will be introduced. Project will be implemented to conserve the wet-lands and to prevent lower lands from flooding. We also explore new avenues for sustainable agricultural development in the Western Province. The processes carried out maintaining its identity within the urbanization and introducing agricultural activities have been subject to discuss and respect within local and international circles.