SLYCAN Trust and the Marine Environment Protection Authority of Sri Lanka (MEPA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the 15th of January, 2021, to further share technical expertise and collaborate on efforts to protect, rehabilitate, and restore marine and coastal ecosystems in Sri Lanka. The signing took place along with a planning workshop on coastal and marine conservation and waste management held at Mövenpick Hotel, Colombo on the same date.
SLYCAN Trust and MEPA entered into the agreement to provide a framework for the continued cooperation and collaboration between SLYCAN Trust and MEPA. This will include the sharing of expertise and the joint implementation of activities related to climate action, ecosystem conservation, waste management, blue economy, and livelihood development across the coastal and marine sector coming under the mandate of MEPA.
During her welcome address, Ms. Dharshani Lahandapura, Chairperson of MEPA, stated: “I am happy to be here today on the occasion of signing a MOU between MEPA, a government authority, and SLYCAN Trust, a not for profit organisation, and to collectively plan for actions in 2021. Despite the challenges we faced due to COVID-19, MEPA continued the implementation of its mandate according to a set of actions planned, some of which were carried out jointly with the assistance of SLYCAN Trust. This partnership would be a good example of a collaboration where both entities complement each others’ activities without competing. Under the government policy, Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour, the Blue Economy has been given more emphasis and hence MEPA is working towards becoming the focal point for Blue Economy in Sri Lanka. This partnership with SLYCAN Trust would definitely bring win-win solutions to both the institutions as well as to the country at large.”
The collaboration will enable the continuation of activities such as beach clean-ups, stakeholder and community consultations, workshops, conferences, and symposiums on thematic areas relevant to coastal ecosystems, implementation of actions to protect and restore mangroves and coral reefs, and waste management in coastal areas. The two parties also aim to conduct and facilitate research, capacity-building, awareness creation, and other activities related to blue economy and the protection, rehabilitation, and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems in the country.
Commenting on the collaboration, Dr. P.B. Terney Pradeep Kumara, General Manager of MEPA, added that during the past two years, MEPA has been working with SLYCAN Trust with a clear objective and work plan. “SLYCAN Trust has always been transparent with us and has worked towards delivering solid and tangible results. Therefore, we are confident that this strategic collaboration will strengthen both parties to deliver better outcomes in the future. We are most certain that continued collaboration with SLYCAN Trust will allow implementation of activities for the betterment of local communities,” said Dr Kumara.
Further, Ms. Vositha Wijenayake, Executive Director of SLYCAN Trust, said: “SLYCAN Trust looks forward to working with MEPA, and contributing to national and international processes related to coastal and marine sectors. In all work SLYCAN Trust does, we strive towards working with government entities to ensure that the work is enhanced, and contributes to the national priorities. Working with MEPA over the years has allowed us to contribute to conserving and restoring coastal and marine ecosystems, and enhancing the livelihoods of local communities. We look forward to the continued engagement with MEPA and scaling up action.”
SLYCAN Trust is a non-profit think tank that focuses on the thematic areas of climate change, adaptation and resilience, sustainable development, environmental conservation and restoration, social justice, and animal welfare. SLYCAN Trust’s activities include legal and policy research, education and awareness creation, capacity building and training, and implementation of ground level action. SLYCAN Trust aims to facilitate and contribute to multi-stakeholder driven, inclusive and participatory actions for a sustainable and resilient future for all.
The Marine Environment Protection Authority is the apex body established by the Government of Sri Lanka, under the Marine Pollution Prevention Act No. 35 of 2008, with the sole responsibility to prevent, control, and manage the pollution of Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment.