Thursday, 13 March 2014

Towards a Green Economy in Sri Lanka: A Forestry Perspective

By Nimal Gunatilleke
Professor at University of Peradeniya

Sri Lanka, having been elevated to a ‘Middle Income Emerging Market’ by the International Monetary Fund in 2010, is steadfastly striving further to enjoy even a higher level of growth,  and human well-being.  However, at this crucial juncture in its accelerated development drive, the economic growth of Sri Lanka  need to be steered along an economically as well as ecologically sustainable  path incorporating the ideals of  Green Economy advocated by the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20, 2012).  At this global summit, the member states including Sri Lanka decided to launch a process to build a green economy to achieve sustainable development goals and converge with the post-2015 development agenda (  

UNEP defines a green economy as one that is low-carbon, resource efficient, and socially inclusive which would result in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. This means that in a green economy, growth and employment are driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and minimize the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The strategic objective in transition to a green economy is therefore, to facilitate economic growth and investment while at the same time taking measures to enhance environmental quality and social inclusiveness leading to sustainable development. According to an IMF  report in 2006, the world economy has quadrupled over the last quarter century, but at the same time on the flip side, 60 per cent of the world’s major ecosystem goods and services that underpin livelihoods have been degraded or used unsustainably. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005).