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Participatory Coastal Zone Restoration and Sustainable Management in the Eastern Province

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The Green Belt Cultivated by the communities living around Panama Sand Dune

Participatory Coastal Zone Restoration and Sustainable Management in the Eastern Province of Post-Tsunami Sri Lanka is a project funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) with the support of the implemented agency Coasts conservation and Coastal resources Management Department.


One of the key challenges was degradation of natural resources due to unplanned resource extraction in the eastern coasts. The aim of this 6 year project was to restore and sustainably manage tsunami affected coastal eco-systems promoting community adaptation to climate change.  Therefore the coastal conservation department introduced community based eco-tourism as a sustainable use of coastal biodiversity”.  Therefore in 2014 Coastal Conservation Department intervened to upgrade the community based eco –tourism development where communities were encourage for income generation through eco tourism projects to improve their economical status and harmony between ethnic groups. The Pottuvil lagoon which is one of largest lagoons in Sri Lanka is an area with rich bio diversity with tremendous potential for eco tourism development.  Therefore the communities were given the boats, jetties and resting halls along with education canters to earn income as well as to protect the eco system by the community from extinction.  This seven year project started in 2010 which will be completed in 2017.


Under the project Pottuvil, Panama, Kumana and Arugambay in Ampara District was developed as special ecotourism areas belonging to the native communities living in their own areas. Arugambay is also one of the key areas for tourism development and endemic environmental resources connecting Arugambay, Pottuvil, Panama and Kumana.

Public Opening of tourism center in Panama Lagoon by the Coasts Conservation Department


Public Opening of Kottukal Lagoon Tourism Center by the Coastal Conservation Department


Public Opening of Urani Lagoon Tourism Center by the Coasts Conservation Department

In Batticaloa District vakaraei area green village’s concept was created with the participation of 935 families by providing economically value plants.  According to the coasts conservation department there was a reduction in green coverage in the area and people was given training on importance of economical valued trees and training on best farming practice. Further people got used to increase the beneficiary earning through proper utilization of the land and reduce the dependency in the lagoon. Further livelihood programs were developed in all 3 districts burdening on coastal ecosystems.  Under this program 284 beneficiaries mainly women and youth as new entrants were identified such as handloom products, Palmyra based products, dairy farming, poultry farming, goat farming and agriculture.

The coastal conservation department educated people in Pottuvil on sand dunes where people got involve in demarcating the sand dune and got involve in conservation activities in the area. This Natural habitat was a key landmark for the people in Amapara in terms of tourism. It also acted as a natural barrier during 2004 Asian Tsunami. Therefore a vegetation cover was created in the sand dune and today it’s been protected by the community.

Community based Eco-Tourism is tourism that is managed by the community itself, management decisions are made by the community and profits directly go to the community. Sustainable tourism development meets the needs of the present tourists and hosts regions while protecting and enhancing the opportunity for the future. It is leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social, aesthetic needs be fulfilled.  While maintaining culture, integrity, essential ecological process, and biological diversity and life support systems.

This area is very significant than other areas with a large bird diversity of species, monkeys, water lurk crocodiles, water monitor lizards, fresh water snakes and elephants. It is also surrounded by mangroves and rock beds.  There are about 300 fishermen who do daily activities with responsible fishing activities.  With the support of the Coastal Conservation Department provided tourism centres to pottuvil and panama lagoon including life jackets, floating jetties, with fibre glass boats with capacity building of boat operators.

According to Mr.Prabath Chandrakeerthi Director General of Coasts Conservation Department A green belt was cultivated along the Eastern coasts expanding up to 28km. This project helped to bring about to reduce the pressure on the coastal eco systems and enhanced socio economic standards of the local community while at the same time forcing local communities to protect the natural resources. While rehabilitating the tsunami affected eco systems 150hectares of new forests eco systems in Ampara district was protected with the support of communities living in the region.

Achieving Public Participation in coastal zone environmental management is needed to preserve the ecosystems for future generations. Therefore Participatory Coastal Zone Restoration and Sustainable Management in the Eastern Province  is a way of complexity of decision making by communities which shows a good example on inclusive participation coastal zone protection.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 May 2017 06:20  
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