Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Effectiveness of current legislation of Protected Areas

D.K Lakmini Senadheera

An area of land and /or sea especially dedicated to the protection of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and manage through legal and other effective means”(IUCN1994). Protected areas (PAs) can be categorized in to six types, according to their management objectives. Category I to VI.

In Sri Lanka, there are eight types National Protected Areas. Strict Nature Reserves National Parks, Nature Reserves, Jungle corridors, Refuges, Marine Reserves, Buffer Zones, and Sanctuaries. Nearly all the natural forests that exist at present are state owned and under the purview of three institutions, namely the Forest Department, Department of Wild Life Conservation and the Divisional Secretaries.

In Sri Lanka, Current legislations for PA’s are mainly categorized in Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance (FFPO). The category 5, 6 and 7 are introduced in 1993 (act no 49) by amending the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance (No 2 of 1937)FFPO (amended)was approved y the Cabinet of Ministers on 12March 2008.It has been forward to Government Printing Dept on 8th June 2008 for gazzeting. If is expected to submit to parliament and get approved in August 2008.

Some of the policies on Protected Area are categorized in Management and wildlife Conservation National Policy. There are Fines and penalties for illegal activities in PA”s mentioned in the ordinance.(E.g.: For Strict Nature reserves Entering without permission , 15000-50000, 2-5 yrs ) When we consider about the current status of the legislation, The main policy making body for the PA’s in Sri Lanka is Department of wildlife and conservation. Almost all the legislations have been prepared according to the FFPO.DWC have amended seven items in the FFPO, Mainly they have consecrated on, Increasing fines for the illegal activities, Evade the loop holes in legal framework, Make new provision existing legal barriers. There are not enough laws and regulations are currently in operations according to the FFPO and wildlife policy. Some of them are lack of intervention of the police, not enough staff for handle the legislation in WDC. In adequate staff to ensure proper protection, lack of proper transport facilities, not enough weapons to control the illegal activities and poor inspection. Another major problems are, political influences(when making legislation, when implementing the existing laws)Influences of NGOs, Bribery and corruption, Enforcement of existing laws & regulations of protected areas should concentrate on most common illegal activities & violations.

As My recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the legislation on protected areas, the Policy making bodies should be well organized, and all the officers should be well aware about its operations. There should be political support for the policy making and the implementation of the above.The relevant authorities should get support/ assistance from Non government Organizations in making legislation. Recruit more officers and give them a good train. As the community, we should give our full support to the administrative to implement the legislation and conserve the protected Areas. It is recommended that development of an integrated operation plan that takes in to active consideration not only conservation and protection and enhancement of fauna and flora.

No comments: