France and Sri Lanka join hands for Oceans protection and Blue Economy

The Embassy of France in Sri Lanka and the Maldives and its partners - Biodiversity Sri Lanka, MIND, IUCN, the French Development Agency, the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies and the Alliance Française de Kotte in Colombo - organized a high level seminar to raise awareness and trigger action regarding Ocean’s protection and Blue economy in Sri Lanka.

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“Managing the Oceans and Boosting the Blue Economy”
on 17th of May
At the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS)

In the presence of:
H. E. Mr. Jean-Marin Schuh
Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Mr. Anura Dissanayake
Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment

Professor Mohan Munasinghe
Vice Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,
co-laureate of the Nobel Prize

Mr. Dilhan C. Fernando,
CEO of Dilmah
Chairman of Biodiversity Sri Lanka

Mr. Nishan Perera,
Marine Biologist, Co-Founder of Blue Resources Trust

Dr. Karine Pothin
Director of the Marine wildlife Sanctuary of La Réunion, France

On this occasion, a Declaration of Intent between Sri Lanka and France was signed. The declaration insists on bilateral cooperation and exchanges regarding the Blue Economy. In particular, the declaration refers to development projects in Sri Lanka supported by the French development Agency in the field of coastal cities sewerage, fisheries and strategic investments in coastal cities facing rapid expansion due to tourism. The declaration also mentions the will of Sri Lanka to join the International Coral Reef Initiative, with purpose is to protect coral reefs, alongside France and 80 other members.

In addition, a document of Expression of Interest from Sri Lankan private companies was signed to support a project on coastal management and Blue Economy in the region of Vakarai-Batticaloa. Local companies have already committed their contribution towards this project, coordinated by Biodiversity Sri Lanka: Dialog Axiata PLC, Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company PLC, MAS Holding, TESS (Pvt.) Ltd., Tokyo Cement Group and Aitken Spence Travels.

FOCUS-LK “Managing the Oceans and Boosting the Blue Economy” is multi-stakeholder initiative which highlights sustainable and innovative solutions for ocean’s sustainable management. The main goal is to develop synergies between civil society, the business sector and public institutions to trigger action. The project proposal presented on May 17th was the result of a collaborative initiative which started with a workshop on March 15th, gathering 20 Sri Lankan experts.

The objectives of May 17th seminar was also to present a French success story regarding launching a marine conservation area in La Reunion (French Island in the Indian Ocean).

In addition to the conference, cultural events were organized: a photo exhibition “Ocean and Climate, exchanges for life” created by the French Research Institute for Development, and the awarded documentary Chasing Coral (Jeff Orlowski) was screened to the public.
Focus LK - an innovative concept:

1. Multi-stakeholders collaboration to create synergies between Public, Non-Government, Academic and Private sectors to boost Blue Economy potential.

2. A step-by-step process: preliminary workshop to produce proposals, followed by commitments during the Seminar, and an on-site action to put words into action.

3. A revamped method to reach concrete objectives: the seminar to endorse a strategy and concrete conservation projects submitted to Sri Lankan authorities and companies.

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Online 29/05/2018

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