Biodiversity Sri Lanka to hold first AGM, Technical Sessions and CEO Forum

Thursday, 29 September 2016 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Sri Lanka Business and Biodiversity (SL B&B) Platform, initially set up in 2012 as a program of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) was rebranded as Biodiversity Sri Lanka (BSL) in October 2015. 

The mission of BSL is to foster the engagement and strong leadership of the private sector through active learning, obtaining technical support, sharing information, knowledge and experience, promoting best practices and dialogue with state and civil society partners on biodiversity and environmental conservation issues. 

To date, over 60 leading corporate organizations with high standards of environmental custodianship have enlisted themselves as members of the Platform. The membership of BSL while continuously growing and representing a cross-sectoral diversity, stands as the core strength behind all its activities. It is therefore imperative that its members are the core beneficiaries of the work carried out. 

For the benefit of its membership, Sectoral Standing Committees dedicated to address biodiversity challenges faced by key industry sectors namely plantations, banking and finance, construction and tourism and hospitality have been established and are steered by eminent professionals in these sectors.

BSL’s first AGM, annual Technical Session and CEO forum will be held on Friday 30th September 2016 at Ramada, Colombo. At these sessions its Biodiversity Project Ranking Scheme will be unveiled. Through this scheme it will become possible for corporate biodiversity projects to be ranked based on established criteria with the objective of fine tuning these projects and to gear them to address national conservation priorities. 

In the past year, the scheme has been pilot tested and refined so that it can be used to rank projects nearing completion or used in project conceptualization and design. Another one of BSL’s most prominent projects – A Biodiversity Credit Accrual System for Sri Lanka will also be discussed as not only an innovative concept but also an example of multi-partner engagement and collaboration. 

During the technical proceedings, plans to engage in the Kelani River Management Plan (KRMP) – an action plan recently developed by IUCN Sri Lanka in conjunction with the Government of Sri Lanka, the Central Environmental Authority and UNICEF for the sustainable management of the Kelani River will be discussed. This session will focus on possible points of entry for the private sector and discuss ways by which members can contribute towards the sustainability and resilience of this important river basin. A vital aspect highlighted in the KRMP is the need for public-private partnerships which has been identified as a key to the success of this Plan.

The CEO Forum will feature addresses by Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya, an eminent environmental specialist and Sarinda Unamboowe CEO, MAS Linea Aqua, a Patron Member of Biodiversity Sri Lanka on the ‘The Symbiosis of Biodiversity and Business’. These will focus on business benefits of biodiversity conservation so that businesses would see it as a solution to delivering a good environmental outcome by integrating sustainability into their business through biodiversity.

Biodiversity Sri Lanka will also launch its first publication – ‘Worth Protecting,’ an illustrative collection of best biodiversity stories from Sri Lanka’s tea plantations at this event.

Besides being an opportunity for learning and interaction, these sessions will also serve as an opportunity for the members of BSL to look back and evaluate their successes and failures and find ways to improve and minimise future obstacles towards effective change in biodiversity conservation practices by the Sri Lankan private sector. The content will have a strong emphasis on the benefits that members can gain from being a part of a collective force that is engaged in the conservation of Sri Lanka’s valuable biodiversity heritage.

As one of BSL’s core objectives is to facilitate private-public partnerships, this event is expected to be attended by more than 120 invitees from over 60 of BSL’s members and high-ranking Government officials, representatives from foreign missions, national and international NGOs.

Biodiversity Sri Lanka is an organisation established to foster dialogue between Sri Lanka’s private sector and conservation agencies. The Platform provides valuable services to its membership and Sri Lankan businesses at large in sustainable development and in the conservation of the natural resources of our country. The main objective of the Platform is to be a one-stop-shop for information, advice and assistance required by companies to preserve our country’s natural heritage.