|Monday, 18 August 2003|
by Tharika Goonathilake
The Central Environment Authority (CEA), the apex Government environmental regulatory and monitoring body, will open 10 new regional and sub-regional offices this year to take conservation, monitoring and regulatory prerogatives to the regions.
The novel initiative, a first since the establishment of the Authority in 1982, is deemed to enhance and expand the CEA's activities onto a more pro-active level as opposed to its former stance of being a mere monitoring and regulatory agency, CEA Chairman Ajith de Costa told the Daily News.
"The idea is to encourage a regional level awareness raising, monitoring and regulatory network that will work with the local communities to identify potential resources, redress possible threats and develop strategies to encourage prudent resource usage that does not compromise environmental concerns," the Chairman said.
Accordingly plans are underway to open new CEA regional offices in Galle, Hambantota, Kandy, Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Batticaloa, Ampara, Trincomalee and other parts of the country. The first in the series of offices, under this initiative has already been opened in Kegalle.
De Costa said the CEA has felt the need to authorise "regional level decision-making to tackle environmental related problems at local level, while concurrently launching area-specific environmental awareness initiatives."
He said that over Rs. 70 million has already been channelled for the programme, which will ensure an islandwide, regional and sub-regional CEA office network, that will facilitate the work of the CEA and assist in efforts to map out development strategies that do not compromise environmental concerns.
In addition, the new regional offices headed by a separate CEA official, will also help to make available CEA expertise at regional level and promote better liaison with communities, provincial council and district secretariats.
"The strategy is to work with the local communities to identify what is best for them and ensure their cooperation in achieving the lager goals of conservation and environmental awareness. The prerogatives will be open to the communities with CEA expertise and guidance at hand at regional level," De Costa said.
Produced by Lake House