International Biodiversity Day Celebration - 2023
Commemoration of International Biodiversity Day – 2023
Ministry of Environment
The Earth Summit held in 1992 at the Rio de Janeiro, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was ratified with the objectives of Biodiversity Conservation, Sustainable Utilization and sharing its benefit fair and equitable manner. Sri Lanka is a party to this Convention and the Ministry of Environment is a National Focal Point (NFP). Sri Lanka bind to implement number of obligations under this Convention.
The International Day for Biological Diversity announced by the Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity on 22nd May each year with the different themes and all member countries celebrate it.
Accordingly, in this year 22nd May 2023 announced the theme as “From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity” by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The Ministry of Environment organized and conducted several programs in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity in this year. Such as,
- Re- introduced endangered fish species to their habitat,
- Training workshop on identification of mangrove species, demonstration of how to use the National Guidelines for the Restoration of Mangrove Ecosystems of Sri Lanka & legal aspects of conservation of mangrove ecosystems in Sri Lanka and
- Awareness programme on Biodiversity and it’s Conservation for school children and teachers
National event on 22nd May 2023:
Considering the importance of species conservation given in National Red List, this year national event was conducted to release 30,000 captive-bred juveniles of Thambalaya (Labeo lankae) back into their native habitats in Malwathu Oya basin and Thumbikulama Tank which is located in one of the main cascade system of Malwathu Oya basin. Thambalaya, an endangered freshwater fish species endemic to Sri Lanka and restricted to the Malwathu Oya basin and adjacent water bodies, was thought to have gone extinct for a considerable time. However, the species was rediscovered in recent years, prompting the need for immediate conservation efforts to ensure its existence.
As the first step of the releasing Thabalaya to their native habitat, 3,200 captive-bred juveniles released to Thumbikulama tank in Palugaswewa Divisional Secretariat near Habarana, Sri Lanka. This was the national event celebrated in this year by the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with Department of Wildlife Conservation, National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA), Sabaragamuwa University, IUCN and GEF funded Biodiversity Conservation projects (Managing Together Project and Healthy Landscape Project) implemented by Ministry of Environment. This national event was conducted under the patronage of Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Environment and National and International delegates. This is a very remarkable landmark in Sri Lanka’s Biodiversity conservation. That’why we selected release this species in to its habitat this world important day of Biodiversity.
Managing Together Project and the Healthy Landscape Project have launched a rapid conservation plan to protect Thambalaya, focusing on protecting its habitats, and assisted in preparing reintroduction plan for reintroductions and other conservation translocations.
In addition to the release of Thambalaya juveniles, above said two projects will be intended further activities to be implement as species recovery plan. Awareness programs, habitat protection measures, and publications are among them. By implementing these thing, aims to protect Thambalaya’s habitats and ensure the sustenance of the species in its native range.
Biodiversity Division has planned to prepare the prioritized threatened endemic fish list according to the National Red List with consultation of faunal experts and forward it to NAQDA for the breeding and reintroduction.
Parallel events conducted:
- Training workshop on Identification of mangrove species, Demonstration of how to use the National Guidelines for the Restoration of Mangrove Ecosystems of Sri Lanka and Legal aspects of conservation of mangrove ecosystems in Sri Lanka.
In parallel with main event of the celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity on 22nd May 2023, the Biodiversity Division of the Ministry of Environment organized a training workshop on identification of mangrove species, demonstration of how to use the National Guidelines for the Restoration of Mangrove Ecosystems of Sri Lanka and legal aspects of Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystems in Sri Lanka on 23rd May 2023 for relevant Government Officials in Mannar District in collaboration with the Forest Department.
About 60 relevant stakeholder officials from Mannar District including Forest Department, Department of Wildlife Conservation, District Secretariat - Mannar, Central Environment Authority, Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Police, Coastal Conservation and Coastal Resource Management Department and other relevant institutions were participated in this workshop.
The technical support was provided by Prof. Sevvandi Jayakody (Chair Professor, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka / Chairperson, National Expert Committee on Mangrove Conservation and Sustainable Use established under the Ministry of Environment).
- Awareness Programme on Biodiversity and it’s Conservation
In parallel with main event of the celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity on 22nd May 2023, the Biodiversity Division of the Ministry of Environment organized an awareness workshop on Biodiversity and its Conservation in collaboration with North Central Provincial Education Department. This workshop specially focused on the importance of conservation of threatened fauna species.
Altogether 221 school students and teachers participated for this awareness programme from three schools in Anuradhapura District namely, Anuradapura Central Collage, Swarnapali Balika Maha Vidyalaya and Walissinghe Harischandra Vidyalaya.
Dr. Manoj Prasanna from the Biodiversity Division of the Ministry of Environment and Mr. Sampath Gunathilaka, Senior Programme officer of the IUCN delivered the lectures. Principal of the Anuradapura Central College and North Central Province, Provincial Science Director were participated as special guests for this occasion.
- In addition to the above, Biodiversity Division of the Ministry of Environment has made an arrangement to aware public on the celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity this year through printed and electronic media.