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The UK and Sri Lanka sign a deal to protect the marine environment supporting biodiversity

By: Staff Writer

May 20, Colombo (LNW): United Kingdom and Sri Lanka joined hands to protect and enhance marine ecosystems to support biodiversity and good water quality, whilst also providing sustainable seafood for Sri Lankans.

The UK Government’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Sri Lanka’s Ministry of the Environment have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two nations, to protect and enhance the marine environment.

Prabath Chadrakeerthi, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Sara Rusling, Deputy Director for the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) signed the agreement that represents a united effort to work together to protect and enhance marine ecosystems to support biodiversity and good water quality, whilst also providing sustainable seafood for Sri Lankans.

Through the UK’s Ocean Country Partnership Programme (OCPP), Sri Lanka and the UK will be collaborating to tackle the three key challenges of marine biodiversity, marine pollution and sustainable seafood.

The OCPP aims to support the marine environment and to make a positive impact on the livelihoods of coastal communities that depend on healthy marine ecosystems.

The MoU recognises work that has been taking place over the last few years that includes joint research on plastic pollution, setting up new microplastics laboratories, knowledge exchange on scientific methods to support water quality monitoring and collaboration.

It is aimed at enhancing Sri Lanka’s Marine Protected Areas to meet the country’s conservation ambitions and biodiversity commitments.

The programme also focuses on marine pollution emergency response techniques, with a focus on the environmental aspects of prevention, preparedness and response.

Joint work has also taken place around enabling safe and sustainable seafood production, particularly with regards to aquaculture.

The OCPP programme also includes work with the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), providing scholarships for Masters students hosted by the University of Kelaniya and University of Peradeniya.

The scholarships will enable scholars from Sri Lanka to harness their regional knowledge and conduct vital research that will contribute to the conservation and sustainable management of marine resources, and strengthen responses to marine environmental challenges.

The UK Marine Minister, Lord Benyon said the UK and Sri Lanka have a long history of collaboration, and through our joint work have already made important progress on tackling marine pollution and supporting the biodiversity of Sri Lanka’s waters.

Lord Benyo said the agreement formalises efforts to secure a healthy marine environment, and through the UK’s Ocean Country Partnership Programme, will help us tackle the pivotal challenges faced by marine life and coastal communities in the future.

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