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PM Dinesh Gunawardena Emphasizes Wetland Protection to Mitigate Flooding in Colombo

June 19, Colombo (LNW): Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena highlighted the critical need to protect wetlands as a vital resource to address future flood prevention challenges in Colombo. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the First Wetland Link International (WLI) Asia-Oceania Conference 2024 at Water’s Edge, the Prime Minister stressed the collective responsibility of safeguarding urban wetlands.

Addressing the conference attendees, the Prime Minister urged academics to develop common solutions for wetland management, recognizing the universal nature of the issues affecting urban wetlands.

“This conference is of utmost importance as wetlands are fundamental to the well-being of residents in major cities, and Colombo is no exception. Even the most degraded wetlands provide a range of benefits that contribute to human well-being in the city. The Colombo wetlands complex spans six local authorities, including the Municipal Councils of Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, Colombo, Kaduwela, Kolonnawa, Maharagama, and Dehiwala–Mount Lavinia,” the Prime Minister stated.

He noted that urban wetlands in these areas have been integrated into the city’s development planning. The 150-year-old wetlands have been reclaimed and managed to ensure their sustainability for another 150 years. As both the Minister of Local Government and the Prime Minister, Gunawardena expressed his special interest in this subject.

The First WLI Asia-Oceania Conference began at Diyasaru Park on June 16 and will continue until June 22 under the theme “Wetlands and Wetland Centres for Ecotourism.” The event features representatives from wetland centers in over 15 countries, including members of the Ramsar Regional Centre East Asia (RRC-EA) and the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT) from the UK.

The conference is organized by the Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation (SLLDC) in collaboration with the Western Province Tourist Board and the Climate Change Office of the Presidential Secretariat.

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