World Bank Under Fire for Backing Project to Reap Short-term Benefit at the Expense of Forests

Some Forest Conservation Department officials are more interested in building roads and structures inside protected areas than protecting forests, Sajeewa Chamikara of the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reforms (MONLAR) says.

“These officials are not interested in preventing illegal activities inside protected areas or raising the awareness of those who live near these areas, especially around Sinharaja Forest”, he said.

Ecosystem Conservation and Management Project (ESCAMP), a World Bank mission was a case in point, Chamikara said, alleging that it sought to develop forests as tourism centres.

“During the first part of the ESCAMP, forest conservation, officials developed roads at the Kudawa entrance. They constructed a two-kilometre road with a width of 10 feet, through Sinharaja. They even put waterlines in. A large number of freshwater crabs and amphibians lost their habitats and breeding grounds because of these constructions. We don’t see some animals like the Kangaroo lizard and the Sri Lankan green pit viper in that area anymore”, he said.

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