With the Project:
Sri Lanka Mangrove Conservation
The Sri Lanka mangrove conservation project was launched through a trilateral agreement between Seacology, the NGO Sudeesa, and the Sri Lankan government. This agreement made Sri Lanka the first nation in the world to commit to comprehensively protect all of its mangrove forests. The project has helped to mitigate poverty in coastal communities by providing sustainable livelihoods training and microloans to thousands of women and young people in exchange for their leadership in community mangrove conservation co-operatives.
Mangroves are under threat worldwide and strategies must be developed to preserve these critical blue carbon ecosystems. In the past 50 years, the world has lost half of its mangrove forests due to conversion to shrimp farms, croplands, waterfront development, and deforestation for fuelwood and charcoal production. If current mangrove deforestation rates persist, nearly all of the earth's unprotected mangroves could be gone within the next 100 years.
Mangrove conservation is paired with economic development initiatives in impoverished coastal communities. The project team works with communities in the North and East of the country, areas most impacted by the recent civil war which left not only many disabled residents, widows and orphans with few economic options, but also caused extreme environmental destruction, especially of the coastal mangrove forests.
Resilience is created through the active participation of the community in the protection of the critical mangrove forests. The project also fosters the trust between the community members, government officials and NGOs, and encourages collaboration between ethnic groups that, until fairly recently, were engaged in a brutal civil war. In addition, Sri Lanka will become the first nation in the world to protect all of its mangroves with an innovative program that provides job training and microloans to impoverished women and young people through village-based community benefit organisations.
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