[IIOE2-EP45] Development of Integrated Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) for Sri Lanka

Lead Investigator :

  1. D.D.G.L. Dahanayaka,Senior Lecturer, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, The Open University of Sri Lanka, Nawala, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka

Other Key participants (s): NA

Period of Project: 01 April, 2021 - 31 December, 2022

Brief description of the Project:

According to growing Sri Lankan Blue economy, the natural assets of ocean and coastal ecosystems will face unparalleled pressures. Competition for ocean space will increase when economic activities such as marine/ coastal aquaculture, renewable energy, and marine/ coastal tourism boost and generate added demand in ocean-related industries. Hence, there is an immediate need to manage Open Ocean and coastal areas more coherently and safeguard them against activities that undermine the basis on which ocean industries depend. Only a sustainable blue economy that fits within the boundaries of our ocean and coastal ecosystems is capable of supporting robust growth of ocean-related economic activities. A sustainable blue economy calls for a strategic and integrated approach to planning the development of ocean and coastal ecosystems. Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is increasingly gaining traction as a powerful instrument to put 'ocean space' on the sustainable development agenda and provide a breeding ground for new development paths towards a sustainable blue economy. Few coastal districts of Sri Lanka have only land-based spatial planning, with the marine realm almost being neglected. The 'solution' is a novel approach to integrate land, coastal and marine ecosystems into spatial planning. For the overcome of the administrative obstacles need to develop strategy of data collection and most importantly, the discussion with various stakeholders of Sri Lanka. In parallel, need to prepare spatial analysis for coastal and marine areas of Sri Lanka. Ecosystem links and functions should analyse and mapped. Environmental and socio-economic profiles of Sri Lanka will identify and spatially project into a map based on each topic. After environmental and social profiles analysed, should be identified the main issues, root problems, spatial conflicts, causes for ecosystem degradation, poverty level, environmental protection efforts, management efforts, etc. MSP brings together different stakeholders, such as industry, government, conservation, and recreation, and enables them to jointly make thoughtful decisions about how to allocate space among competing economic activities while protecting marine ecosystems. MSP works across sectors to encourage investments. It does so by creating more transparent rules and a more predictable investment climate. At the same time, it aims to ensure that human activities at sea do not further jeopardize the health of our oceans and seas. From a policy perspective, MSP is instrumental in implementing a strategic and integrated approach to developing a sustainable blue economy. And because our ocean connects to sustainable life at so many different levels, we should not underestimate the impact of such an approach. Ultimately, a sustainable blue economy not just helps us achieve SDG14 (Life below Water) but enables us to impact a broad set of SDGs. The main output of the study is an integrated Sri Lanka Coastal Marine Spatial Plan, presented in a single spatial planning map. In the proposed integrated spatial plan of Sri Lanka, coastal and marine entities linked to the spatial allocation of economic functions both in land and marine areas. Most of the information needed to prepare MSP is already available with the different institutes. Updating the already available information is required and limited numbers of field visits are required. In order to ensure the protection of the Sri Lankan marine and coastal area, this project to develop a marine large-scale spatial planning template will: 1. Outline how large-scale marine spatial planning, including zoning, can be applied in the Sri Lankan marine and coastal area, to ensure protection management and sustainable uses of the sea as well as to minimize conflicting uses and harmful effects to the marine environment. The MSP should consider existing national and international legislations and regulations and existing GIS datasets. 2. Develop MSP using GIS as a data source and a set of tools/methods to demonstrate marine zoning in large-scale spatial planning. This includes collection of GIS data from institutions acting at international and national levels covering various plans and current uses.

Region of study:

Sri Lankan Exclusive Economic Zone of Indian Ocean Between 2 33' to 11 26' N and 77 1' to 85 13' E.