Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable Forestry Development in Sri Lanka: Emergence, Influence and Legitimacy

1. Mangala De Zoysa, University of Ruhuna, Department of Agricultural Economics Faculty of Agriculture University of Ruhu, Sri Lanka

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are considered as “win-win” solutions to both government and market failures, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of sustainable forest management. PPPs in forestry sector in Sri Lanka are seen as filling a regulatory gap resulting from the attempt of gradual withdrawal of government from the management of forest resources. This study is based on a review literature and documents, complemented with observations and interviews with participants and stakeholders of different forestry projects, and discuss the PPPs in terms of emergence, influence and legitimacy. The national forest policy in 1980 emphasized the great need for sustainable management of forest resources in the involvement of local communities. Afforestation, conservation and protection are the main forestry operations and pronounced components of the emerged community-public partnerships. The national forest policy in 1995 promoted the partnerships in terms of donor–recipient or public–private with local people, rural communities and other stakeholders. Establishment of timber and fuel-wood plantations, and agro-forestry woodlots have been implemented through the partnerships. The Tourism Development Strategy of Sri Lanka in 2011 – 2016 has given special emphasis on ecotourism, through partnerships between the government agencies, private sector and communities. Under a special reforestation scheme, private sector involves in forestry as a business through sustainable agro-forestry, impart financial gain and also create a cleaner and greener planet. Base on the nature of activity undertaken by the partnerships, afforestation, conservation and protection focus on consultation between government and local communities and involve concentration of policy between public and private actors. These programs have identified risk mitigation as an integral part of the public–community partnership planning process. The partnership for establishment of timber and fuel-wood plantations and agro-forestry woodlots are based on private interests participate in the strategic-level decision-making in the public interest. Investments of private sector in forest management are committed to enhance inflow of foreign exchange earnings through the export of value added forest products of Sandalwood, Mahogany and Teak. The private companies empower investors with a choice to invest responsibly by offering an investment option that goes beyond financial gain to ecological and environmental gain. The Forest Ordinance has empowered Forest Department which is responsible for the management, protection and the development of forest resources. PPPs are far less frequent in rule-setting and –implementation of timber and fuel-wood plantations and agro-forestry woodlots. Work undertaken by community based organizations in the forestry sector in Sri Lanka occurs on a minor scale particularly under financial support from foreign-funded projects. Communities are not adequately recognized as stakeholders by the government agencies and as a partner in privately-run ecotourism businesses. Public perception toward private-sector engagement in management of forest resources is raising serious concerns about conflict of interest. Although the forest policies are in line with commitments promoting public-private partnerships in managing forest resources, the government needs serious efforts to engage with sustainable development.

Ključne reči: Afforestation; Forest conservation and protection; Communities and stakeholders participation

Tematska oblast: Šumarska politika, ekonomika i organizacija

Datum: 11.07.2017.

Šumarska nauka u funkciji održivog razvoja šumarstva
25 godina šumarstva Republike Srpske

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