Are you ready to embark on a journey to a land known for its breathtaking landscapes and warm hospitality? Brace yourself, because there’s more to Sri Lanka than meets the eye. This beautiful island nation has not only overcome a three-decade-long terrorist conflict but has also achieved significant progress in sustainable development. Sri Lanka is now on a path towards resilience, guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sri Lanka’s Transformative Journey towards Sustainability
Sri Lanka has made remarkable strides in various aspects of development. Poverty rates have plummeted to an impressive 4.1% in 2016, and the country is steadily moving towards becoming an upper middle-income nation, boasting a per capita GDP of USD 4,066 in 2017. Moreover, the unemployment rate has remained below 5% for the past seven years.
The nation’s commitment to free education and healthcare has played a vital role in fostering a society with a high life expectancy of 75 years and exceptional youth literacy rates of 98.7%. These achievements have rightfully earned Sri Lanka recognition as a “high human development” country by the United Nations.
Stakeholder Engagement: Fostering Collaboration for Change
Recognizing the importance of multi-stakeholder engagement, Sri Lanka has implemented a comprehensive process to ensure the successful implementation of the 2030 agenda. A multi-stakeholder committee, guided by a task force and facilitated by a consultant, has paved the way for progress. Through five workshops and an online engagement platform, stakeholders from all corners of the country actively participated, fostering inclusivity and collaboration.
Key Strategies for SDG Implementation
The government’s visionary plan, “Vision 2025,” and the Public Investment Programme serve as the backbone for implementing the SDGs in Sri Lanka. These comprehensive plans seamlessly align with the SDGs, weaving a unified vision for sustainable development. Additionally, the National Budget 2018 focuses on establishing a “Blue Green Economy,” promoting an eco-friendly environment that encourages harmonious coexistence.
Means of Implementation: Promoting Sustainable Development
To ensure the effective implementation of sustainable development policies, Sri Lanka enacted the Sustainable Development Act in October 2017. This legislation lays the groundwork for formulating a national sustainable development policy and strategy. Spearheading the Act’s implementation is the Sustainable Development Council, appointed by the President.
A significant strategy employed by the government involves integrating the SDGs into institutional plans across various sectors. By mainstreaming the SDGs, Sri Lanka aims to cultivate a holistic approach towards sustainable development.
Challenges and Progress Across Key Areas
While Sri Lanka has made significant strides in reducing poverty, pockets of poverty still exist across the country, with disparities observed among districts. The government is actively improving the efficiency and coverage of existing social protection programs to support the poor and vulnerable.
Sri Lanka has achieved significant progress in reducing maternal, under-five, and neonatal mortality rates. However, the nation faces challenges associated with an aging population and the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases. To address these issues, the Health Policy 2016-2025 focuses on financing, regulations, and primary healthcare.
Sri Lanka boasts near-universal youth literacy rates, school enrollment, and primary education completion. However, there is a need to enhance the quality and relevance of education, improve access to higher and vocational education, standardize non-state education, and strengthen the link between general and vocational education.
Sri Lanka ranks 73rd out of 188 countries in the gender inequality index. Gender disparities persist in labor force participation and political representation. To address these issues, regulations have been introduced to facilitate women in balancing work and family responsibilities. Legislation has also increased women’s representation in local authorities.
Water and Sanitation
Approximately 89.5% of the population in Sri Lanka has access to safe drinking water. However, regional disparities and concerns about water quality and quantity persist. Meanwhile, 87% of the population has access to onsite sanitation facilities. Efforts are underway to provide facilities to the rest of the population and manage wastewater in urban and industrial areas.
Sri Lanka boasts over 98% coverage of domestic electricity supply, with renewable sources accounting for 53% of the total primary energy supply. However, the country faces challenges such as rising energy imports and costs. To tackle these issues, the government is exploring renewable energy options, implementing demand-side management, and regulating the energy sector.
Public transport accounts for 57% of passenger transportation in Sri Lanka. However, the country faces challenges such as traffic congestion in urban areas, increasing private vehicle usage, and road accidents. To modernize the transport system, measures such as railway electrification, the Light Rail Transit System, and the introduction of fuel-efficient vehicles are being implemented.
Sri Lanka’s strategic geographical location and diverse attractions make it a promising destination for tourism. Over the past decade, the country has experienced a five-fold increase in annual tourist arrivals. To ensure the sustainability of this sector, a transformation in the tourism strategy is essential.
Sri Lanka is recognized as one of the world’s 35 biodiversity hotspots, housing high levels of endemic species across various taxonomic groups. However, several species are under threat, and deforestation remains a challenge due to increased land demand. The National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan outlines solutions to address these challenges.
The Sri Lankan government envisions a peaceful, stable, reconciled, and prosperous Sri Lanka. To achieve this vision, a three-pillared strategy focusing on strengthening democracy, reconciliation, and economic development has been adopted. The participation of all stakeholders is crucial, as outlined in the Peacebuilding Priority Plan.
Charting the Course for a Sustainable Future
Sri Lanka’s journey towards sustainable development stands as a testimony to the nation’s resilience and determination. By upholding the SDGs and engaging stakeholders at every level, Sri Lanka is paving the way for a brighter future.
DHPL Travels proudly showcases Sri Lanka’s sustainable development efforts. Discover more about the incredible experiences this island has to offer while supporting its sustainable transformation. DHPL Travels is your gateway to an unforgettable adventure!
As an experienced traveler and passionate advocate for sustainable development, I invite you to witness the remarkable journey of Sri Lanka. By choosing DHPL Travels, you support responsible tourism and contribute to the local communities that make Sri Lanka the incredible destination it is today.