Proposed 3-Point Action Plan Against Wilpattu Ecological Crisis — 2018

1. RESETTLEMENT OF WAR VICTIMS

1.1 Re-allot alternative settlement lands in non-sensitive zones for the resettlement of IDPs, in accordance with the Integrated Strategic Environment Assessment of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Invest in their rehabilitation, with a focus on education and vocational training, including ecological agriculture training, in order that they may thrive and build sustainable communities

1.2 Ensure the sovereignty of Sri Lanka in all aspects of resettlement and rehabilitation, both in practical terms and symbolically (e.g. road signs should be in the official languages as per the constitution of Sri Lanka), in order to curtail future conflict

1.3 Develop protocols to be followed when accepting foreign aid for resettlement, rehabilitation, and community development, in order to filter out donors with political and/or colonization motives or donors with intentions that conflict with the sovereignty of Sri Lanka and/or the rule of Sri Lanka’s constitution and law

2. REWILDING WILPATTU

2.1 Remove any houses and artificial structures that coincide with the previous nine Protected Areas (PAs) that existed prior to 24 March 2017: i. Mavillu Reserved Forest, ii. Vilaththikulam Reserved Forest, iii. Marichchukaddi-Karadikkuli Reserved Forest, iv. Veppal Reserved Forest, v. Periyamarippu Reserved Forest, vi. Tabbowa Sanctuary, vii. Weerakulicholai-Eluvankulam Forest Reserve, viii. Wilpattu National Park, and ix. Wilpattu North Sanctuary

2.2 Via a new gazette, include the above-mentioned lands cleared of houses as described in 2.1 in a new Reserved Forest that combines the current Mavillu Conservation Forest, the cashew corporation plantation, Tabbowa Sanctuary, Weerakulicholai-Eluvankulam Forest Reserve, and Wilpattu North Sanctuary. This Reserved Forest newly gazetted will be physically contiguous with Wilpattu National Park for the free movement of fauna

2.3 The lands cleared of houses as described in 2.1 are to be reforested with species native to each vegetation type within Wilpattu (tropical dry mixed evergreen forest, tropical thorn forest, and mangroves, as applicable) and such reforesting is to be carried out by the Environmental Coalition of Sri Lanka with support from the Forest Department and the forces (Army, Navy, and Airforce)

3. CRITICAL ADMINISTRATIVE OVERHAUL

3.1 New heads of the Forest Department and the Department of Wildlife Conservation are to be appointed, with priority to individuals who both i. have the confidence of the Environmental Coalition of Sri Lanka and ii. hold academic credentials in forestry and wildlife conservation respectively and are passionately involved in their fields

3.2 The new heads of the above two departments will be allowed to act independently with zero interference either from politicians or their lobbyists, in order that the administration of forest and wildlife conservation in Sri Lanka may be brought to the high standards seen in developed countries