V. CONSIDERATION OF MULTILATERAL TRADE AND ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENTS IN DOMESTIC POLICY FORMULATION
3. Policy responses to the conservation of natural resources
In Sri Lanka, policy responses to the conservation of natural resources are not a direct result of Agenda 21 objectives as they were initiated much earlier. Nevertheless, they seek to achieve the goals and objectives of Agenda 21.
In the early 1980s, the World Conservation Union consulted governments on the urgent need to conserve their natural resources, for which guidelines were prepared in a document entitled "The World Conservation Strategy". The Government of Sri Lanka, recognizing the importance of the objectives laid down by the World Conservation Union, began preparing a National Conservation Strategy (NCS) for Sri Lanka. In 1988, the NCS became a declaration of national policy with regard to the conservation of nature and natural resources within the country. However, it was in the form of a general statement on the environment and its development in Sri Lanka.
Subsequently, CEA initiated the transformation of the original conservation strategy from a statement of programmes and principles to a set of policy guidelines and an action-oriented plan which could be implemented in respect of the different sectors. The transformation was achieved through an elaborate process of consultations with the institutions concerned as well as experts in each sector.
The NCS action plan identified specific issues related to all aspects of the environment in each sector, the actions required to address each issue and the focal points having the main responsibility for the recommended actions. Agencies for implementing the various actions were also identified. The main sectors and subsectors covered in the action plan are shown in table 12.
At present, the NCS action plan is in the form of a "National Environmental Action Plan". It is a rolling plan, which is subjected to periodic revisions and updating, and is a standard document used by planners, developers and economists to integrate environmental considerations into the development process.