III. MECHANISMS FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS INTO SECTOR POLICIES AND FOR MONITORING 20
D. Mechanisms for interacting with the private sector in integrated policy decision-making
In Sri Lanka, environmental policy development and management is generally dominated by the State agencies and NGOs. The private sector, although affected by environmental regulations and policy decisions, has not effectively contributed to environmental policy development. In most instances, the only interaction from the private sector has been with the regulators. Therefore, the relationship often becomes confrontational. In recognition of the problem, private sector Chambers of Commerce and associations, as well as State sector agencies, have created social mechanisms for interacting with the private sector in the integrated policy-making process.
The government recently created a high-level policy analysis and policy-influencing body called the National Development Council (NDC), which comprises top-ranking State policy makers. Professionals and experts in the various specialized fields are co-opted into NDC, both from the State sector and the private sector depending on the policy area being analysed. NDC functions directly under the President. It makes recommendations directly to the President on priority policy areas assigned to it for study and analysis, as well as on policy issues it initiates independently. As such, NDC provides an important mechanism through which the private sector can interact to influence policies on environmental issues at the highest level. According to NDC sources, although the environmental policy issues of the plantations (tea) sector have not yet been taken up for study, that step is expected to be taken at the earliest possible opportunity.
Among the noteworthy mechanisms which already exist, or have been proposed by the private sector Chambers, are the initiatives taken by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, which encompasses many sectors. A "private sector body" has been established under the aegis of that Chamber to represent private sector interests in national environmental policy formulation. That body, which will draw from the membership resources and organizational expertise of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in bringing the private sector together on environmental issues, aims to:
In the case of the tea sector, the Tea Traders' Association and the Tea Planters' Association provide two strong mechanisms for representing and influencing the formulation of environmental polices which have a bearing on the tea plantations as well as on related trading issues. The associations generally interact with, and make representations to, the Ministry of Plantation Industries on policy issues affecting the tea sector; however, they have the freedom to deal directly with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and other national policy-making bodies, with a view to influencing integrated policy-making.