Natural Resources Management & Monitoring Unit of the Central Environmental Authority, holds the responsibility of management of country’s natural resources, by assisting other relevant agencies involved in management of natural resources, and guiding and co-ordination with the Provincial and District offices of the Authority.
Functions of this unit include declaring Environmental Protected Areas, issuance of Environmental Recommendations for non-prescribed projects, formulation of regulations under the provisions of the National Environmental Act, preparation, development and publishing of Environmental Guidelines pertaining to management of natural resources, and implementation of National Wetland Action Plan.
National Wetland Policy has been published in 2006 implementation of National Wetland Management Action Plan has been initiated National Wetland Day which falls on 02nd of February, is celebrated annually.
National Wetland Directory of Sri Lanka has been prepared in collaboration with the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in 2006.
The National Environmental Act No. 47 of 1980 has provisions which allows the Central Environmental Authority to declare specific areas as Environmental Protection Areas by the CEA through an order published in a Gazette. Once the CEA declares as area as an Environmental Protection Area, any planning scheme or project in the protected area under the provision of any law which is in conflict with any provision of the National Environmental Act, ceases to operate in that area.
As per the provisions of the NEA, the following areas have been declared as Environmental Protection Areas;
Muthurajawela Environmental Protection area (Gazette Notification No. 1466/26 of 13th October 2006)
Thalangama Environmental Protection Area (Gazette Notification No. 1487/10 of 5th March 2007).
GregoryLake Environmental Protection Area (Gazette Notification No. 1487/10 of 5th March 2007).
Knuckles Environmental Protection Area (Gazette Notification No. 1507/9 of 23rd July 2007).
Maragala Mountain Range Environmental Protection Area (Gazette Notification No. 1560/26 of 01st August 2008).
WalauwewattaWathurana Environmental Protection Area (Gazette Notification No. 1598/21 of 24th April 2009.
Bolgoda Environmental Protection Area (Gazette Notification No. 1634/23 of 30th December 2009).
Hanthana Environmental Protection Area (Gazette Notification No. 1641/28 of 17th February 2010).
Prohibition of cultivation of annual crops in high gradient areas (Gazette Notification No. 1456/35 of 04th August 2006).
Prohibition of the use of equipment for exploration, mining and extraction of sand and gem. (Gazette Notification No. 1454/4, of 17th July 2006).
Issuance of Environmental Recommendations, for activities which are not prescribed under the Provisions of Part IV C of the NEA, such as Erection of Telecommunication towers, Hotels having less than 99 rooms, Blocking out of land for Real Estate Development, Felling of tree, River bed mining, Extraction of mineral resources, Land Authority of issuing of such recommendations has been delegated to the Provincial Offices the Central Environmental Authority.
Guidebook for Natural Resources Management has been prepared and published.
A Training Module for trainers on Environmental Impacts and mitigation action on sand mining has been published.
A decision has been taken not to grant approval for mini hydro power generation projects at 383 waterfalls recorded in Sri Lanka with the view to preventing the scenic beauty of the waterfalls.
Erection of Sign Boards with a brief description and pictures at places, and at trees, is now in progress, as public awareness on such places are identified as a timely requirement. Another objective of this programme is to enhance the co-operation of public, private sector and state institutions in conservation of natural resources of Sri Lanka.