The EU funded SWITCH-Asia PROMISE Project (Prevention of Marine Litter in the Lakshadweep Sea) has organised a series of policy roundtable meetings to look at solutions to tackle marine litter in the Lakshadweep Sea between Sri Lanka, Maldives and India. A follow-up meeting to the first policy roundtable that was held last year was organised on 7 February 2023. The event was attended by government institutions, academia, NGOs, international development organisations and tourism industry associations in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The focus of this roundtable meeting was on policy benchmarking and discussions around adaptation to challenges and gaps in the Sri Lankan context, followed by the design and development of policy prototype solutions.
The Head of Cooperation from the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Mrs. Jenny Correia Nunes, delivered the keynote speech emphasizing that while marine pollution is a transboundary issue, we need also to look at national solutions, considering that the economy of Sri Lanka depends substantially on its marine and coastal environments. The EU has been a driving force globally to achieve climate neutrality, and the PROMISE project can help the economies of Sri Lanka, Maldives and India to make a green transition and keep our seas clean.
As part of PROMISE project activiities, the first MSMEs Green Finance Workshop was also held on 8th February 2023 at The Maldives National University. During this event, 28 stakeholders participated from financial institutions, technological providers, and MSMEs. Technology providers from State Electric Company Ltd (STELCO) and V.A.M. Company Pvt Ltd presented their available products and service portfolios, while financial institutions delivered extensive information regarding financial schemes, including loans and grants, available to the MSMEs.
This Green Finance Workshop is part of a series of other workshops that will target financial and technological institutes in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and India with the objective to enable access to finance for MSMEs to implement high cost waste minimization options.
His Excellency, Dr. Ibrahim Hassan, Minister of Higher Education, inaugurated the workshop highlighting that the plastic waste in the ocean is an urgent environmental problem to be addressed. He also emphasized that our lifestyle of frequent use of single-use plastic negatively impacts the environment and it is essential to minimize single-use plastics and adopt sustainable approaches while implementing waste minimization activities. The importance of MSMEs in the Maldives in addressing the existing negative impacts in our ecosystem was also stressed.
PROMISE is a 4-year project (2020-2024) supported by the European Union (EU) under the SWITCH-Asia Programme. It promotes sustainable consumption and production in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Activities target tourism clusters located along the Lakshadweep shorelines in the Maldives, Sri Lanka and India with the aim to prevent the leakage of wastes from land-based sources into the Lakshadweep Sea. The project is implemented by the Maldives National University (MNU), in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, the National Cleaner Production Centre, the Energy and Resources Institute, STENUM Asia, and adelphi research.