APPROACHING PROBLEMS OF LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY CHALLENGES IN SRI LANKA THROUGH BIOPROSPECTING AND BENEFIT SHARING
Biodiversity can be defined as variety and variability of Jiving organisms.Conceptually, it can be defined as hierarchically related levels, genetic, speciesand ecosystems. Culture and related developments also plays a significant role inbiodiversity. It is widely accepted that biodiversity is central to the developmentand evolutionary process without which the sustainability is questionable.
However. Sri Lanka is loosing biodiversity is disappearing rapidly at all levels.At gene level, example is loss of wealthy landraces and local cultivars. Atspecies level, extinction, overexploitation and smuggling cause loss of species.Ecosystems also subjected to series of changes due to various reasons. Culturalaspects and indigenous knowledge also loose at a rapid rate.
The challenges for these biodiversity losses cannot be address by simple or singlemeasures. A number of compatible options are essential to address it. However,the use of biodiversity in an appropriate manner is suggested as one of the mosteffective options in conservation of biodiversity.
Use of biodiversity requires bioprospecting, the search For wild species, genes andtheir products with actual or potential use to humans. In broadest sense, it is aprocess dating from the roots of humanity. It has been practiced informallythroughout Sri Lanka and elsewhere. The forrnalisation of this process bringsmore benefits to the soicety. However, if the benefits of biodiversity utilisationare to be shared fairly and equitable, governments will needs to design specificmechanisms to ensure that these benefits actually reach intended beneficiarieswhich is termed as benefit sharing. This is an important issue from the article 15of the Convention of Biodiversity, which Sri Lanka signed and ratified.
Biodiversity prospecting and benefit sharing increase in the recognised value ofresources are the most effective pathways to foster conservation and the continuedavailability of biodiversity. The authors .are discussing the above issues withexamples from India and Costa Rica and their relevance to Sri Lan