Highlights of Rufford in-country conference - Sri Lanka
The Rufford in-country conference – Sri Lanka under the theme of “Let’s Protect Sri Lankan Biodiversity” was held between November 14th to November 16th at Oak Ray Regency, Deveni Rajasinghe Mawatha, Kandy, Sri Lanka. This is the first Rufford in-country conference held in Sri Lanka to share the project experience of Rufford grantees among them and also make known to general public. Apart from the grantees some non- grantees also invited to present their reports on research and conservation works. Altogether, 65 participants attended the conference including Mr. Josh Cole – grant director of the Rufford Foundation and several presenters from three south Asian countries (Bangladesh, India and Maldives; one from each country – see Annex 1 in PDF document for full list of participants).
Opening of conference was marked by the lighting of traditional oil lamp by some attendees representing different organizations. After that welcome speech was delivered by Dr. Lalith Ekanayake (BCSL), Chief organizer of the conference. In addition, he took a short while to spell out objectives of the conference and introduce biodiversity related various undertakings and achievements of Bio Conservation Society of Sri Lanka. Thereafter, key note speech was delivered by Prof. Siril Wijesundara, a prominent plant scientist attached to National Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka. He talked on the subject of Ex-situ conservation, an under utilized tool inconservation of biodiversity in Sri Lanka. The emphasis was on using national botanic garden network of Sri Lanka for sustaining plants at risk in line with climatic preference of respective plants.