The World Bank today released a statement clarifying media reports on World Bank’s position on the management of Yala national park.
The Bank has indeed raised the importance of managing traffic in the National Park, an important cultural heritage and signature park for Sri Lanka. When people think of wildlife in Sri Lanka, this is the first park that comes to mind with its majestic cats, amongst other animals. But it’s not simply the Bank that has been raising the importance of managing this resource carefully, many Sri Lankans who have visited the Park believe that the time is now to manage the resource before significant irreversible damage.
Simply closing a Block in the park is not a holistic nor sustainable solution and is not the type of solution that the Bank would propose. Further, holding back funding would defeat the purpose of supporting better management. The ongoing discussions between the Bank and the government on the country’s park management is held with a view to ensuring that these vulnerable resources are managed for the benefit of those employed in the parks. This includes the local community whose livelihood depends on tourism in the park and the many visitors for whom the experience in the park will be a lasting one.