Dr Sumith Pilapitiya, Lead Environmental Specialist for the South Asia Environment, World Bank, Sri Lanka, delivered the key-note speech on “costs and benefits associated with businesses in the coastal environment”. In his speech Dr Pilapitiya stressed that ecosystem services provided by the coastal environment had an immense value and should be considered in economic terms, being treated in much the same way as development infrastructure.
Participants were informed that Coast Action will be a one-stop shop for information on coastal ecosystems and their management. The network will strongly facilitate access to and availability of specialists and experts in the field. Being private sector driven, the network will have its own branding, website and newsletter.
Interested members who joined the meeting discussed the proposed organizational structure of the network, its legal status and the direct and indirect benefits the members may expect. The costs required to run a lean secretariat and the financial model to ensure sustainability of the network in the coming years was discussed. In the upcoming period, further discussions will be had with the management of several interested companies by facilitators of the initiative, IUCN and MFF.
Participants showed a keen interest in becoming a part of this network with some companies already expressing their desire to work together in shared ecosystems demonstrating the advantages of joining forces.