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Vankalai bird sanctuary conservation through community based eco-tourism
by The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) (United Nations entity)
Vankalai Sanctuary in Mannar was declared a sanctuary by the Department of Wildlife Sri Lanka in 2008 and a RAMSAR wetland of international importance in 2010. This site covers an area of 4,839 hectares and consists of several ecosystems which range from arid zone thorn scrubland, arid zone pastures and maritime grasslands, sand dunes, mangroves, salt marshes, lagoons, tidal flats, sea-grass beds and shallow marine areas. The sanctuary supports high species diversity and also sustains the livelihoods of fisheries-dependent communities in the area.

This initiative was aimed at conserving the Vankalei Bird Sanctuary by decreasing the threats to the sanctuary, constructing an operational centre for the Department of Wildlife staff, installing information boards for visitors, distributing educational media on the environmental importance of the Vankalai Sanctuary, planting trees, providing awareness trainings on community eco-tourism and supporting the livelihoods of small scale fishing families through eco-tourism.

Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): Awareness of local communities on proper waste management practices
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Community or Locally Managed Marine Areas
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • MPA management and/or enforcement
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
  • Economic benefits from sustainable tourism
April 2017
Bird watching centre
April 2017
Introducing solid waste management solutions in conjunction with the municipal council
April 2017
Development of home gardens of communities living on the border of the sanctuary
April 2017
Leadership development for the community to ward of threats from illegal land ownership and settlements
Financing (in USD)
32,245 USD
Basic information
Time-frame: November 2015 - April 2017
GEF Small Grants Programme (United Nations Entity - Lead Entity) Mannar Eco Friends (Non Governmental Organization)
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
Beneficiary countries
Sri Lanka
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Dinali Jayasinghe, National Coordinator, dinali.jayasinghe@undp.org, +94 11 2580692 ext 1421
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Other SDGs
United Nations