Hon. Deputy Minister's Message
At a time every country in the world striving to achieve a higher growth rate we too have undertaken the task of expanding our development horizons. From the period of King Pandukabhaya of the 4th century, Sri Lankans enjoyed their own unique style of town planning and it is with a sense of great pride that we recall this proud history.
Changes in the socioeconomic spheres in the 19th century gave rise to a host of new challenges, the foremost among which was the process of town planning. People who migrated to towns for employment and various other requirements had to be provided with lands, housing, education, healthcare, potable water and sanitation. Utilization of lands became the most pressing problem.
Within the limited resources of land available, we need to pay more attention to optimization of land use. If there is no well thought out programme or plan towards that end, the provision of services and amenities could be affected severely. This will invariably lead to the misuse of government lands.
As these shifting populations are the key segment that seek modern urban amenities and facilities, the responsibility of providing them with the such facilities within the proposed urban development process is the greatest challenging confronting us today. In particular, the inclusion of sanitation in the urban development process in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals demonstrates how important it is. Garbage disposal and sewage systems have to be meticulously planned to meet this challenge.
In the development process, land management is of crucial importance. As the horizontal development that had already taken place cannot be further expanded due to limited land resources, the government has to shift towards a vertical development process. This requires centralization of the development process and should accompany the development of public transport and roads, regularization of the land use, zoning as commerce, education etc and the conservation of environmentally sensitive areas.
Sustainable development though has many shades of meanings and synonyms, it really means the durable development that the natural environment can sustain.
In 1987, The World Commission on Environment and Development has defined sustainable development as “ development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” It can be safely assume that such a development process will minimize the clash between man and the natural environment.
We are about to bring about a revolutionary change in urban development. Its inevitable outcome would be more economic benefits to the country, improved living standards of urban communities and elimination of pressure stemming from urban sprawl.
In the development process the Internet and social media network play an increasingly influential role. The basic objective of a communicator is to disseminate the intended message accurately and in the most convincing manner. He has to bear in mind the intended audience, the media to be used, what the response of the audience would be and what its possible impacts could be. Against this backdrop, I believe that the website if the Urban Development Authority has been entrusted with a special responsibility. Their effort to transmit the message on the functions and objectives of the Urban Development Authority with accuracy and conviction is praiseworthy and will set an example to others.
Hon. Lasantha Alagiyawanna
Deputy Minister of Megapolis and Western Development