Wetlands face threat from increasing urbanisation. With increasing population, the pressure on natural wetlands, to be used for more economically beneficial purposes, is very high. In order to protect the urban wetlands, financial resources are required which are often not sufficiently available with the government. Alternative sources of finance can be identified, especially from the private sector. However, since wetlands are not very productive in the ‘economic’ terms, it is difficult to generate funds for their protection. The research consists of identification of sustainability benefits of Beddagana Wetlands in Colombo to demonstrate the methodology of SBA and further making use of this assessment to test the feasibility of finance for urban wetlands. The main objective of the research is to explain that to what extent, and in which form, visibility of sustainability benefits can help to make wetland conservation attractive for finance. Previous researches have been instrumental in forming the basis of this research. The theoretical background helped in identifying concepts within the overall purview of ecosystem services, wetland conservation and financing mechanisms for ecosystem preservation. The research makes use of a mixed method design that comprises of survey, secondary sources and modelling as means to collect data for SBA and interviews as the main method to collect data for identifying financing mechanisms. The research found that Beddagana wetland has 23 sustainability benefits to its credit that involve several benefits at individual, local and global scale. These benefits are social, economic and environmental in nature. Further, on testing the application of SBA for financing through CSR, it was found that SBA would be best used as a decision making tool for both private sector as well as the government. By introducing it through government policy, SBA has the potential to emerge as a stronger force being supported by legal mandates to ensure CSR initiatives are directed towards projects like wetlands that are otherwise rarely adopted by corporates. Within the private sector, SBA can be used for internal decision making and for branding. Future research in this subject can explore SBA as a co-mechanism and can further explore systems for standardisation on assessment method.

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Sharma, S.
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

Raghaw, S. (2014, September). Sustainability benefit assessment as a financing mechanism for urban wetland protection. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/31018