The Centre for Environmental Law and Policy (CELP) of the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo is one of the most remarkable steps towards the commitment of the university for the protection and preservation of the environment. It intends to create a well-organised platform for research, policy development and collaboration among diverse fields including Science, Geography, Economics, Political Science and Business Studies to create an environmentally conscious society.
Among many objectives aimed at achieving the utmost target of environmental conservation nationally and internationally, both on behalf of the present and unborn generations, it mainly focuses on the dissemination of knowledge and the environmental sensitisation through a diverse range of projects and activities. CELP believes that raising the voice for the betterment of nature is one of the most vital necessities in this century. Therefore, it seeks to explore the untouched areas of the Environmental Law in Sri Lanka such as Animal Welfare Laws and Public Nuisance through publications that address a wider audience from legal community to general public.
Moreover, CELP has taken the initiative of compiling the legislative provisions, judicial precedents and practices on different laws and legal principles scattered in different legislations, case reports and law books and of pointing out the gaps in the existing legal framework of the country which shall be immediately bridged to preserve the environment and its values for many generations to be born. Recognising its public responsibility, CELP is also in the process of developing educational and training programmes for the civil society, and organising webinar discussions with prominent environmentalists and experts on environmental law and policy. Ultimately, CELP aims to promote environmental law and policy in all possible ways within the Sri Lankan academic and administrative sectors and thereby, hopes to become one of the leading legal and policy making institutions in endorsing the conservation and preservation of the environment in the country.
The Centre for Environmental Law and Policy was initiated as the prime outcome of seven consecutive years of “Law Goes Green”, the environmental movement of the final year law students of the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo since 2014. As the Law Goes Green project progressed over the years with various projects ranging from tree planting campaigns, research forums, poster exhibitions, debating tournaments and other community outreach programmes, the dire need for an organisation to educate the community about their responsibility towards the protection and preservation of the environment through Environmental Law related research, policy making, and advocacy emerged. Environmental Law and Policy has its inspiration on the student community, which ultimately made the subject Environmental Law to become one of the most demanding co-compulsory optional subjects that the Faculty of Law offers with more than 150 undergraduates passing out with environmental consciousness, knowledge and skills.
The creation of CELP was an idea and a concept advocated by its Founding Director Dr. Kokila Konasinghe who is a well-recognised Environmental Law and Policy authority locally and internationally. She is among the very few legal scholars in Sri Lanka who has been awarded a Ph.D. in Environmental Law. As a result of hard work and dedication to overcome practical challenges by the final year law students in the past seven years, the Centre for Environmental Law and Policy (CELP) was initiated in 2020 affiliated to the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo. Accordingly, the first meeting of the initiative was held with the participation of a very small group of members. Since then, the organisation has been moving towards greater success with an increased number of members and collaborations with resource persons and organisations with extensive knowledge in this field.