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Sri Lanka: UNDP helps restoring Sri Lanka's Kalpitiya Reef June 06,2019   |  Source: Colombo Page

Up until recently, not a lot was known about the Bar Reef in Kalpitiya. But by the time we learned its value, we'd nearly lost it forever. The Bar Reef, located 2 km off the coast of Kalpitiya, is in fact the largest coral reef and the largest protected marine area in Sri Lanka. While it was declared a marine sanctuary in 1992, the reef remained relatively unexplored or otherwise affected by human activity due to the then ongoing civil war. However, the reef has since taken a dramatic turn for the worst owing to the effects of human activity both on- and offshore as well as natural causes. Today, the reef lies in an area surrounded by 4 buoys, one on each corner, marking it as protected sea space by the Sri Lanka Navy. What's more, a community effort with support from various national and international organizations is underway to help save it before it is too late.

"Yes, the reef was almost completely destroyed with only about 6% of it left alive," said Director of Planning at the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Sandanayake. "UNDP got involved straight away, utilizing professors and scientists who have studied this subject greatly. All stakeholders involved were informed of the situation after which we all came to an agreement to protect the reef. We even

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