GOPA is Germany’s leading development consultancy and member of one of the strongest consulting groups in Europe. Since its founding in 1965, GOPA Consultants has successfully implemented over 3,000 management and training projects for national and international financing agencies as well as private industry in more than 130 countries. Among the many projects they had conducted over the many countries, MTS received the opportunity to work closely with the said consultants to launch a Socio-Economic Survey, a project supporting Wilpattu National Park and Influence Zone Management in Sri Lanka.
Located in the North West of the country, Wilpattu National Park has been identified by the Government of Sri Lanka as a priority region for nature conservation and rural development, with a high potential for sustainable tourism. The necessary conditions have been met for a socially inclusive and sustainable management of Wilpattu National Park and its influence zones. To achieve this, MTS provided advice to government actors, national park staff and the local population on socially inclusive and sustainable national park management. Survey reflects the socio-economic conditions that are prevailing in the villages that are situated in the periphery of the Wilpattu National Park and how far these communities depend on the National Park (NP) for their livelihoods and the problems that are faced by the communities as a result of living closer to the NP; their interactions with the main stakeholders such as the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Department of Forest.