Bio Diversity Protection Unit

Bio Diversity Protection Unit

One of the goals of the Sri Lanka Customs department is protection of the society and its heritage.

Protection of the environment is an important activity of this exercise, many International as well as National Agencies are involved. Sri Lanka Customs is bound to enforce various statutes relating to biodiversity at the point of importation and exportation.

Being a tropical island, Sri Lanka is very rich in wild Fauna & Flora, and is considered as one of the richest countries in biodiversity. And also among one of the eight " Hottest Hot Spots of Biodiversity", as per the reports of Mr. Norman Myers etal. As a result, a very high demand has been generated the world over for our species which have attracted big-time animal and plant hunters. High percntage of endemism, rare species, ornamental value, texture and quality of our species also enhanced this over - exploitation. Mean time, the modern technology used in smuggling, Customs has a big challenge in monitoring the illegal dispersal of biodiversity related items.

Having regard to the need of achieving this goal a Biodiversity Protection Unit has been established. According to the information, this probably the world's first Customs Biodiversity Protection Unit.

Mission of BPU

Enforce the law to protect the Biodiversity

Objectives of BPU

Biodiversity Protection and ensure due revenue of Sri Lanka by enforcement of relevant laws while facilitating the trade at Customs points

  • Enforce and monitor the National and International Laws relating to the Import and Export of Biodiversity related items.
  • Promotes the development programmes of the country through revenue collection, facilitation and enforcement in import and export of fauna & flora and also in a manner, which will not harm the rich biological heritage of the country.
  • Provide expert opinion and represent the department when required.
  • Educate and create awareness among the Customs staff as well as the public on the subject matter.
  • Exchange information and develop intelligence with National and International institutions concerned

Structure of BPU

Functions of BPU & BPTF

  • To meet the goals of the Customs Department and achieve the objectives of the Biodiversity Protection Unit.
  • Attend meetings, seminars, workshops and contribution of expert opinions etc relating to policy matters and other matters held at governmental and non-governmental institutions.
  • Develop strategic plans and act accordingly to prevent smuggling.
  • Monitor and proper enforcement of related laws at entry and exit points of Customs.
  • Conduct investigations, prosecution and courts procedure on subjected detections.
  • Coordinate with HRD to organize and conduct educational, training, awareness programmes etc. for the benefit of the officers, other departments and public.
  • Prepare / coordinate in developing the identification manuals.
  • Attend daily correspondence.
  • Provide expert opinion and guidance for Biodiversity related matters on inquiries made by officers and public. And assist the officers in subject matter.
  • Keep surveillance and develop a risk profile on smuggling of biodiversity related matters at various Customs points.
  • Develop and maintain the database on biodiversity related detections.
  • Maintain the information network with relevant national and international parties on the subjected detections.
  • Maintain the proper relationship with line Ministries, govt. departments etc and exchange information with national and international organizations to achieve the objectives of the unit.
  • Develop and maintain a valuation base on the subject matter.
  • Set-up and maintain a mini museum, relevant literature collection, albums, paper cutting collected on detections and essential lab equipments.
  • Proper disposal of detected biodiversity related articles.
  • Prepare & develop the related publications and distribution of them.
  • Prepare the monthly and annual performance progress reports.
  • Develop & maintain the inventory of detected biodiversity related articles and advising on proper disposal of them.
  • Feeding the databases on the exports and imports of indigenous Fauna and Flora and getting the assistance of external institutions when required.
  • Assist in developing and updating a website to fulfill the objectives of BPU and the department.
  • Getting the assistance of the staff of Biodiversity Protection Task Force when required.
  • Inform DGC, CIU, CIB, WCO, CITES and TRAFFIC International etc on the subjected detections.
  • Any other matters concerned the subject.

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