Promoting Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns in Schools and Universities in Sri Lanka
Ms. Uthpala Sankalpani is a Resource Efficient Cleaner Production Technologist at the National Cleaner Production Center (NCPC), which is one of the foremost sustainable solution providers in Sri Lanka. At NCPC, Ms. Sankalpani’s job is to consult with industries in an effort to reduce waste and improve efficiency.
She already held a degree in Business Administration and has nearly completed a Masters of Environment Management, which gave her a good understanding on the theories of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP), however, she felt that she needed more hands-on technical knowledge so she decided to take the online course on the Introduction to Sustainable Consumption and Production in Asia.
Ensuring Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) patterns is Goal Number 12 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. SCP relates to the use of services and products, which respond to our basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials. SCP is also intended to reduce emissions of water and pollutants over the life cycle of a product.
In the effort to increase SCP education and provide policy-makers with a comprehensive introduction to the concepts and application of SCP opportunities, UNITAR in partnership with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) delivered the “Introduction to Sustainable Consumption and Production in Asia” online course. This was the first online course of its kind and was designed to assist policymakers specifically from the Asia-Pacific region to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate policies supporting a transition towards SCP.
While taking the online course, Ms. Sankalpani along with a colleague and fellow classmate, Ms. Upendra Arjeewani, seized the opportunity to apply for a grant, which was made available for the participants of the course, by submitting a proposal based on greening campuses and educating students in Sri Lanka. Their project was one of 16 submitted and ultimately selected to receive $7000 USD in funding.
Ms. Sankalpani was happy to say that, “Soon after, we began implementing the project using the grant money. Our project has already raised SCP Awareness in almost 500 Sri Lankan students ranging from school-aged children to university staff. At the same time, I am also working to develop a model green university in Sri Lanka, where SCP practices will be developed and, I hope, adopted by other universities in the country to become more environmentally friendly.”
After taking the course, Ms. Sankalpani said,
“I not only increased my knowledge in the field of SCP, I was able to immediately begin applying the knowledge to my work.”
Thanks to her training and ongoing project in SCP, Ms. Sankalpani was also chosen to be UNEP Asia-Pacific Youth Ambassador for Sustainable Consumption and Production for the 4 Billion Dreams & Youth Ambassador Training Workshop, which was held in Bangkok, Thailand in April of 2016. Back in Sri Lanka, she has already created a youth group called “Where We Belong” which engages youth to promote SCP concepts.
“I hope to work again with UNITAR to increase the impact of SCP in Sri Lanka”