Honorary Members of IEPSL

Dr. Jagath Gunawardana

Dr. Dissanayaka Liyange Jagath Gunawardana is an expert on environmental laws and regulations, natural resource management, international conventions related to biodiversity, international property rights, and bioethics; and is well known for his advocacy role in wildlife conservation and environmental protection in Sri Lanka.

Born in 1961 Dr Gunawardana was educated at Sri Pali College-Horana, and Ananda College in Colombo. He completed a Diploma in Agriculture at the Aquinas University College with first-class honours in 1984 and graduated from the Sri Lankan Law College in 1991. His work has involved environmental policy amendments and he had served as the Chairman of the Environmental Council of the Central Environmental Authority as well as in various committees appointed for the protection of natural resources of the country. Dr Gunawardena is presently a member of National Experts Committee on Bio-diversity and the National Co-ordinating Committee on Bio-safety

Dr Gunawardena is a founder member and former Co-coordinator of the Society for Environmental Education and is a life member of several prominent conservation organizations in the country including the Natural History Society of Sri Lanka, Ceylon Bird Club and the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka. He is an advisor to the Environmental Foundation Limited and a Senior Instructor of the Young Zoologist Association.

In 2017, Dr Gunawardana was awarded with the title of Harithabhimani, the Presidential Lifetime Award for the excellent service to environmental Conservation. In 2020 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Sri Jayawardenapura for his tremendous contributions towards environmental protection.

The Council and the members of IEPSL is honored to felicitate Dr Gnuwardene for the work he had rendered to safeguarding the Environment of the country by awarding him the Honorary membership of the organization. We wish him well in his future endeavors, especially in the roles he plays in protecting Sri Lanka’s natural wealth for her future generations.

Mr. Hemantha Withanage

Born on 28th March 1961, in the Morapitiya, Agalawatta adjoining the beautiful Sinharaja World Heritage Site he commenced his primary education in Weediya Bandara College, Morapitiya. Thereafter, he moved to Mihindu College in Agalawatta and completed his secondary education at Sri Lanka’s first Central College, C W W Kannangara MMV. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kelaniya, he commenced his career in teaching.

Subsequently, he joined the Environmental Foundation Limited (EFL) as an Environmental Officer and raised his voice to protect the environment in many occasions, specially in the matters related to Haggala, Gal Oya, Eppawala and Kandalama environmental issues. He was actively involved with many environment related litigations while being at the EFL, and rose to the top of the organization as Director General. He left the organization thereafter, and furthering his commitment for environmental protection, he established the Non-Governmental Organization called the Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ) In 2004. He went on to offer his fullest contribution towards protection of the environment, giving leadership to several success stories, including landmark judgements on Kalpitiya Sandmining and deforestation at Vilapattu sanctuary. During his career, he has held many internationally recognized positions, including Executive Director post  of the NGO Forum of the Asian Development Bank and currently functions as the Chair of ‘Friends of the Earth International’.

The Council of the Institute of Environmental Professionals Sri Lanka (IEPSL), considering Mr. Hemantha Withanage’s leadership and immense commitment to the conservation and advocacy for the protection of our natural ecosystem, at its meeting held on 14th February 2023, decided to honour him with the award of Honorary Membership of the Institute, which is a lifetime award.