Athula Senaratne is an Environmental Economist and has published on various themes including common property resources, sustainable agriculture, supply/demand analysis of fish, non-timber forest products (NTFP) and community-based aquaculture. His current research interests include climate adaptation, institutions and property rights, and environment and macroeconomic policy.

He was previously engaged as a Research Officer (Department of Agriculture), an Agricultural Economist (Land Use Policy Planning Division), an Aquaculture Economist (National Aquaculture Development Authority) and as the Director-Competition Promotion (Consumers Affairs Authority). He also jointly authored the Sinhala medium text book on ‘Natural Resource and Environmental Economics’ which is being used at undergraduate level teaching in Environmental Economics at universities in Sri Lanka. He is also on the Editorial Board of the Climate Change Magazine of Sri Lanka, published by the Climate Change Secretariat of the Ministry of Environment and Mahaweli Development. He served as the President of the Sri Lankan Agricultural Economics Association (SLAEA) in 2016.

Athula Senaratne holds a BSc in Agriculture with Second Class (Upper) Honours, an M.Phil in Agricultural Economics from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, and a PhD from the Deakin University, Australia.

Advisory work

Sectoral Committee on Agriculture
Sri Lanka Standards Institute
2016 – to date

National Committee on Socio-economic Studies
Council for Agricultural Research Project, Sri Lanka

National Committee on Green Accounting
Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy, Sri Lanka
2013 – to date

Working Group on National Standard for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification
Sri Lanka Standard Institute (SLSI) for developing a National Standard for Forests Certification
2006 – to date


Network for Building Multi-Agency Collaboration for Creating Resilient Environments and Communities against Climate Change (Unite4Resilence) – Funded by The Economic and Social Research Council of UK (in collaboration with THINKlab of the School of Science, Engineering and Environment, University of Salford, UK) 2021-2022.

Livelihoods Insurance from Elephants (LIFE) – Commercial insurance for small farmers affected by human-elephant in Sri Lanka and Kenya – Funded by the Darwin Initiative of the Government of UK (in collaboration with the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED), UK and AB Consultants, Kenya) 2019-2022.

Senaratne, A. (2020). Climate Change and Sri Lanka’s Blue Economy, Trade Insight, 16 (1-2), South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), Nepal: 43-45.

Senaratne, A. (2019). “Ensuring Sustainable Development in Post-Conflict Sri Lanka” in Managing Domestic and International Challenges and Opportunities in Post-Conflict Development: Lessons from Sri Lanka, Weerakoon, D. and Jayasuriya S. (Eds.) Singapore: Springer, 71-91.

Senaratne, A. (2018). “Energy Security, Sustainable Development and Green Accounting” in Energy Resources of Sri Lanka: View Points of Sector Professionals, Jayasinghe P. (Ed.), JLanka Technologies in collaboration with Institute of Engineers of Sri Lanka (IESL), Colombo: 115-136.

Senaratne, A. (2017). US Exit from Paris Agreement: Global Politics of Climate Change, Climate Change Magazine of Sri Lanka, Volume II December, 41-45.

Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in Agriculture Sector in Sri Lanka – Funded by UNDP Sri Lanka: 2016-2017.

Mainstreaming Climate Change into National Physical Plan – Funded by UN Habitat, Sri Lanka, 2016-2017.

Fernando, S., Senaratna, A., Pallewatta, N., Lokupitiya, L., Manawadu, L., Imbulana, U., De Silva, I. and Ranwala, S. (2015). “Assessment of key policies and measures to address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Sri Lanka”, A report published by Sri Lanka UN-REDD Programme, UNDP, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Bridging the Climate Information and Communication Gaps for Effective Adaptation Decisions: An Integrated Climate Information Management SystemFunded by the Opportunity Fund Programme of International Development Research Council (IDRC): 2015 2018.

Study of Supply and Price Behaviour Relating to Rice, Fisheries and Livestock Products in Sri Lanka – Funded by the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka under the National Thematic Research Programme – Food Security (NTRP/2012/FS/PG-04/P-02) 2014 2018.

Senaratne, A. (2015) “Climate Finance: Trends and Challenges” Trade Insight Vol. 11 (3) , South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment  (SAWTEE), Nepal: 24-27

Wickramasinghe, K., A. Senaratne and A. Rajasuriya (2014) “Conserving the Ecosystem Services and Harnessing the Economic Potential of the Bar Reef” Sri Lankan Wildlife Vol 10(1): 146-149

Senaratne, A. and C. Rodrigo (2014) “Agriculture Adaptation Practices in South Asia: Case of Sri Lanka”. SAWTEE Working Paper No.01(ii)/14,  South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment  (SAWTEE), Nepal

Senaratne, A. (2013) “Farmers Beliefs and Perceptions of Climatic Variability and Change: Implications on Adaptation Decisions and Climate Information Products” Proceedings of the ‘International Conference on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations for Food and Environment Security’ jointly organized by Coconut Research Institute of Sri Lanka, Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy, Sri Lanka and World Agroforestry Centre, (Eds.) H.P.M. Gunasena, H.A.J. Gunatailake, J.M.D.T. Evererd, C.S. and A.D. Nainanayake. Colombo, Sri Lanka. : 175-186

Senaratne, A. and K. Wickramasinghe (2011) “Commons vs. Commons: Managing Scarce Water Resources in Dry Zone Village Tank Systems in Sri Lanka”. Research Report No. 2010-RR13,  Economy and Environment Program for South East Asia (EEPSEA), Singapore

Senaratne, A. and H. Scarborough (2011) “Coping with Climatic Variability by Rain-fed Farmers in Dry Zone, Sri Lanka: Towards Understanding Adaptation to Climate Change” Paper presented at the 55th Annual National Conference, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES), 8-11 February 2011, Melbourne, Australia (Published electronically in the AgEcon Search at the URL:

Senaratne, A., and K. Wickramasinghe (2010). “Climate Change, Local Institutions and Adaptation Experience: The Village Tank Farming Community in Dry Zone Sri Lanka”. Proceedings of the national   conference on water and food security and climate change: Volume 2’ (Eds.) A. Evens and K. Jinapala. International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, Sri Lanka: 147-156

Wickramasinghe, K. and A. Senanatne, A. (2010): Economics of managing invasive alien species in Sri Lanka. In: Invasive Alien Species in Sri Lanka – Strengthening Capacity to Control Their Introduction and Spread (Eds.) B. Marambe, P. Silva, , S. Wijesundara, and N. Atapattu, N.), Biodiversity Secretariat, Ministry of Environment, Sri Lanka:77-85

Senaratne, A, N. Perera and K. Wickramasinghe (2009) “Mainstreaming Climate Change for Sustainable Development in Sri Lanka: Towards a National Agenda for Action” Research Studies Working Paper Series No.14. Institute of Policy Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Dey, M.M., R.M. Briones, Y.T. Garcia, A. Nissapa, U.P. Rodriguez, R.K. Talukder, A. Senaratne, I.H. Omar, S. Koeshendrajana, N.T. Khiem, T.S. Yew, M. Weimin, D.S. Jayakody, P. Kumar, R. Bhatta, M.S. Haque, M.A. Rab, O.L. Chen, L. Luping and F.J. Paraguas. (2008). “Strategies and Options for Increasing and Sustaining Fisheries and Aquaculture Production to Benefit Poorer Households in Asia” WorldFish Center Studies and Reviews No. 1823. The WorldFish Center, Penang, Malaysia. 180 p.

Arunatilake, N, Gunawardena, A., Marawila, D., Samaratunge, P., Senaratne, A., and Tibbotuwawa, M. (2008). “Analysis of the Fisheries Sector in Sri Lanka: Guided Case Studies for Value Chain Development in Conflict-Affected Environments” Micro Report No.100, USAID, Washington DC

Senaratne, Athula and K. Karunanayake (2008). Transaction Costs and Institutional Innovation: Sustainability of Tank Aquaculture in Sri Lanka. In. Promise, Trust and Evolution: Managing Commons of South Asia. (Eds.) R.Ghate, N.S. Jodha and P. Mukhopadhyay, Oxford University Press, UK: 165-190

Senaratne, D.M.A.H (2008). Property Rights Issues in Reservoir Fisheries Management in Sri Lanka In. Participatory Approaches to Reservoir Fisheries Management: Issues, Challenges and Policies. (Eds.) M.J.S. Wijeratne and U.S. Amarasinghe, Sri Lanka Association for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Sri Lanka: 119-133

Dey, M.M., Y. T. Garcia, K. Praduman, S. Piumsombun, M.S Haque, L. Li, A. Radam, A. Senaratne, N.T. Khiem, S. Koeshendrajana (2008). Demand for fish in Asia: a cross-country analysis.  Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 52 (3):  321 – 338

Senaratne, A., L.H.P. Gunaratne and K. Karunanayake (2008). “Transaction Cost and Household Participation in Community-based Village Tank Aquaculture in Dry Zone” Tropical Agricultural Research, Vol.20, pp.73-88

Fahim, M.T.A, D.M.A.H. Senaratne, D.C. Abeysinghe and K.A. Anil (2008). Comparative Study of Identification of Requirements and Constraints Faced by Sri Lankan Small Holder Organic Tea Production. Proceedings of  8th agricultural research symposium, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka.

Wickramasinghe, Kanchana, Steele, Paul, and Athula Senaratne (2008) “Socio-economic Impacts of Forest Conservation on Peripheral Communities: Case of Knuckles National Wilderness Heritage of Sri Lanka.” Paper presented at “Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges,” 12th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons, Cheltenham England, July 14-18, 2008. (Published electronically in the Digital Library of  the Commons (DLC)

Senaratne, Athula (2008). Review on “Human Development Report 2007-2008: Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World” South Asia Economic Journal

Dey,M.M, U-Primo Rodriguez, R M. Briones and Chen Oai Li,with M.S. Haque, L. Li, P.Kumar, S. Koeshendrajana, T. S. Yew, A. Senaratne, A. Nissapa and N. T. Khiem (2007) “Disaggregated projections on fish supply, demand and trade fordeveloping Asia” In. Johnston B. (ed.) Economics and market analysis of the live reef-fish trade in the Asia–Pacific region. ACIAR Working Paper No. 63:119-128

Wickramasinghe, K., P. Steele, and A. Senaratne, (2007). Impact of Forest Conservation onHousehold Economy and Poverty: Case of Knuckles National Wilderness Heritage of Sri Lanka. Paper presented at the International Conference on Poverty Reduction  and Forests -Tenure, Market and Policy Reforms organized by the Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC)’ on August 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Electronically published at

Senaratne, Athula and K.Karunanayake (2006). Transaction Costs and Institutional Innovation: Sustainability of Tank Aquaculture in Sri Lanka. SANDEE Working Paper No. 18-06.  South Asian Network of Development and Environmental Economics. Kathmandu, Nepal

Senaratne D.M.A.H., P. Abeygunawardena and M.W.A.P. Jayatilake (2003). Changing Role of Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP) in Household Economy of Peripheral Villages: The Case of Sinharaja World Heritage in Sri Lanka, Environmental Management, 32(5): 559-571

Senaratne D.M.A.H.  (2003) “Three Decades of Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS) in Sri Lanka: A Review of Institutional and Policy Issues” Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 21(3): 63-85


Piyasena Abeygunawardena and Athula Senaratne. (2002). Swabhawika Sampath saha Parisara Arthika Vidyava (Natural Resource and Environmental Economics) in Sinhala. Colombo, Sri Lanka: pp 352

D.M.A.H. Senaratne, N.K. Batagalle and H.B. Kotagama, (1998) “Economic Viability and Environmental Sustainability of Agro-forestry Systems in Sri Lanka.” A working paper publication 98(4), Environmental Economics Unit, Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Batagalle N.K., H.B. Kotagama and D.M.A.H. Senaratne, (1997) “An Economic Assessment of Sustainability of Traditional Agro-forestry Systems: The Case of Kandyan Forest Gardens.” Proceedings of second annual forestry symposium, University of Sri Jayawardenapura.

Senaratne D.M.A.H., and P. Abeygunawardena, (1993) “Non Timber Forest Products: An Alternative Approach for Utilization of Forest Resources in Sri Lanka.”  Proceedings of fourth regional workshop on multipurpose trees, Kandy, Sri Lanka. March 12-14, pp.191-206.

Gunatilake, H.M., D.M.A.H. Senaratne and P. Abeygunawardena, (1993) “Role of Non Timber Forest Products in the Economy of Peripheral Communities of Knuckles Wilderness Area of Sri Lanka: A Farming System Approach.” Economic Botany; 47(3); The New York Botanical Garden, pp.275-281

Senaratne, D.M.A.H., P. Abeygunawardena and K.A.S.S. Kodithuwakku, (1993) “Factors Influencing the Appreciation of Benefits Provided by Peradeniya Botanical Garden: Willingness to Pay Approach.” Tropical Agricultural Research, Vol.05, pp.159-168


Climate Adaptation and Urban Policies in Sri Lanka
Workshop on TRANSCEND: Risk Sensitive Urban Development
Jointly organised by the University of Salford, UK and University of Moratuwa
19 December 2019
Mount Lavinia Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Investing on Natural Capital for Sustainable Development: An Analysis of Biodiversity Expenditure in Sri Lanka
Paper presented at the Association for Tropical Biodiversity and Conservation (ATBC) – Asia Pacific Chapter Conference and Meeting.
23 October 2019
Thulhiriya, Sri Lanka

Climate Change Challenges for Food Security in Sri Lanka
Workshop on Climate Change and Disaster Management in BIMSTEC Countries
18 June 2019
Melia Hotel Yangon, Myanmar

Climate Change Impacts, Infrastructure and Adaptation in Sri Lanka
Workshop on Climate Change and Critical Infrastructure in Sri Lanka
Jointly organised by Ministry of Power and Energy and ADB
14 March 2019
Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Human Elephant Conflict in Sri Lanka: Situational Analysis
Inception Workshop of Livelihood Insurance from Elephants (LIFE) project
Jointly organised by IPS and IIED, UK
10 January 2019
Movenpick Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Climate Information and Farmers: Integrated Management of Information for Successful Adaptation
Paper presented at the Conference on ‘Economic Development in South Asia’
Jointly organised by IPS and Monash University, Australia
07 January 2019
Avani Hotel, Kalutara

Use of Biodiversity Valuation in Policy Purposes
Awareness Workshop on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Valuation
Jointly organised by the Biodiversity Secretariat of the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment and the Rajarata University of Sri Lanka
17 December 2018
Rajarata University, Mihintale, Sri Lanka

Review of Current Status of Biodiversity Financing in Sri Lanka
Paper presented at the Fourth International Research Symposium on Investing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services,
Organised by Rajarata University of Sri Lanka
17 October 2018
Rajarata University, Mihintale, Sri Lanka

Environment Sustainability and Blue Economy: Experience of Sri Lanka
Third IORA Blue Economy Core Group Workshop
10-11 April 2017

Productivity and Value Chain Development in Rice: Sharing Sri Lanka’s Experience
Punjab Economic Forum
3-4 April 2017
Lahore, Pakistan

“Energy Security, Sustainable Development and Green Accounting”
Public Lecture
Institute of Engineers, Sri Lanka
Vidya Mawatha, Colombo
23 November, 2016.

“Climate Change and South-South Cooperation”
International Conference on ‘South-South Cooperation (SSC)’
Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), India
New Delhi, India
10-11 March, 2016.

“Disaster Risk Challenges in South Asia”
Eighth South Asia Economic Summit Conference on ‘Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Development in South Asia’
Sustainable Development Policy Institute
Islamabad, Pakistan
7-8 December, 2015.

“Aquaculture Centres and Networks in Asia and Pacific”
IORA Blue Economy Core Group Workshop on Promoting Fisheries and Aquaculture and Maritime Safety and Security Cooperation in Indian Ocean Region
Durban, South Africa
4-5 May, 2015.

“Establishing a Green Accounting Mechanism: Sri Lanka’s Experience”
International Seminar on ‘Natural Resources and National Accounts in South Asia’
Institute of Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bangalore, India and Indian Council Social Science Research
Bangalore, India
5-6 February 2015.

“Water – Energy Nexus: Sri Lanka’s Experience”
Workshop on Water-Energy Nexus
New Delhi, India
1-4 September, 2014.

“Climate Change Challenges Faced by Indian Ocean Rim Countries”
Workshop for establishment of center of excellence on ocen sciences and environment for IORA region
IPS and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
Hotel Hilton, Colombo
30 June, 2014.

“Integrating Traditional Agro-ecosystems and Technology Management for Assurance of Food and Nutritional Security: Village Tank Aquaculture and Divi Neguma Programmes in Sri Lanka”
NIRD-CIDAP-TERI collaborative workshop-cum training program on Food and Nutritional Security Assurance through Efficient Resource and Technology Management
National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD)
Hyderabad, India
19-21 May, 2014.

“Payments to Eco-system Services”
Workshop on Payments to Ecosystems
Biodiversity Secretariat of Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy
Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS) , Colombo
25-27 March, 2014.

“Agricultural Adaptation Practices in Sri Lanka”
Workshop on Agricultural Adaptation in South Asia
Kathmandu, Nepal
11-15 March, 2014.

“Mainstreaming Climate Change for Sustainable Development”
Workshop on Mainstreaming Climate change for Sustainable Development
IPS in collaboration with Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and UNESCO, Sri Lanka Commission
Hotel Amaya Lake, Dambulla
19-21 August, 2009.

“Climate Change, Local Institutions and Adaptation Experience: The Village Tank Farming Community in Dry Zone Sri Lanka”
National Conference on Water, Food Security and Climate Change in Sri Lanka
International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
BMICH, Colombo
9-11 June, 2009.

“Green Accounting System for Sri Lanka”
National Conference on Water, Food Security and Climate Change in Sri Lanka
International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
BMICH, Colombo
9-11 June, 2009.

“Commons Vs. Commons: Managing Scarce Water Resources in Dry Zone Village Tank Systems in Sri Lanka”
31st Bi-annual Research Workshop
Economy and Environment Program for South East Asia (EEPSEA)
Ngoc Lan Hotel, Dalat, Vietnam
25-29 May, 2009.

“Green Accounting”
Panelist’s remarks at the national symposium on Green Economy – the Way Forward
Ministry of Environment and Natural Resource
Central Environmental Authority, Colombo
27 March, 2009.

“Green Accounting System for Sri Lanka: Green Accounting and its Importance”
Workshop on Green Accounting System for Sri Lanka
In collaboration of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resource
Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo
05 December, 2008.

“Transaction Cost and Household Participation in Community-based Village Tank Aquaculture in Dry Zone”
20th Annual Congress of PGIA, University of Peradeniya
Plant Genetic Resources Centre, Gannoruwa
20 November, 2008.

“Competition in Rice and Paddy Markets in Sri Lanka: A Structure-Conduct-Performance Analysis”
First Annual Research Forum
Sri Lanka Agriculture Economics Association
21 September, 2007.

“Achieving Development and Conserving Environment: Sri Lanka’s Challenge in the 21st Century – Economic Dimension”
National Seminar to Develop a Country Paper for 17th Biennial General Conference of the Association of Social Science Research Councils (AASSREC)
National Science Foundation, Colombo
20 July, 2007.


Better water, sustainable agriculture and better lives for Sri Lanka (Blog article published in Talking Economics)

Overcoming challenges of marine pollution for healthy oceans (Blog article published in Talking Economics)

Integrated water management and sustainable urbanization in Sri Lanka (Blog article published in Talking Economics with Chatura Rodrigo)

CLIMATEnet Policy Discussion Forum: Linking expert knowledge to generate policy insights on climate change adaptation under uncertainty (Blog article published in CLIMATEnet)

Policy Challenges in Climate Adaptation: Published in CLIMATEnet blog and selected to be promoted by UNSDR’s Preventionweb.

Finally some good news about the ozone layer (Blog article published in Talking Economics)