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Write on Friday, 29 November 2013

Consultation with private sector stakeholders

The private sector consultation which was held on the 26th of September had an overarching objective to encapsulate how the private sector envisions contributing to sustainable development, and what should be the focus areas with regard to transforming business models to a sustainable path.

This event included representatives from the private sector who have shown considerable commitment to sustainability through their corporate practices. The issues raised at the event will be fed into the CEPA symposium which will be held in November.

The concept for this initiative came from a sense that key global environmental indicators are now deteriorating with frightening rapidity, and the question of sustainability has emerged to the forefront and is gaining momentum in international and regional discussions, especially in the context of defining the next set of Millennium Development Goals in 2015. The discussions have acknowledged that the goals must go beyond the economic and look to integrate social and environmental needs and that this change cannot be realized without the private sector as a key player in economic development.

The documentation of the event can be found here.


Consultations with civil society on their perceptions of Post 2015 development goals

The current Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) are due to end in 2015 and Sri Lanka is poised to achieve many of these goals. A high level international panel appointed by the United Nations is discussing and developing goals for how development should take place post 2015. In discussions leading up to the formation of the post-2015 development agenda, including at the Rio +20 conference in 2012, the need to develop a more inclusive and sustainable agenda that goes beyond economic goals and includes both social and environmental needs was discussed. It also became clear that more attention needs to be paid to developing countries and their goals and expectations.

In keeping with this global discussion, CEPA organised workshops with Sri Lankan civil society actors from 3 provinces (Southern; North-Western and Central; and Northern provinces) to talk about what Sri Lanka’s expectations for the post 2015 development agenda are and how they can help influence this agenda. Some of the key discussion points are summarised below.

* Improving and increasing manufacture of goods using local resources and moving towards a more environmentally friendly development were expectations that were highlighted in all 3 discussion groups.

* Empowering civil society to engage and influence the policy making process, improving the education system to suit present needs of society, and empowering women were expectations of 2 of the 3 discussion groups.

* A few discussion points specific to the Northern Province, which is currently undergoing post-war development, were protecting culture and ethics, preventing and protecting the people from natural disasters, reduce challenges of access to infrastructure and improving education in the region.

* Other key points raised were moving towards using traditional and local technologies, implementing rule of law in an equal manner, improving knowledge and perceptions, reforming existing health policies, forming a long term, non-partisan national policy, using non-economic alternative indicators to measure development, ensuring good governance and accountability, creating harmony between ethnic groups, equitable distribution of resources and benefits of development, ensuring the protection of women and children, ensuring gender equality, and protecting the environment.

The detailed documentation of each workshop can be found below:

Northen province (held in Mannar), Southern province (held in Matara), North-Western and Central province (held in Kurunegala)

Write on Friday, 29 November 2013

DAY 1

 

9.00 – 10.30


Session 1: Demystifying the MDGs and SDGs and Setting the Context [view]

Chair: Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy, Director, Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) and South Asia Policy and Research Institute (SAPRI)

Opening Address:

Current Debates and Activities in the MDG/SDG Global Discussions by Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair, Southern Voice Initiative, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) [presentation]

Technical Panel:

Emerging Development Challenges for South Asia in a Post-2015 Sustainable Development framework – Dr. Shehryar Toru Khan, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) [presentation]

Bringing in the Three Pillars of Sustainability and how this is Visualised in the Post 2015 Discussions – Mr. Bhathiya Kekulanda, Practical Action (PA) [presentation]

Ensuring that South Asia does not get ‘left behind’: Addressing the Needs of the Poorest in Post 2015 – Ms. Priyanthi Fernando, Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) [presentation]

Followed by an open plenary discussion

*Short bios of the chairperson and presenters from this session

10.30 – 11.00

Tea

 

11.00 – 1.00


Session 2: Economic Growth within Natural Limits [view]

Chair:   Mr. Asif Saeed Memon, Associate Research Fellow, SDPI – with an overview of the topic [presentation]

Technical panel:

Economic Growth Within Nature’s Limits: the Need and the Issues - Dr. Prasanthi Gunawardene, University of Sri Jayawardenepura [presentation]

Sustainable Production in the Service Sectors : the Case of Environmental Management in the Hotel Sector - Ms. Kanchana Wickramasinghe, Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) [presentation]

Discussants: Ms. Tharuka Dissanaike - Independent Consultant [discussant note]; Mr. Deshal De Mel - Senior Economist, Hayleys Group; Dr Indrajith Coomaraswamy

Followed by an open plenary discussion

*Short bios of the chairperson, presenters and discussants from this session

1.00 – 2.00

Lunch

 

2.00 –4.00


Session 3: Equity and Sustainability [view]

Chair: Ms. Priyanthi Fernando, Executive Director, CEPA – with overview of the topic [presentation]

Technical Panel:

Understanding the Role of Social Exclusion in Affecting Progress Towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ­- Dr. Nidhi Sabharwal, Indian Institute of Dalit Studies (IIDS) [presentation]

Community Forestry for Social Economy - Mr. Bhola Bhattarai, National Forum for Advocacy Nepal (NAFAN) [presentation]

Discussants: Ms. Cyrene Siriwardhana - OXFAM; Ms. Pooja Parvati - Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA); Ms. Shyama Salgado - International Labour Organisation (ILO); Mr. Amjad Mohammed Saleem - Commonwealth Foundation (CF)

Followed by an open plenary discussion

*Short bios of the chairperson, presenters and discussants from this session

4.00 – 4.30

Tea

 

4.30 – 6.00


“Post-2015 Reality Check: Practitioners’ Perspectives” – Café [view]

Lead by Dr. Udan Fernando, Senior Professional, CEPA

Discussants: Mr. Charitha Ratwatte - Dialog Axiata PLC; Mr. Asoka Abeygunawardena - Energy Forum; and Mrs. Manorie Mallikaratchy - a Representative from the Ministry of External Affairs.

Followed by an open plenary discussion

*Short bio's of Cafe discussants

DAY 2

 

9.00 – 10.30


Session 4: Shared Societies and Governance [view]

Chair: H.E. Madam Chandrika Kumaratunga, Chair - SAPRI, Former President of Sri Lanka - with an overview of the topic

Governance and Shared Societies: Exploring Institutional Processes for Change – Mr. Asoka Gunewardene, Former Chairman, Finance Commission of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Administrative Service

MDGs & SDGs: Shared Societies and the Post 2015 Agenda - Address by H.E. Mr. Cassam Uteem, member of Club de Madrid, Former President of Mauritius

Followed by an open plenary discussion

*Short bios of the chairperson and presenters from this session

10.30 – 10.45

Tea

 

10.45 – 12.30


Session 5: The Role of Technology in Achieving Sustainable Development [view]

Chair: Dr. Vishaka Hidellage, Regional Director, Practical Action – with overview of the topic.

Technical Panel:

Transfer of Technology and IPR - Mr. K.M. Gopakumar, Third World Network (TWN) [presentation]

Diaspora and Green Economy in South Asia - Mr. Sudeep Bhajracharya, South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) [presentation]

Discussants: Mr. Dileepa Witharana - Open University; Dr. Saman Kelegama - IPS; Dr. Ananda Mallawatantri - UNDP

Followed by an open plenary discussion

*Short bios of the chairperson, presenters and discussants from this session

12.30 – 1.15


Lunch

 

1.15 – 3.15


Session 6: Ownership for Sustainability and Instruments for Delivery [view]

Chair: Dr Fahmida Khatun, Head of Research, CPD – with overview of the topic [presentation]

Technical Panel:

Implementing a Just and Inclusive Development Agenda - Ms. Pooja Parvati, (WNTA) [presentation]

Partnership for Sustainable Development Goals in South Asia - Dr. Avanish Kumar, Management Development Institute (MDI) [presentation]

Why South Asia needs to have Climate Change in the Post 2015 Development Agenda - Mr. Andrew Scott, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Japan’s aid in the Post 2015 Development Agenda - Prof. Hirohisa Kohoma, University of Shizuoka, Japan [presentation]

Followed by an open plenary discussion

*Short bios of the chairperson, presenters and discussants from this session

3.15 - 3.45

Tea

3.45 – 5.30

Session 7: Synthesizing Key Issues and Recommendations [view]

Chair: Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair - Southern Voice, CPD

Presentations of summary points and key issues from each session:

Presentation for Session 2

Presentation for Session 3

Presentation for Session 4

Presentation for Session 5

Presentation for Session 6

Followed by open plenary

 

The background and rationale of the event can be found here. All the sessions from the symposium can be viewed here. The Outcome Document of the South Asian Consultation on the Post-2015 Development Agenda can be found here.

Write on Friday, 29 November 2013

Background Note

The South Asian Consultation on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, held on the 6th and 7th of November, was hosted by CEPA in an effort to bring together regional development practitioners and thinkers together, to discuss what South Asia's primary concerns and focus should be.

Rationale

As the expiry date of the MDGs is drawing nearer, different quarters are discussing the post 2015 development agenda and framework. Accounts of these discussions project a considerable degree of skepticism about the extent to which the current economic growth centered development models address the alleviation of extreme poverty. In this sense, South Asia presents a depressing paradox. It is among the fastest growing regions in the world, but it is also home to the largest concentration of people living in debilitating poverty, conflict and human misery. While South Asia is far more developed than Sub-Saharan Africa, and India (the largest country in the region) and Sri Lanka have achieved lower middle-income status, South Asia has many more poor people than Sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally Climate scientists predict that South Asia will be one of the worst affected regions with more extreme heat, floods, droughts and rising sea levels threatening coastal and urban populations, food production and trapping people in poverty. This raises the crucial question of whether the best escape from poverty comes from general economic growth.

There is a growing lobby for a new set of development goals – that go beyond the economic and look to integrate social and environmental needs. This has become the crux of the debate gathering momentum since the Rio+20 summit's declaration of the need for sustainable development goals (SDG), and the post 2015 discussion on the next round of millennium development goals (MDGs). So far, the input to the on-going discussions on the post-2015 development agenda have been provided mainly by the "Northern" institutions, carving out a need for more voices from the global South to infuse evidence-based policy perspectives in the ongoing discourse.

To this end, the Centre for Poverty Analysis, in collaboration with the Centre for Policy Dialogue (Bangladesh) and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (Pakistan), and Practical Action (Sri Lanka) aimed to advance and compliment the Southern Voice Initiative (Centre for Policy Dialogue) that has spearheaded the effort to increase southern think tank perspectives and ideas with a strong potential to influence the high-level discussions on the post-2015 development framework. The Southern Voice Initiative is already engaging with many international fora, communicating concerns of the 'global South' related to the post-2015 development framework, and CEPA's symposium will add to the knowledge hub that is driving the ongoing international conversations on post-2015 goals.

Objectives

The concept for this initiative came from a sense that key global environmental indicators are now deteriorating with frightening rapidity and if the post-2015 agenda does not focus on the need for growth and development to take place in a fundamentally different way, then it will only perpetuate the existing problems and will also not meet some of the key goals of poverty reduction. In this sense, the symposium activities were aimed at creating opportunities to bring to the fore the issues of sustainable growth within resource limits that will directly affect poverty reduction and development in South Asia. Second,  the symposium served as a forum to relay post-2015 discourse stemming from various international fora; to gain a deeper understanding of issues that are being highlighted at the global level. Thirdly, the event formulated informed proposals addressing Southern concerns and interests in relation to development.

The themes of this symposium were driven by the current debate and issues seen as important to South Asia. The two themes guiding the content of this symposium were 1) the nature of development goals that address issues that are crucial to the South Asia region and 2) the process of incorporating these goals into the post-2015 development framework.

The agenda of the event and the papers presented can be found here. All the sessions from the symposium can be viewed here. The Outcome Document of the South Asian Consultation on the Post-2015 Development Agenda can be found here.

Write on Monday, 25 November 2013

 

Session 1 from CEPA's recently concluded symposium - Making Sustainability the Next Metric: the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The symposium was driven by the current debate on the post-2015 development agenda as it relates to South Asia. The two themes guiding the content of this symposium were 1) the nature of development goals that address issues that are crucial to the South Asia region and 2) the process of incorporating these goals into the post-2015 development framework.

 

Write on Tuesday, 22 October 2013

 

Noam Chomsky discusses the purpose of education, impact of technology, whether education should be perceived as a cost or an investment and the value of standardised assessment. Presented at the Learning Without Frontiers Conference – Jan 25th 2012- London (LWF 12)

Reposted from Truth Theory

 

Write on Tuesday, 22 October 2013
 

 

"What is poverty? What drives it? Or stops it? And how have our attitudes to it changed over the years?
This film takes you on a dream-like journey through time and poverty, examining attitudes, drivers and solutions from the early hunter gatherers to today’s financial meltdown."

For more information and videos, visit Why Poverty?

Write on Monday, 07 October 2013

අඩු තරමින් හැම සති අන්තෙකම අපිට ආයිත් හිතන්න පුලුවන්. සතිය පුරාම අපි එකම චක්‍රයට අහුවෙලා දුවනවා. අපිට හිතන්න හුස්මක් කටක්ගන්න ලැබෙන්නෙ සති අන්තෙදි. සති අන්තෙදි මොනවද අපි හිතන්නෙ? ආයිත් ඊළඟ සතියේ දුවන හැටි ගැනද? ඇයි අපේ ජීවිත ගැන හිතන්නෙ නැත්තෙ?

හොඳින් ජීවත් වෙනවා කියන්නෙ මොකක්ද? බිල් ගොඩක් ගෙවන, බඩු ගොඩක් තියන, තව තවත් රැස් කරන, ඒ විතරක් නෙමේ ලෙඩ ගොඩාක් තියන  මනුස්සයෙක් වෙනවා කියන එකද? 

 අගෝස්තු 11 වැනිදා රාවය පුවත්පතෙහි පළවිය

 

Write on Monday, 07 October 2013

This may well be a time at which Sri Lanka has arrived at a cross road in its development history. Thirty years of economic reforms have transformed the economy - from inward- looking policies focused on self-sufficiency to a competitive export-oriented economy. Sustained economic growth, coupled with modest population growth, has resulted in a doubling of per capita incomes over the past three decades and a decline in consumption poverty. Indeed, the country has achieved middle income country status and the economy grew at 8% in 2010 and 2011. Beautification of the capital, Colombo, is progressing rapidly and newly carpeted roads connect Colombo with previously difficult to access corners of the island. A second international airport, a new harbour, and new infrastructure, such as performance arts centres and sports complexes, have been constructed and attest to the rapid changes taking place in the country. However, national-level data hides a number of regional disparities in economic growth and poverty reduction. Other factors, such as unresolved ethnic tensions, high levels of crime and violence in society as well as extremely high levels of suicides and attempted suicides, suggest that despite our impressive economic progress and social development indicators, we may be no nearer to achieving widespread wellbeing.

See attached document for full text. The article was first published in the July issue of the LMD