The Orientation event was held on September 24, 2016 at the CEPA premises. The event was attended by the twenty fellows, five members of the Expert Panel, Ms. Himali Jinadasa, Country Focal Point (UNESCO), Executive Director (CEPA), Resource persons, Coordinator of the project and members of the Communications Team. The one-day orientation programme provided an opportunity for participants to understand the many dimensions of poverty and how they should use their reporting skills to investigate and document stories to the interest of the public. The programme was conducted in Sinhala language, including simultaneous translations from Sinhala to Tamil language.
Original source - http://reliefweb.int/
Sri Lanka is literally baking these days.
During the first week of October, the Metrological Department reported that maximum daytime temperatures in some parts of the country were between 5 to 2C above average. They hit 38.3C in some parts of the North Central Province, a region vital for the staple rice harvest.
The prolonged dry spell has already impacted over 500,000 people, with government agencies and the military providing them with safe drinking water brought in from other areas. When those supplies are not sufficient or delayed, the affected communities can buy water from private dealers who sell safe drinking water in one-litre bottles at a price between Rs four to 10 (three to seven cents).
“It has been like this for over three months now,” said Ranjith Jayarathne, a farmer from the region.
Ironically, a little over three months back, the area was fearing floods. In early May, heavy rains brought in by Cyclone Roanu left large parts of the country inundated, caused massive landslides, and left over half million destitute and over 150 dead or missing.
It is not only Sri Lanka that is facing the acute impacts of changing weather. A study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) found the entire South Asia region stands to lose around 1.3 percent of its collective annual GDP by 2050 even if global temperature increases are kept to 2 degrees Celsius.
After 2050, the losses are predicted to rise sharply to around 2.5 percent of GDP. If temperature increases go above 2 degrees Celsius, losses will mount to 1.8 percent of GDP by 2050 and a staggering 8.8 percent by 2100, according to the analysis.
Coping is not going to be cheap. South Asia needs around 73 billion dollars annually from now until 2100 to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change if current temperature trends continue.
In its regional update, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that this year, above-average monsoon rains, coupled with a succession of typhoons and tropical storms from June to early August, have caused severe localized floods in several countries in the subregion, resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives, displacement of millions of people and much damage to agriculture and infrastructure.
Losses of livestock, stored food and other belongings have also been reported. Affected countries include Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
If current climate patterns continue, like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh will face severe fallout. The ADB study said Bangladesh is likely to suffer an annual economic loss from climate risks of about 2 percent of GDP by 2050. That is expected to balloon to 8.8 percent by 2100.
Annual rice production could fall by 23 percent by 2080 in a country where agriculture employs half of the labour force of around 60 million. Dhaka could see 14 percent of its territory underwater in case of a one-metre sea level rise, while the South Eastern Khulna region and the delicate eco-system of the coastal Sundarbans could fare far worse, the report said.
Bangladesh’s other South Asian neighbours also face mounting risks, according to ADB assessments.
Nepal could lose as much as 10 percent of GDP by 2100 due to melting glaciers and other climate extremes, while in neighbouring India, crop yields could decline 14.5 percent by 2050, the bank said.
India’s 8,000 kilometre-long coastline also faces serious economic risk due to rising sea level, it said. Currently 85 percent of total water demand for agriculture is met through irrigation, and that need is likely to rise with temperature increases, even as India’s groundwater threatens to run short.
Sri Lanka has already seen its rice and other harvests fluctuate in recent years due to changing monsoon patterns. ADB data warns that yields in the vital tea sector could halve by 2080.
Death and mayhem could be the most visible impact of changing climates, but according to experts, extreme weather events have also caused major disruptions in the island’s agriculture and food sectors.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP) Sri Lanka’s rapid development has been scuttled by fickle weather events. Though the country has been classified as a lower middle income country since 2010, “improvements in human development, and the nutritional status of children, women and adolescents have remained stagnant. The increased frequency of natural disasters such as drought and flash floods further compounds food and nutrition insecurity.”
Nearly 4.7 million (23 percent of the population) people are undernourished, according to the State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015, and underweight and anaemia affect nearly a quarter of children and women. According to WFP’s most recent Cost of Diet Analysis, 6.8 million people (33 percent) cannot afford the minimum cost of a nutritious diet.
Experts say that despite cyclic harvest losses due to erratic weather patterns in the past decade, Sri Lanka is yet to learn from them. “People are yet to fathom the extent of extreme weather events,” Kusum Athukorala, Co-chair of the UNESCO Gender Panel on the World Water Development Report, told IPS.
Athukorala, who is an expert in community water management, said that Sri Lanka needs a national water management plan that links all relevant national stake-holders and a robust community awareness building programme.
In a classic example of lack of such national coordination, the Irrigation Department is currently reluctant to release waters kept in storage for the upcoming paddy season for domestic use in the drought-hit areas. Department officials say that they can not risk forcing a water shortage for cultivation.
Experts like Athukorala contend that if there was active coordination between national agencies dealing with water, such situations would not arise. She also stresses the need for community level water management. “The solutions have to come across the board.”
Officials in South Asia do understand the gravity of the impact but say that their governments are faced with a delicate balancing act between development and climate resilience.
“Right now, the priority is to provide food for 160 million (in Bangladesh),” said Kamal Uddin Ahmed, secretary of the Bangladesh Ministry of Forest and Environment. “We have to make sure we get our climate policies right while not slowing down growth.”
Photo credits: independent.co.uk
By Nayana Godamunne
Over 60 million refugees exist in the world today, the highest number since the Second World War. As a pandemic of anti immigration raises its head at near xenophobic levels, governments in many European states are taking measures to stop the entry of such people within the physical borders of their territory, raising the question; what do we do with these large numbers of people fleeing violence, war, hunger and poverty?
Jason Buzi, the Isreali-born millionaire has proposed that a ‘Refugee Nation’ be created which would host the refugee population and thus solve the world’s refugee problem. Buzi’s unorthodox solution has generated a mixed response. However, in the background of the scale of the crisis and the declining willing of states to provide territory to refugees, Buzi’s proposition is provocative and his diagnosis of the scale of the problem and the need to galvanise a response is creative and innovative.
Buzi’s ‘radical solution’ he says, will provide a home for the world’s refugees by creating a new state – ‘Refugee Nation’. He believes that a new state can be created in which ‘any refugee, from anywhere in the world, can call home’. The new state can be created on: an uninhabited island (e.g. Indonesia, Philippines); within a large country with natural resources agreeing to carve off a sparsely inhabited area (e.g. Finland); or a sovereign, sparsely populated country allowing itself to be ‘taken over,’ with the approval of its population. Buzi, claims his idea ‘isn’t unattainable or crazy’, and that the new nation can be funded from billionaires and governments to house up to 60 million people.
Merits and de merits of the proposition
Buzi suggests that the new nation be established in a sparsely populated existing state, or on an unpopulated island.
In the event of former; what happens to the long standing population when a new nation is created? Historical precedents, such as the creation of Isreal and Liberia, evoke negative perceptions where the new nation was created on already occupied land - the fate of the Palestinian people when the Jews effectively colonised the lands with scant disregard for the settlers on the land. Similarly, the Liberian experience was oppressive for existing communities when the Americo-Liberians were sent by the American Colonisation Society. However, more viable, though mixed experiences, of historical precedents can be used such as the Mandates established by the League of Nations following the First World War where territories were mandated such as; Lebanon, Palestine, Ruanda-Urundi and Tanganyika in a situation comparable to the present crisis.
This leads us to the other option – creating a state in a hitherto uninhabited island. Whilst the idea is appealing and comes without much of the issues related with the previous option, it has its own challenges: are we at risk of ghetorrising an already marignalised population? Are we absolving states from the international obligations they have signed up on? Which country is willing and able to provide such a territory? Who will fund the investment required? There are also legitimate questions about leadership, democracy and freedom, given the diversity of the citizens many of whom originated from situations where overzealous beliefs have triggered unimaginable conflict and violence.
What will the new state look like? It will be very colourful indeed given the diverse origins of the constituent population in terms of ethnicity, religion and culture. One argument is that this diversity will create conditions of conflict leading to further displacement and waves of refugees. Whilst this is a possibility, it is less likely than conflict, xenophobia and violence which refugees would face within existing countries. Furthermore, historically there are examples of plural societies, made up of diverse populations such as those of the new world; the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. If we are to go by Buzi’s proposition that self selection is the basis for being a part of ‘Refugee Nation’, it can be assumed that refugees that choose to be citizens will want to start a new and peaceful living in the new land.
Whilst arguments against Buzi’s proposition are raised by those unconvinced by the proposed solution, growing anti immigration sentiments across much of the world, calls for creative and innovative ideas for dealing with the issue. It is in this context that Buzi’s proposition is bold and inspiring. It supports migrant agency by lending to the idea that refugees have the ability to reshape their future. In Syria for example refugee populations have transformed their camps from sterile lines of military type tents set up by international agencies into ones more conducive to community style living. These peoples have skills, talents and aspirations which can and ought to be realized. Besides, there are a significant number of skilled and professionally trained individuals; doctors, lawyers, scientists and thinkers penned up in the camps whose abilities and skills can be gainfully employed. As Buzi comments ‘why not, let them use their talents to build a new nation?”
One of the more attractive aspects of Buzi’s proposition is that he starts from the principle of full, active citizenship being granted from Day One. A country, as he states, ‘where each citizen has the same legal rights to reside, work, pursue an education, raise a family, buy and sell property, or start a business – rights that most people have but may not cherish, a country where everyone is an equal citizen, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or any other personal status.’
Given the scale of the refugee crisis, the growing resistance of host populations who have borne the brunt of insecurity, war and austerity, and the outcry by right wing populist parties in Western Europe against, the albeit, relatively small numbers that are hovering within or near their borders, there is a pressing need to move away from old ideas and modes of coping. Whilst creating a ‘Refugee Nation’ might not be THE solution, we need to recognize the limits that NGOs and international agencies have been placed in and the limits to stretching the goodwill and the political limits of the generosity of neighbouring states (e.g. Lebanon. Jordan, Pakistan) who play host to the vast number of refugees who arrive at their borders on a daily basis.
Buzi’s proposition is a response to the appeal for a new approach to deal with a dynamic human issue. ‘Refugee Nation’, is a new model, that can offer, citizenship, security, employment and a future for displaced populations who may not want to or can’t go back to their homes. Whilst the modalities of how the nation will be created and function will have to be worked out, it begs the question; is it a viable alternative response to act to ameliorate a major moral obligation of our time?
The above article draws on content from interviews, articles and blogs posted by Jason Buzi, Prof Alexander Betts and Prof Robin Cohen
Photo credit: indi.ca
පසුගිය වසරේ වේදිකා ගතවූ නාට්ය අතරින් චමිල ප්රියංකගේ “මෙය තුවක්කුවක් නොවේ” නාට්යය සංකල්පීයමය වශයෙන් ඉහළ තැනක ඇත. වේදිකාව මැද මෙය තුවක්කුවක් නොවේ යැයි සඳහන් වූ විශාල තුවක්කුවකි. ප්රියංක මෙම තුවක්කුවක් නොවන තුවක්කුව, පසුගිය රෙජීමයේ අධ්කාරිවාදී ස්වභාවය, මර්දනය සහ මිලිටරිකරණය නිරූපණය කරනු පිණිස බලවත් රුපකයක් ලෙස භාවිත කරයි. මෙම නාට්යයේ රෙනේ මාගරිට් නමැති ප්රංශ අධි-තාත්විකවාදී චිත්ර ශිල්පියාගේ Treachery of Images යන චිත්රයේ අභාෂය දැකිය හැක.
මෙම නාට්යය මට තකහනියක් සිහියට නැගුණේ මීට මාස කීපයකට පෙර නිදහස් චතුරශ්රයට ගිය විටදීය. මා පරණ පෙම්වතියක් සමග කොළඹ රස්තියාදු වෙමින් සිටියදී නිදහස් චතුරශ්රයට පැමිනුණේ අහම්බයෙන්. සීගිරියේ ශෛලමය පොකුණු සිහි කරවන වතුර මල් වලින්ද, ලංකාවේ ප්රෞඩ අභිමානය ගම්ය වන ගෘහ නිර්මාණාත්මක ලක්ෂණ වලින්ද සැරසුණු නිදහස් චතුරශ්රය, Nike, Addidas යනාදී විව්ධාකර ආම්පන්නයෙන් සැරසී දුව පනිමින් සිටින මහත් ජන පිරිසකගෙන් පිරී තිබුණි. නිදහස් චතුරශ්රය සහ ඒ අවට පෙදෙසට පසුගිය රෙජීමයේ නගරාලන්කරණ වැඩපිලිවල යටතේ වඩා ‘පොෂ්’ පෙනුමක් ලබා දෙනු ලැබීය.ඉන් අනතුරුව කොළඹ නගර වාසි ශ්රී ලංකිකයන්ට ශාරීරික යොග්යතාවය පිළිබඳව වෙනදාට නොමැති උනන්දුවක් ඇති විය. මා සිතන හැටියට මෙය ඉතා යහපත් ප්රවණතාවයකි. KFC, Burgher King, Pizza Hut යනාදී තැන් වලින් හිතේ හැටියට කා බී, උදේ හවස කාර් එකෙන් වැඩට යන පොදු ශ්රී ලාංකික ජනතාවට, තම සිරුරේ වැඩිවූ තෙල් බස්සා ගැනීමට දැන් නිදහස් චතුරශ්රය කදිම තෝතැන්නකි.
මාත් මගේ පරණ පෙම්වතියත් නිදහස් චතුරශ්ර මඩුවට නැග්ගේ බිම හිඳගෙන අතීත අනුස්මරණය කරනු පිණිස සහ ඔහේ ගැවසීමටය. යන තැන බිම ඉඳ ගැනීම, පේරාදෙණිය සෙනට් මණ්ඩපයේ වාඩිවීමෙන් අප ලත් පුරුද්දකි.අපි බිම වාඩිවූ විගසම, නිල ඇඳුමෙන් සිටි රැකවලෙක් පැමිණ “මෙතන couples වලට ඉඳ ගන්න බැහැ” යැයි පවසා සිටියා. මම සාමාන්යයෙන් නිර්භය පුද්ගලයෙක් නොවන අතර බොහෝ විට ඇඟ බේරාගැනීම ප්රමුඛතාවයක් ලෙස සලකා කටයුතු කරමි.නමුත් රැකවලාගේ කෙසඟ සිරුර දුටු මාහට අසමාන්ය ධෛර්යයක් පහල විය. “අපි couple එකක් නෙවේ”, මම ඇත්තම කිවුව. තුෂ්නිම්භූත වූ රැකවලා අප දෙස බලා “මෙතන couples වලට වාඩිවෙන්න දෙන්නේ නැහැ, එලියට ගිහින් වාඩිවෙන්න” යැයි පැවසුවා. අනවශ්ය ප්රශ්න ඇතිකරගැනීමේ තේරුමක් නැති නිසා මම හුන් තැනින් නැගිට “මෙතන හිටගෙන ඉන්න පුලුවන්ද?” කියා ඇසුවා. “හිට ගෙන ඉන්ඩත් බැහැ” රැකවලා මෙසේ කිවුයේ කණගාටුවෙන් යැයි මට සිතුණි. ජීවිකාව පිණිස තම දේශපාලනික ස්වාමි වරුන්ගේ අණ පිළිගන්නා, රැකවලා සමඟ වාද කිරීමෙන් ඵලක් නැත.ඒ නිසා අපි දෙදෙනා, Independence මඩුවෙන් නික්මී, ඒ අසල ඇති, මා දන්නා හැටියට හමුදාව විසින් කළමනාකරණය කළ Walkers’ Café එකට ගොස් කා බී සතුටු වී ගෙවල් බලා ගියෙමු.
මෙය සිදුවුයේ, ජනවාරි මාසයේ ආණ්ඩු පෙරළියට ප්රථමවය.මම ගිය සතියේද නිදහස් චතුරශ්රය බලා ගියෙමි. වාසනාවකට හෝ අවාසනාවකට මෙවරද මා සිටියේ, පෙම්වතියක් සමඟ නොව ඉතා කුළුපග මිතුරියක් සමඟය. යහපාලන ආණ්ඩුව යටතේ මහා විස්කම් සිදුවෙතියි බලාපොරොත්තුවූ අප දෙදෙනාම, Independence මඩුවට නැග්ගේ නිදහසේ ආගිය තොරතුරු කතා කිරීමටය. බිම වාඩිවූ සැනින්, ඈත සිටි රැකවලෙක්අපිව එළවා දැමීමට පැමිණුනා. පෙරදා රැකවලා මෙන් නොව, මොහු තර්ජනාත්මකය. එම නිසා අතීතයේ පෑ සිංහ ලීලා නොපා, මා මගේ මිතුරියත් සමඟ වහා එතනින් මාරු විය.මේ රචනාව මට කිරීමට සිතුනේ ඉන් අනතුරුවය.
Couples වලට නිදහස් චතුරශ්රය තහනම් ප්රදේශයක් වීම කණගාටුවට සහ හාස්යයට ද කරුණකි. විෂම ලිංගික යුවළකට නිදහස් චතුරශ්රය තහනම් නම් ‘දිනාගත් නිදහසෙන්’ ඇති ඵලය කුමක්ද? අනෙක් අතට මෙය සැබවින්ම විකාර සහගත තත්වයකි. මෙම තහනම යටතේ කිසිම ගැහැනියකට හෝ පිරිමියෙකුට නිදහස් චතුරශ්රයට පැමිණීමට නොහැකිය. සහෝදරයෙකුට තම සොහොයුරිය සමගවත් නිදහස් චතුරශ්ර මණ්ඩපයේ ගැවසිය නොහැක. විවාපත් යුවළකටද එය එසේමය. මෙහි ඇති උත්ප්රාසයනම්, නිදහස් චතුරශ්රයේ නිදහසේ සිටිය හැකි එකම පිරිස වන්නේ සමාජයේ අනෙකුත් තාඩන පීඩන මැද ජීවත් වන සමලිංගික ප්රජාවය! අපි 1948 අවුරුද්දේ නිදහස ලැබුවත් සුද්දන්ගෙන් දායාදවූ ගතානුගතික වික්ටෝරියානු මනෝභාවයෙන් මිදී නොමැත.ආදරය, ලිංගිකත්වය සහ ස්ත්රී, පුරුෂ සම්බන්ධතා පිළිබඳව මෙතරම් පටු අදහස් අපට ඇත්තේ ඒ නිසාය. උදහරණයක් ලෙසට සමාජය සිතන්නේ ගැහැනුන්ට සහ පිරිමින්ට මිතුරන් විය නොහැක කියාය (Oscar Wilde නම් මේ සමඟ එකඟ වනු ඇත). මා මගේ මිතුරිය සමග නිදහස් මණ්ඩපයෙන් පන්නා දැමුවේ මේ නිසාය. තරමක් දුරකට ප්රචිනවාදී වුවත්, රෝබට් නොක්ස් ගේ “An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon” (සිංහල පරිවර්තනය, “එදා හෙළ දිව”) මහනුවර යුගයේ ලිංගිකත්වය පිලිබඳ ආකල්ප ඉතා ලිහිල් බව පෙන්වා දේ. අප සමාජයේ අද ඇති ලිංගික පරිශුද්ධවාදය, අපගේ යටත්විජිත දායාදයේම කොටසකි.
මා ඉහත සඳහන් කළ පරිදි නිදහස් චතුරශ්ර මණ්ඩපයේ ගැවසිය හැකි එකම couples සමලිංගික couples වන්නේය.නමුත් මින් ශ්රී ලාංකික සමාජයේ සමලිංගිකත්වය පිලිබඳ ඉතා ප්රගතිශීලි අදහස් ඇති බවක් සැල නොවේ.එදිනෙදා ව්යවහාරයේ couples යන්නෙන් අදහස් වන්නේ විෂමලිංගික පෙම්වතුන් පමණි. ලිංගිකත්වය පිලිබඳ ශ්රී ලාංකික කතිකාවේ සමලිංගිකත්වයට තැනක් නැත. එයට සමලිංගිකත්වය සංකල්පගත කර ගැනීමටවත් නොහැකිය. එම නිසා නිදහස් චතුරශ්රයට යන සමලිංගික couples වලට පාඩුවේ සිටිය හැක. අධිපති කතිකාවට අනුව ඔවුන් couples නොවේ.
නිදහස් චතුරශ්රය ඉදිරිපිට දැවැන්ත කොඩි ගහකි. එහි මුදුනේ බෞද්ධ ධජයක් වේළුණු කොළඹ සුළගේ ලෙළදේ.නිදහස් චතුරශ්රයේ කොඩි ගසේ බෞද්ධ කොඩියක් නංවා තැබීම විශ්මයට කරුණකි. ඒ නිදහස් චතුරශ්රය පන්සලක් නොව, ජාතික නිදහස සංකේතවත් වන ස්මාරකයක් වන බැවිනි.ලත් නිදහස හුදෙක්ම බෞද්ධයන්ගේ උරුමයක් ලෙස සැලකීම, දහනමවන සහ විසිවන සියවසේ මුල් භාගයේ, නිදහස් අරගලය වෙනුවෙන් කැපවී වැඩ කළ බෞද්ධ නොවන, ද්රවිඩ, බර්ගර් සහ මුස්ලිම් ජාතිකයන්ට කරන ගුණමකු කමක් පමණක් නොව, රටේ බෞද්ධ නොවන සියලු දෙනා ජාතික විඥානයෙන් නෙරපා හැරීමක් ද වේ. Couples වලට නිදහස් චතුරශ්ර මඩුව තහනම් වීම සහ බෞද්ධ කොඩිය අතර සහ සම්බන්ධයක් ඇත.අප සමාජයේ විපරිත වූ සුචරිත වාදයට ගුරු කරගෙන ඇත්තේ, ප්රෝතෙස්තන්ත්රකරණය වූ බුදු දහමය. ඒ කෙසේවෙතත් මා දන්නා හැටියට නම් ලංකාවේ කිසිම පන්සලකට couples වලට පැමිණීමට බාධා නැත. එහෙත් නිදහස් චතුරශ්රය ඔවුන්ට තහනම් ය.
මගේද ඡන්දය හිමිවූ මෛත්රීපාල සිරිසේන ජනාධිපති ලෙස දිවුරුම් දුන්නේ නිදහස් චතුරශ්රයේදීය.ඔහුගෙන් අප බලාපොරොත්තුවූ වෙනස යම්තාක් දුරකට හෝ සිදුවී ඇත. එය අප අගය කළ යුතුය.අද අපි ප්රජාතන්ත්ර වාදය ගැන පෙර කවරදාකවත් නැතිතරම් කතාකරනේනෙමු. Couples වලට (පෙම්වතුන් සහ පෙම්වතුන් නොවන, සමලිංගික සහ සමලිංගික නොවන) නිදහස් චතුරශ්රයේ ගැවසීමට ප්රජාතාන්ත්රික අයිතියක් ඇත. එම අයිතිය තහවුරු කිරිම යහපාලනයේම කොටසක් විය යුතුය. Couples නිදහස් චතුරශ්ර මඩුවේ සිටියා කියා සිදුවෙන අවැඩක් නැත.ඔවුන් එහි කෝලං කරණු ඇතැයි සිතිය නොහැක. ඒ සඳහා ඒ අසලම වගේ ඇති විහාර මහාදේවී පෙම් උයන හැන්දෑවේ හය දක්වා අවසර දෙයි.
ඔබ නිදහස් චතුරශ්රය couples වලට තහනම් කලාපයක් වීමට විරුද්ධ නම් කළ හැකි එක් දෙයක් ඇත. ඔබට කළ හැක්කේ නිදහස් චතුරශ්ර මණ්ඩපයට couple එකක් ලෙස ගොස්, “අපි couple එකක් නොවේ” යැයි දැන්විම් පුවරුවක් ඔසවාගෙන සිටීමය.මෙය අපව පාගා ගෙන සිටින හෙජමොනික ව්යූහයන් විගඩමක් කිරීමට භාවිත කළ හැකි හොඳ උපක්රමයකි.
To celebrate the Fifth Anniversary of the Mews Street Evictions
By Mansi Kumarasiri, Prashanthi Jayasekara, Vijay Nagaraj
On the 8th May 2010, twenty houses on Mews Street, Slave Island that had been home to 33 families were demolished and rightfully so. If you still have a house it is likely that you missed all the action. But do not despair, you can catch the highlights right here—it’s just like the IPL, smash and grab:
Following is an easy to grasp 10-Step multimedia guide that summarizes the best practices and valuable lessons that we learnt in the last five years while demolishing other people’s houses before they could say “yahapalanaya”.
Step O: Always use Singapore and Shanghai as models: It is the best way of saying that democracy never delivers world-class cities.
Step 1: Declare urban blight: Deny poor working class communities adequate services and label them ‘underserved settlements'.
Step 2: Now re-label them slums: You are also one step away from winning over the concerned middle classes and the elites including most of the judges, newspaper editors, civil servants and all those who are rightfully apprehensive of the threat slums pose to their otherwise untroubled existence and the beauty of the cityscape.
Now it is time to start looking for well-meaning donors who can help. Those World Bank folk are really sweet and besides their money comes dolled up in ‘social and environmental safeguards’—but have no fear, it is just make-up.
Step 3: Also term them ‘illegal’: Keep telling them they have no rights until they believe it themselves. This also really helps move communities from being underserved to undeserving. Note: Courts love this one too, makes their job easier.
Step 4: Hide them in high-rises: Show them a world-class dream, give them hope; the promise of life in a condo—a refreshing change from squatting oriental style to shitting seated, western style.
Step 5: Use Might, but Cunningly: Have the police or better still the military at hand. A healthy dose of fear persuades people to sign applications claiming that they want new houses as they are living in terrible conditions and are willing to meet all terms and conditions, which are unspecified, naturally.
Step 6: Watch video on how to negotiate potential resistance.
If resistance continues, go to Step 9.
Step 7: Debt creates docility: The road to middleclass serenity in the Middle-Income Wonder of Asia is paved with equated monthly mortgage payments—so give them a new house but also make them pay but do offer the poor a choice, just so that you come out looking great: 20 years @ 3,960 or 30 years @ 2,650 works well.
Step 8: Disintegration breeds social cohesion: Mix’em up! Enhance coping capacities by a) not resettling communities together and b) ensuring neighbours or related families are not given houses next to each other.
Step 9: Forget about those you have forcibly moved. As for those who continue to clamour, like the Mews Street community, just ignore them: that should teach them and the rest.
Step 10: Set-up a Review Committee: This one is optional but really helps deal with any bad press, pesky NGOs or more importantly a change in government. Never commit to anything more than a Committee.
Allan Lavell [i], 2015 Laureate of the UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction, calls for a reimagining of the relationship between the disaster risk reduction community and those working on ‘development.’
It is a well-known and often-stated fact, even if spurious and lacking in precision in its specification, that disasters impact development, particularly women, men and children least favoured by economic growth policies. Academics, practitioners and civil society accept that disaster risk (and thus, disaster) may be explained by the workings of underlying root causes, expressed as risk drivers of the now dominant development paradigm. Disaster risk is now seen in terms of its extensive and intensive manifestations and relations to chronic, quotidian risk, mostly captured in the workings of poverty. Even though, conceptually and causally, the endogenous as opposed to exogenous interpretations of risk prevail, this has not translated into how society attempts to reduce or control future risk.
Dissonance exists between theory and practice. Endogeny is talked about, but because of path dependencies, status quo, political expediency and needs, and economic imperatives (capital, gain and wealth among others), it is exogeny, with its lower political and economic impact and significance, that is adhered to. Thus, even while disasters are being increasingly explained by failed development practices, disaster response carries on using methods that see disasters as external impacts on current development and on those who should benefit from it. We expect disaster risk management and climate change adaptation to render sustainable the very development model that is causing risk and disaster. A complete contradiction in terms and logic, the result of which is that disaster risk has grown far more quickly over the last 40 years of neoliberalism and globalisation than the achievements of the well-intentioned but ephemeral attempts to reduce it.
So what is the technocratic way in which it has been suggested that DRM and CCA are used to increase sustainability and lower development losses? The answer is through “mainstreaming” DRM and CCA into development practice and decisions, making risk analysis and decisions a part of development decision making at a sector, regional, city or local level. Specialists in DRM and CCA are called upon to introduce into the model of development elements that improve its performance or sustainability, even though unsustainability, risk and lack of adaptation are products of that very same model or its historical manifestations. The contradiction is obvious. In dealing with DRM and CCA as “sectors,” separate from, but supposedly complementary to, development planning and practice, we are exogenising risk and disaster as opposed to endogenising them. Instead of placing such concerns in the list of priority considerations for development, we are introducing them as complementary development reinforcing actions in models where risk is seen as gain for some and loss for others. Decades of environmental destruction through deforestation, mangrove cutting, city construction without concern for drainage etc, growing numbers of poor people (now 2 billion on US$2 dollars a day), selective processes of exclusion from development benefits and social networks, etc., have meant increasing numbers of people at risk. And even the advanced private sector seems to prefer short-term gain to long-term stability and locates itself more and more in hazard prone areas that have a large alternative resource base.
So can mainstreaming resolve this dilemma? Of course not, or not as it has been conceived to date in many places. What we need is not mainstreaming of DRM or CCA or gender or environment into development practice, but for development practice and planning and policy to firmly include disaster and quotidian risk, gender inequality, environmental and service depletion etc in its DNA, as the ISDR Global Assessment Report insists in its 2015 version. Such facets have to be the defining principles of development practice not add-ons from outside. How can we accept that development be defined in a way that increases the possibilities of dying or losing your livelihoods, being excluded from the benefits due to gender or environmental considerations etc? The time has come to end the existence of a sector called DRM or CCA that attempts to sell their speciality to those in a development sector. The DRM and CCA sector needs to unemploy itself. Instead, development sectors and interests need to take up the DRM and CCA themes autonomously and according to their own collective and redefined dynamics and definitions of what development is and should be.
[i] Born in Britain but based in Latin America for much his life, Allan Lavell is a respected researcher and practitioner in disaster risk reduction. He was a founding member of the Network of Social Studies in the Prevention of Disasters in Latin America (LA RED) in 1992 and, through a long-term relationship with the Latin American Social Science Faculty (FLACSO), has achieved a position of influence within the region and beyond. His work in the field spans nearly three decades and is marked by multidisciplinary, multi-actor, holistic, participatory and comparative approaches. He believes that his contribution to shaping the future has been achieved primarily through the development and dissemination of notions, ideas, concepts and empirical evidence gained from and through academic research and published in dozens of books, journals and websites.
A renewables revolution?
What are we up against?
Who has power over power?
At what price?
We can’t just sit back and expect the falling price of solar and wind to sweep away the old energy order. Renewable energy could be a powerful tool for dismantling the current failed system – but we need to use it wisely, and not let it fall into the wrong hands!
Original article: http://newint.org/features/2015/03/01/renewable-energy-keynote/