Authored by Dr. Sirimal Abeyratne, Prof of Economics, University of Colombo for The pathfinder Foundation
When we look at the developments in the economic policy arena after the Presidential elections, we hardly see any way forward for Sri Lanka. Apart for revisiting governance issues, what we find is policy actions that were “defensive” and “corrective” in form but is “destructive” in substance.
By Sarah Hettiaratchi, Project Executive Pathfinder Foundation
Since the change of government early this year, the country’s new leadership has announced a few mega development projects, which when implemented, can catalyse economic transformation. The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) in this article wishes to highlight the links between the high priority mega development projects and the objective of establishing Colombo as an important world class financial centre
The new government, elected to govern the country for the next five years, has vowed to implement its flagship Megapolis project which was included in its election manifesto. It was reported that the conceptual plan was initially mooted in 1991 by the then young Sri Lankan Minister of Industries, Science and Technology, Ranil Wickremesinghe, when he made a presentation in the presence of the visiting Japanese Prime Minister, Hon. Toshiki Kaifu. The objective of the presentation was to seek Japanese government assistance to implement this mega project. In spite of this initiative, further development of the concept came to a halt with the change of the government in 1994. Once again, during the 2001-2002 period the same urban development concept was considered for implementation, at least on a phased basis, giving priority to reclamation of the sea near Galle Face and areas adjacent to Colombo 03 to develop an extended city within Colombo. The new government is now ready to embark upon its flagship project as the Western Region Megapolis Project (WRMP) which will help transform the entire Western Province, enveloping the Colombo, Gampaha, and Kalutara districts and positioning Colombo as the best city in the South Asian region.
A series of high level visits during the course of this year have formed the basis of attempts to re-set Indo-Lanka bilateral relations. There has been an exchange of visits involving President Sirisena, Prime Minister Modi and Foreign Ministers Samaraweera and Swaraj. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s forthcoming visit will be the first after the Parliamentary Elections, which have completed the transition to a new political dispensation. This visit offers the opportunity to seek concrete outcomes, which promote the declared goal of a bilateral relationship of ‘irreversible excellence’. This would entail addressing sources of continuing friction between the two countries as well as strengthening economic and cultural links.
By Sarah Hettiaratchi, Intern By Pathfinder Foundation
අසල්වැසි රටවල් එකිනෙකා සමග හිතෛෂී සම්බන්ධතා පවත්වාගැනීම වටනා කරුණකි. විශේෂයෙන්ම, ස්වභාවික සම්පත් හවුලේ බෙදාහදාගැනීමට භූගෝලීය පිහිටීම විසින් ඔවුන්ට බලකර ඇත්නම් හිතෛෂී සම්බන්ධකම වඩාත් වටනේය. ස්වභාවික සම්පත් හවුලේ බෙදාගැනීම පිළිබඳව එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ නීති විශාරදයින් විසින් කෙටුම්පත් කරන ලද ප්රතිපත්ති, එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ 1979 මහා සමුළුවේදී සම්මත කරගන්නා ලදී (ඍැිග. 34/186*. එහි අඩංගු මාර්ගෝපදේශ පද්ධතියේ තුන්වන නියමයෙහි මෙසේ සඳහන් වේ.
Authored by Mr. Bernard Goonetilleke, Former Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chairman of the Pathfinder Foundation
The spirit of good neighbourliness is a cherished attribute particularly when nations share natural resources. Legal experts at the UN developed draft principles on shared natural resources, which were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979 (Res. 34/186). Principle 3 of the guideline states, “States have… the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental policies, and the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction”.
There were two shocking items in the Sri Lankan media during the past few days that caught the attention of the Pathfinder Foundation (PF) which focuses on Sri Lankan policy issues:
Political Consensus – Luckily at Last
Both the main political parties, the SLFP and UNP, support private participation in the provision of tertiary education. Yet attempts to establish private universities have so far been stymied by a fierce resistance from those who hold a minority perspective. They have been given ammunition for this by vested interests in educational policy making. This has constrained an expansion of tertiary education; an improvement in its quality; and an increase in choice for the students. The prevalence of tuition classes and off-shore universities indicate that there is no anti – private education sentiment in this country. The status quo, which involves inadequate public resources to meet current demand; the production of graduates who cannot find productive employment; a mushrooming of unregulated institutions of varying quality; and increasing recourse to expensive foreign tertiary education, is clearly undesirable.
In May 2009, Sri Lanka saw the end of the three decade long separatist war. It was a long, bitter and hard won victory. One of the few instances in modern history in which a terrorist group had been defeated militarily. While every Sri Lankan celebrated and was thankful that the war had finally ended few were naïve enough to believe that peace and harmony would follow through immediately. The war in Sri Lanka may be over. However, the underlying root causes for political and social conflict still simmers. Real peace and reconciliation will not come overnight nor can it be imposed from the outside. Solutions need to be from within taking into consideration unique characteristics of our minorities, equality, prosperity and development for all.
For the first time in human history, there are more people living in urban areas than in the rural sector. Responding to rapid urbanization is one of the key challenges of the 21st Century. The demand for basic services and infrastructure among the rapidly increasing urban population is a daunting task for many governments in the developing world.