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Participatory democracy and participatory development - EDITORIAL

18 October 2015 07:48 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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hough most people are unaware of it and others choose to ignore it, world poverty alleviation is a high priority issue because until and unless there is a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources, there is no justice and thereby there will be no lasting peace.

That is one of the main reasons why we are seeing so many wars, wars within wars, various forms of terrorism and uprisings in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas. For instance the Unite States invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, a month after the 9/11 attack on America. US President Barak Obama pledged he would pull all US ground troops out of Afghanistan by December this year. But after the Taliban took control of the important city of Kunduz earlier this month, President Obama changed his strategy and decided to keep more than 5,000 troops for training and advisory roles till the end of next year. Most military analysts agree that the stark reality is that after 15 years of operations by some 60,000 US troops with tens of thousands of casualties, the Taliban is today stronger than it was in 2001. Similar is the war in Syria where the US and Russia are on the verge of a head on confrontation, while up to five million innocent Syrians are suffering in refugee camps of various countries. 

Essentially the superpowers and others appear to have been tackling the symptoms instead of the root causes of poverty and injustice.

Last Saturday the world marked the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. It comes in the afterglow of the adoption of the Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 



According to the United Nations, the Agenda, which succeeds the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), contains 17 new and ambitious goals – in the forefront among them being the mission to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere”.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement to mark the occasion called on the international community to recommit to think, decide and act together against extreme poverty -- and plan for a world where no-one is left behind. 

The aim must be prosperity for all, not just a few. This seems impractical if not impossible in a crisis, where one percent of the people, comprising scores of multi billionaires have or control more wealth than the other 99 percent. 

Capitalism does provide some benefits like business, investments and jobs but as US presidential frontrunner Hilary Clinton said last week, we need to save Capitalism from destroying itself through excessive selfishness and greed, which are colour-washed as entrepreneurship and competitive enterprise.  
In Sri Lanka the National Government seems to have taken some effective steps for sustainable development with the focus on the rural economy and eco-friendly initiatives. Even the former regime’s leaders now admit that superhighways, megacities, and huge projects alone cannot bring sustainable development benefitting all the people and bring about a lasting peace with justice. 

Though the war ended in 2009 the former regime tended to be more ‘triumphalistic’ and arrogant instead of taking effective steps to address the root causes of the war. 

This is the same dilemma being faced by the US and other big powers. 

Thankfully the new Sri Lankan government seems to be conscious of the need to win the peace also by bringing about multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural unity in diversity. 

Extremism in any form needs to be rejected, while we protect, promote and even celebrate diversity, so that the Sri Lankan identity of all people will be restored. 

Participatory democracy needs to go along with participatory development as we move towards building a new Sri Lanka in a spirit of consensus and consultation. 
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  • paths Monday, 19 October 2015 04:17 PM

    Participatory DemocracyThis means Sinhalese, Tamils


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