Thu, 18 Aug 2022 Today's Paper

Rio+20, Sri Lanka and the Future We Want

15 June 2012 06:30 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

Following the Copenhagen talks, the former President of Asia’s smallest country- the Maldives emerged as a spokesman for small island states affected by rising sea levels. What followed next was phenomenal. From underwater publicity stunts to his documentary film ‘the Island President’ President Nasheed saw a sudden rise to a pop star-like status within the global environmental movement.  However, since Nasheed was ousted from Presidency recently in an alleged ‘coup’ these efforts have lost momentum. As a Sri Lankan climate activist I’d like to see Sri Lanka as a prospective global advocate of Climate Change and Sustainable Development. After all, President Rajapaksha is as much an ‘Island President’ as President Nasheed was.
In reality however, things seem way more complicated. Sri Lanka is just waking up from a war that lasted  far too long. The Arab Spring lit a fire across the Middle East and North Africa which is burning to this date, Europe is gloomy with its European debt crisis while the United States is still finding its way from the recession. In this backdrop how could one reconcile concepts such as Greening the Economy and Sustainable Development, with the pressing needs of our time? Are they luxuries that the world; or at least certain regions afford at this point of time?

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Environment is reportedly pursuing active preparations for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, commonly known as Rio+20. It is learnt that President Rajapaksha will be visiting Brazil himself joining some 130 world leaders to attend the High Level Segments of the summit which many term is the most important global conference of this decade. Post-war Sri Lanka should seize Rio+20 as an opportunity (and not a threat) for the ongoing development agenda of the government.

Sha Zukang, UNCSD Secretary-General, said the intensive third round of informal consultations in New York had shown real progress, not just in terms of the numbers of  paragraphs agreed, but also in the way in which negotiators discussed the issues and shared commitment to a successful outcome to Rio+20. He said the three days of ‘PrepCom’ were “make or break” and underscored that “the whole world is watching what we do here.”

Green Jobs vs. Youth Unemployment
Youth unemployment in Sri Lanka is soaring: standing, nearly at a whopping 20%.  More still, are underemployed. Central to the discussions in Rio is the idea of a Green Economy. Is the concept of Green jobs compatible with the Sri Lankan status quo? Would introducing Green Jobs cost the Sri Lankan economy more and more jobs? Many argue that greening the job market will only add extra pressure on young school-leavers and undergraduates that are already under enough pressure by growing demands for soft-skills.

Green Jobs advocates, however, point out that, the hard work of decarbonising economy will actually create hundreds of new jobs, in addition to sprouting up jobs in new technological fields such as alternative energy. They stress that low-carbon, climate resilient, environmentally friendly jobs, like all things Green, is not a mere doable, but rather a need of the day.




Climate equity
“As an emerging economy, the challenge for Sri Lanka is to achieve sustainable high economic growth with greater equity, whilst integrating into the process of globalisation, achieving permanent peace and rehabilitating and reconstructing the war affected areas … Sri Lanka needs to accelerate economic growth in order to meet the rising expectations of a growing population, about a quarter of which is still below the poverty line” The document goes on to suggest that the government will make a large push for what it terms ‘climate equity at the upcoming summit.
Whilst not downplaying the crucial aspects of international climate justice that need to be addressed, Climate Justice also refers to what happens within nations. Even though our achievements in improving social conditions, health and education and the Millennium Development Goals are encouraging, we should focus inequalities that exist in our society.  With its favela slum areas and large departmental stores, where better could one discuss inequality; than Rio de Janeiro?
As “a tropical island is prone to natural disasters and climate induced risks” these conspicuous disparities are apparent during natural disasters.  When disasters strike, it’s the poor that is predominantly affected: at least in most cases. This is partly because the poor reside in areas which are more vulnerable and prone to disasters, such as the coastal belt.
There is very little reference in the ongoing discussions for the outcome document of Rio+20 on financing, technology transfers or funding. With the rest of the G77, we should push for more subsidies.



From MDGs to SDGs

In just 3 years the eight UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were agreed upon by all UN member states and International Organisations in 2000, will expire. It has been proposed, that Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs covering poverty, energy, water, oceans, resource efficiency, land and ecosystems should succeed the MDGs. Despite significant developments in certain fields, achieving MDG targets by 2015 is a far cry. All eyes are now on Rio to see if world leaders will agree.

When the idea of SDGs was put forward last year by Colombia, it seemed like a brilliant, innovative initiative especially because it came from a developing country. But along the corridors in Rio Centro debate is now raging about the advantages and disadvantages of yet more goals.

Rio+20 is described as a once in a generation opportunity, a platform for redemption. Most activists have already lost their faith in their leaders to come up with a binding outcome document that will immediately address the environmental concerns of our time. Whatever outcome Rio+20 may deliver, citizens around the world have shown their governments that they need to act today. Thousands of people from around the world are here in Rio, hosting side events, putting up posters and planning campaigns. Thousands more are campaigning in their respective communities.

By Senel Wanniarachchi
senel.wanniarachchi@gmail.com
He will be blogging on http://adoptanegotiator.org/ with instant updates on
Twitter at @Senel_W.
Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.

  Comments - 1

Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.

  • Sarah Lokuge Sunday, 17 June 2012 08:37 AM

    Interesting article. Well written :)


Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment




Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

Sell your vehicle & house fast with hitad.lk only cost is Rs.400, Advertise in Hitad.lk for free to sell your mobile phone. Want to sell your Pet, Advertise for Free in hitad.lk Search for Houses in Sri Lanka and find the best place through Hitad.lk find your best tuition place. Find the best partner for you, visit hitad.lk Find anything at any time hitad.lk.


Tamil Parties Must Urge Full Implementation of 13A

Last week’s article was about the guerilla war fought by the Janatha Vimukt

Govt. re-recommends COVID-19 regulations: Medics, legal experts warn of vaccine expiry dates and injuries

The public has once again been advised to wear masks to prevent the spread of

8-year-old grave sexual abuse victim gets justice after 18 years

In Palawela Udaniriella, an 8-year-old girl became the victim of Grave Sexual

Covid makes a comeback!

These questions have been buzzing in our heads over the past few weeks as hea