Syndicate content

Sri Lanka

ஏன் ஒவ்வொரு நாளும் சுற்றாடல் தினமாக இருக்கவேண்டும்?

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Also available in: English | සිංහල

இந்த வருடத்தின் முதல் ஆறுமாத காலப்பகுதியில் இலங்கையில் வரட்சி, மண்சரிவு,  குப்பை மேடு சரிவு ,வெள்ளப்பெருக்கு போன்ற பல பாரிய அனர்த்தங்கள் இடம்பெற்றன. பாதிக்கப்பட்டவர்களைத் தவிர ஏனையோரின் கவனத்தைப் பெறாதளவில் மேலும் பல அனர்த்தங்களும் இடம்பெற்றன. இலங்கையர்கள் எதிர்கொண்ட இவ் அனர்த்தங்கள் சுற்றாடலை நாம் எங்ஙனம் பேணிக்காக்க வேண்டும் என்பதை அச்சொட்டாக வலியுறுத்தி நிற்கின்றன.    உயிர்களுக்கும் உடைமைகளுக்கும் ஏற்பட்ட சேதங்கள், வாழ்க்கைச் சக்கரத்தில் ஏற்பட்டுள்ள தடங்கல்கள், உளவியல் ரீதியாகவும்  ஆன்மீக ரீதியாகவும் மிகவும் கடினமானவை. எப்போதேனும் இவற்றை வழமைக்கு கொண்டுவருவது மெதுவான செயற்பாடாக அமையும்.

நிலைபேறான சுற்றாடல் முகாமைத்துவம் தொடர்பான சிந்தனைகளை ஆண்டில் ஒரு நாளுக்கு மாத்திரம் நாம் ஏன் மட்டுப்படுத்தவேண்டும்?  நகரப்பகுதிகள், ஆறுகள் அன்றேல் கடலில் இருந்து குப்பைகளைச் சேகரித்தல், தொண்டுநோக்கிற்கான நடைபவனியில் பங்கேற்றல் போன்ற செயற்பாடுகளில் ஈடுபடுவதன் மூலமாக நாம் வழமையாக சுற்றாடல் தினத்தைக் கொண்டாடுகின்றோம்.   இந்த ஒருநாளில் சுற்றாடல் குறித்த ஆர்வம் கட்டியெழுப்பப்படுகின்றது. அனைவரும் பங்கேற்கின்றனர்.  மறுநாளோ வேறு முக்கியத்துவம் மிக்க விடயங்களை நோக்கி அவர்களின் கவனம் நகர்ந்துவிடுகின்றது.  அடுத்த கட்ட அனர்த்தம் நிகழும் வரையில் அவர்களது கவனம் வேறுவிடயங்களில் இருக்கும். மீண்டுமாக ஒருவரை ஒருவர் மாறிமாறி குற்றஞ்சாட்டுதல் ஆரம்பிக்கும்.

Photo Credit: Mokshana Wijeyeratne

பிரச்சனையின் ஓர் அங்கமாகவும் தீர்வின் ஓர் அங்கமாகவும் நாம் எம்மைப் பார்க்கும் வரையில் எதுவுமே மாறப் போவதில்லை. இவ்வாறான பல விடயங்களில் நாம் தினமும் ஒரு மாற்றத்தை ஏற்படுத்த முடியும். கழிவுகள் பற்றி  அவதானம் செலுத்துவோம். எமது இல்லங்களில் தனிப்பட்ட ரீதியில் நாம் அனைவரும் கழிவுகளை உருவாக்குகின்றோம். எம்மைப் பொறுத்தவரையில் குப்பை பைக்குள் கழிவுகளைக் கொட்டி அகற்றிவிட்டவுடன் அந்தப் பிரச்சனை எமக்கில்லை. உண்மையில் கூறுவதானால் அது பொதுமக்களின் பிரச்சனையாக மாறுகின்றது. கழிவுகளை வீட்டிற்குள்ளேயே நாம்  மக்கிப் போகின்றவை எனவும் மீள்சுழற்சிக்குட்படுத்தக்கூடியவை மற்றும் எஞ்சியவை எனத் தனித்தனியே வேறுபிரிப்பதற்கான சாதாரணமான அர்ப்பணிப்பைக் காண்பிப்போமானால் அவை ஒழுங்கான முறையில் சேகரிக்கப்பட்டு அகற்றப்படுமானால் ஒட்டுமொத்த  கழிவுகளின் அளவைக் கணிசமாகக் குறைத்துக்கொள்ள முடியும். கழிவுகளில் இருந்து தயாரிக்கப்படும் உரத்தைக் கொண்டு தோட்டங்களையும் பயிர்களையும் செழிப்படையச் செய்யலாம்.

සෑම දිනයක්ම පරිසර දිනයක් විය යුත්තේ ඇයි?

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Also available in: English | தமிழ்

පරිසර කළමනාකරණය යන්න ක‍ෙතරම් අසීරු දෙයක්දැයි පසුගිය මාස හය තුළ ශ්‍රී ලංකාව ලද අත්දැකීම් තුළින්ම ‍පැහැදිලි විය. නියඟය, නාය යෑම්, කසල කඳු කඩා වැටීම්, මහා ගංවතුර ආදී විවිධාකාර සිදුවීම්වලට අප මුහුණ දුන් අතර විපතට පත් නොවූවන්ගේ අවධානය දිනා ගැනීම‍ෙන් තොරව ම එ්වා යටපත්ව ගියේ ය. සෑම අවස්ථාවකම සිදුවූ පරිදි, ජීවිත හා දේපළ හානි, දෛනික ක්‍රියාවලියට සිදු වූ බලපෑම් ආදිය විසින් මානසිකව හා ආධ්‍යාත්මිකව ක්‍ර‍මක්‍ර‍මය‍ෙන් ජීවත් වීමට අපහසු මන්දගාමී තත්ත්වයකට අප ඇද දමනු ලැබී ය.

එසේ නම්, මේ තිරසාර පාරිසරක කළමණාකරණයට අප එක් දිනයකදී පමණක් සිත් යොමන්නේ ඇයි?    සාමාන්‍යය‍ෙන් අප පරිසර දිනය සමරන්නේ නගරය වටා, ගං ඉවුරක හෝ මුහුදු ව‍ෙරළක කසළ එකතු කිරීම, නොඑසේනම් පාගමනකට හෝ එවන් ව‍ෙනත් වැඩසටහනකට සහභාගී වීම මගිනි. උනන්දුව අහවරවත්ම, “වඩාත් දැවෙන ප්‍ර‍ශ්න“ වෙනුවෙන් පසුදා උදයේම සැවොම පිය ඔසවන අතර සුපුරුදු අනෙකා මත වරද පැටවීමේ ක්‍රීඩාව ද ආරම්භ වේ.     
 

Photo Credit: Mokshana Wijeyeratne

මෙහිදී පහත ප්‍ර‍ධාන කරුණ තහවුරු කරන්නට කැමැත්තෙමි. ඒ නම්, අප සියල්ලන්ම අර්බුදයේත් විසඳුමේත් කොටස්කරුවන් බව වටහා ගන්නා තුරු කිසිවක් ව‍ෙනස් නොවනු ඇති බව ය. ම‍ෙවන් බොහෝ අර්බුදවලදී , ව‍ෙනසක් සිදු කිරීමේ හැකියාව ඇත්තේ, දිනපතාම, අපටම ය!

Why every day should be environment day?

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Also available in: සිංහල | தமிழ்

In the first 6 months of this year, Sri Lanka has experienced a number of major events that demonstrate exactly how critical managing the environment is:  Drought, landslides, a garbage avalanche, flash floods — and many other events at scales that have not caught the attention of those not affected.  The damage to lives and assets, and the disruption to routines that make us who we are psychologically and spiritually is tough to live through and slow to reverse – if it ever does. 

So why would we leave thoughts on sustainable environmental management to just one single day a year?  We typically celebrate “Environment Day” by picking up rubbish around the city or from the rivers, or the sea; or by participating in a charity walk, or a charity run, and so forth.  The excitement builds, everyone engages and the next day everyone moves on to “more pressing matters” until the next calamity, and the blame game starts all over again.

Photo Credit: Mokshana Wijeyeratne

Let me assert the following key point: Nothing will change until we all see ourselves as part of the problem and part of the solution.  For many of these issues we can make a difference, every day!

Three key policies to boost performance of South Asia’s ports

Matias Herrera Dappe's picture



In a previous blog
we related how South Asia as a whole had improved the performance of its container ports since 2000 but had still struggled to catch up with other developed and developing regions. But within that picture, some ports did better than others. 

For example, Colombo in Sri Lanka, the fast-expanding Mundra and Jawaharlal Nehru Port in India and Port Qasim in Pakistan all improved the use of their facilities in the first decade of this century.  India’s Mumbai and Tuticorin were among those that fell behind. Colombo also improved its operational performance by almost halving the share of idle time at berth, while Chittagong (Bangladesh) and Kolkata (India) had the longest vessel turnaround times in the region.

Knowing how specific ports perform and the characteristics of ports that perform well and those of ports that perform poorly helps policymakers design interventions to support underperforming ports.

In the report “Competitiveness of South Asia’s Container Ports” we identified three interrelated policies to improve the performance of the container ports, a key element in one of the world’s fast-growing regions: increasing private participation in ports, strengthening governance of port authorities and fostering competition between and within ports: 

Sri Lanka needs critical minds for critical times!

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture

Every year, May 3rd is marked around the globe as World Press Freedom Day. This year UNESCO has declared the theme “Critical Minds for Critical Times”. Recently, Sri Lanka joined the ranks of nations that have taken progressive steps in making information available to the public by unveiling its own Right to Information (RTI) law. This is an important first step for the country. Experience from different parts of the world suggests that opening up access to information is an ongoing process that requires patience and perseverance to bring the full benefits of disclosure to a large number of stakeholders including, citizens, private sector and government.

women working on computers 

The World Bank unveiled its own policy on the disclosure of information in 2002. The Bank felt compelled to do so as knowledge sharing is an integral part of its development mission.  Moreover, the Bank needed to share information in order to get a better pulse from its stakeholders on how its services were performing; how it could improve but also to serve an increasing demand for its information and data.  In 2010 this policy was revised through a series of public consultations. Even so, the document is still evolving with constant feedback from our clients and citizens from countries we serve.
 
Opening up the institution has also meant exposing our staff and projects to public scrutiny. When I joined the World Bank in 1995, it was a very different institution; most information was restricted. Our journey from a closed institution to an open one has not been easy. We have learnt that merely implementing a policy is not enough to achieve the real reason for opening up; allow people to review, analyze and make informed judgements based on concrete information and data.  But more importantly we now know better that how staff perceive the increased access and its impact is the biggest challenge and yet also an opportunity.

South Asia’s ports: Expensive and slow

Matias Herrera Dappe's picture
 
Are South Asia’s Container Ports Competitive?


Many countries, developed and developing, that want to become more competitive in global markets tend to jump to a quick conclusion that they need to invest more in infrastructure, particularly in transport sectors like ports. But while many regions, including South Asia, do face important infrastructure gaps, massive new investment is not the only way to improve regional competitiveness. Countries should realize that they also have significant potential to make more efficient use of the infrastructure they already have.
 
Building megaports all along the coast might reduce a country’s trade costs, but it also requires hundreds of millions of dollars in investment. Improving the performance of existing ports, enabling them to handle higher levels of cargo with the same facilities and in a shorter time, can be a far more cost-effective approach to reducing transport and trade costs. Closing the infrastructure gap does not just require more infrastructure, but also better infrastructure, and better use of existing infrastructure.
 
The report Competitiveness of South Asia’s Container Ports, which we launched today, provides the first comprehensive look at the 14 largest container ports in South Asia, which handle 98 percent of the region’s container traffic. It focuses on port performance, drivers, and costs. 

What do we know about South Asian ports?

Karla Gonzalez Carvajal's picture
 
 A Comprehensive Assessment of Performance, Drivers, and Costs
Cover of the upcoming report: Competitiveness of South Asia’s Container Ports : A Comprehensive Assessment of Performance, Drivers, and Costs


The World Bank is releasing its first-ever comprehensive study of container ports in South Asia, examining the competitiveness of major ports across the region and suggesting ways they can work more efficiently to boost trade.

The report, to be formally launched on April 27, examines the performance of the ports, which handle about 75 percent of the region’s trade by value, and assesses the role that the private sector, governance, and competition have played in their development.

Trade has been key to South Asia’s remarkable economic average annual growth rate of about 6.7 percent since the beginning of the century, the second-highest in the world after East Asia.

By improving the transport infrastructure, including ports, and easing bottlenecks that hinder the flow of goods, the World Bank is helping South Asia lower its high logistics costs, capture a bigger share of the global market and create more jobs, supporting its progress toward becoming a middle-income region.   
 

Happy New Year! In Sri Lanka, a time to celebrate many things – and to think

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
 Joe Qian / World Bank
A group of women in a Sri Lanka Estate. Credit: Joe Qian / World Bank

Happy New Year to all our Sri Lankan friends and colleagues celebrating the Sinhala and Tamil New Year this month; and Happy Easter to those celebrating it.

This is my first opportunity to celebrate these various holidays in my adopted country. I love the energy, the buzz of excitement everywhere and the decorations coming up in many of the commercial districts. I have been asking so many questions about the importance of the New Year holiday; and at the same time enjoying the preparations for the festivities, the anticipation of the big day as well as the serious messages.

I have learnt that the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, also known as 'Aluth Avurudda' (in Sinhala) and 'Puthandu' (in Tamil) is very important to all Sri Lankans and it celebrates the traditional Lunar New Year. It is celebrated by most Sri Lankans – a point of Unity and a Joyful occasion.

Even more importantly the holiday coincides with the New Year celebrations of many traditional calendars of South and South East Asia – a regional point of unity! Above all, this is also known as the month of prosperity.

So what does the holiday mean to you as a Sri Lankan, or maybe you are someone like me who may not be Sri Lankan but loves the country and its people?    

At the World Bank Group, promoting shared prosperity and increasing the incomes of the poorest 40 percent of people in every country we work in is part of our mission. The first goal is to end extreme poverty or reduce the share of the global population that lives in extreme poverty to 3 percent by 2030.

Women can play a greater role in realizing South Asia’s potential

Annette Dixon's picture
Mumbai Train
The suburban train system in Mumbai is used by millions of women and men everyday, who rely on safe transport to access education and job opportunities. 

Last week, I took a journey on Mumbai’s suburban train system, which carries a staggering 8 million women and men, equivalent to the entire population of Switzerland, every day to where they live, work, and spend time with family and friends. Although stretched, the system has reduced mobility constraints and increased independence for millions of women who rely on safe transport to access education and job opportunities; contributing to the city’s dynamism and growth. There are similarly inspiring examples from all countries in South Asia.

As we mark International Women’s Day, we celebrate the progress made in improving women’s inclusion and empowerment, while seeking to better address continuing challenges, which are estimated to cost South Asian economies $888 billion, through devising and implementing solutions that will bridge remaining gaps.

Much to be proud of­a lot more remains to be done

South Asian countries have seen encouraging increases in greater access and gender parity in education. At the same time, the region has achieved substantial decreases in maternal and child mortality. Countries have made great strides in healthcare access through training more female healthcare workers while providing affordable care for mothers and children. The region also boasts many inspiring female leaders and role models, as well as the countless individuals positively contributing to their communities and societies against difficult odds. 

However, much more needs to be done in order to nurture all women and men to realize their potential. As South Asian countries become more prosperous, their growth trajectory will be less assured if hundreds of millions of women remain excluded from education and employment opportunities. South Asian countries will need to substantially expand their workforce in order to meet their economic growth goals and, at the same time, adequately support their increasingly large populations. Studies show that only around 1 out of 4 women in South Asia participate in the labor force, about half of what is typical in middle-income countries in other regions. Too many women face restrictions in decision-making, mobility, public safety; and far too many experience gender-based violence—the most egregious cases making headlines around the world. What can help bridge these gaps?

The ABCs of digital jobs in South Asia

Anna O'Donnell's picture
How Can South Asia’s Youth Plug into Digital Jobs of the Future?

Over the past several years, innovations in information and communication technologies have fundamentally changed the nature of work.

This has created new opportunities in digital employment for workers and employers in South Asia and beyond.

So what are the pathways to this new employment?

During a recent Facebook live chat on digital jobs, we explored three themes related to the digital jobs of the future. First, we discussed where the digital jobs of the future are. Second, we discussed how South Asia is uniquely positioned to benefit from the growth of these jobs. And finally, we discussed how to get started in the digital economy by finding relevant training and learning opportunities.

Here’s an overview of our discussion in five points:
 
1. What are digital jobs?

Digital jobs fall into two categories: jobs within the IT or digital industries, and what are termed digital society jobs. Digital industry jobs include those such as computer programmer, mobile app developer, graphic designer and other jobs where information and communication technologies are the core tool to perform the job functions. However, technology is also changing what we call digital society jobs, where technology is maybe not core to the job functions, but makes more you more efficient and productive, and improves access to markets and networks.

2. What is driving the emergence of these new digital jobs?

The rapid rise in connectivity that is linking more and more people to the internet is changing employment. Today, many jobs can be performed through computers, with workers telecommuting from almost anywhere in the world. Many business processes are being broken down into task based work, and which can be farmed out to people with the skills to do them, anywhere the world. Some of these tasks need higher-level skills, and can pay well – especially compared with many developing countries’ wage levels. But there are also simpler tasks that many more people, even those with limited skills, can do. This mix creates the opportunity to include more people in the global digital economy, while also creating pathways towards better paying and higher quality work for those who perform well and pick up in-demand skills.

Pages