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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Oversupply of small craft detrimental to fishermen

Sunday Observer: 16/10/2005" by Elmo Leonard

There is now an oversupply of 2200 small fishing craft of the 6-7 metre FRP Fibreglass Reinforced Plastic type, stemming from ad hoc replacement of fishing craft destroyed and damaged following the December tsunami.

The error is on the part of the NGOs and aid agencies operating in tsunami hit areas in a bid to put the island's fishers back to work, according to the FAO, which is involved in financing the resurgence of the fisheries sectors across Asia.

This has put a further strain on the dwindling stocks of coastal fisheries around the island and will prove to be highly detrimental to the large number of poor fishermen who depend on coastal fisheries for their livelihood.

Director General of the Department of Fisheries, G. Piyasena said that some of the 2200 FRP boats are not yet supplied to fishermen. The Fisheries Ministry was doing all it could to limit the number of small fishing craft being "replaced" by such organisations.

The FAO which is closely monitoring the supply of new fishing craft has no plans to replace traditional and FRP outboard motor board craft.

Sri Lanka is in great need of multiday fishing craft to supply both her domestic and export needs and the FAO has agreed to support the Ministry's program for replacement of large boats, Piyasena said. The total number of fishing craft repaired to date, following damage by the Asian tsunami is 8,926. The FAO's contribution to the repair of boats, excluding that of engines and fishing gear is $1.5 million.

A situation report has just been put out by the Ministry of Fisheries and FAO, Piyasena said. The total number of multiday boats repaired is 633 of 676 damaged from a fleet of 1581 which existed prior to the tsunami.

Cey-Nor Foundation Ltd, the state run boat and fishnet manufacturing organisation had repaired 499 boats and the remaining 134 were repaired by other organisations. Of 3 1/2 tonne fishing craft, the total repaired is 759 of 783 damaged and Cey-Nor had repaired 633.

Of 6-7 metre FRP boats - 4,041 craft were restored to date, with Cey-Nor having renovated 1,368 and other organisations, 2,673.

Traditional craft restored 3,043 of which Cey-Nor had repaired half of that number.

Beach seine craft made seaworthy to date makes up 90, of which Cey-Nor had completed 40 thus far.

The total number of engines repaired to date make up 2,663 which includes inboard and outboard engines. Cey-Nor had attended to 1,091 boats and the private sector to 1,572 engines. The FAO had thus far incurred or committed to an expenditure of $1 million, a FAO spokesman said.

The highest number of fishing boat engines repaired is in the Trincomalee district, making up 216, of which 182 are the outboard types.

In the Galle district, 189 engines were restored, followed by Hambantota, 185, Ampara 160, Mullaitivu 67 (all outboard engines) Kalutara 75 Matara 61, Colombo, 41 and Gampaha 18.

The FAO has so far spent $86,000 for the procurement of outboard motor board engines. This makes up 125 of the 15 horse power (HP) (100 supplied); 260 of 9.9 HP (69 supplied); 270 of 8 hp (103 supplied).

The expenses spent or committed for fishing gear is $475,215, Piyasena said.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Sri Lanka: An enormous task but signs of progress

ReliefWeb - Document Preview: Source: The World Bank Group, Date: 21 Oct 2005

About 220,000 Sri Lankan families affected by last December's tsunami have received up to three installments of cash grants worth US$50 each, with another installment on the way soon.
These World Bank-supported cash grants, designed to help people get back on their feet and circulate money in small local economies, have so far disbursed US$33 million.
When the last installment reaches families later this year, the total will be US$40 million.
The Bank’s Country Director for Sri Lanka, Peter Harrold, says the payments are just part of the Bank’s response to help Sri Lanka rebuild after the tsunami.
Harrold says while the reconstruction process in Sri Lanka is an enormous task and has had its difficulties, there’s clear evidence now of progress on the ground.
“It’s an enormously challenging task and some proved to be very difficult indeed, but overall we’re pretty happy with the way things are going,” he says.
“Resources are getting to people and people’s lives are being put back together and the physical aspects of the country are slowly being restored. But every day you are reminded of the enormity of the challenge that the country is facing.”
“This is a country of 19 million people of whom close to a million were initially displaced. That’s as many people as were displaced in New Orleans.
There isn’t a family that wasn’t touched by it.”
The World Bank has committed up to US$150 million to help Sri Lanka.
“The country has already received US$50 million and it looks like by the end of the calendar year we will have committed most of that US$150 million and by the end of next year, most of that money will have been disbursed,” he says.
The money’s being channeled into housing reconstruction, as well as rebuilding of heath facilities, road reconstruction and logistical support.
Aside from the cash grants to the 220,000 families, the World Bank has also been handing out cash grants for housing – worth about US$2500– to allow families to repair or rebuild their homes.
Harrold says the task of rebuilding housing for affected families is immense.
“We’re talking about rebuilding between ten and twenty times as many houses that are normally built in the country in an entire year.
“The planning process, the identification of land, the consultation with communities and the matching of a beneficiary with the house they are going to occupy – this is all difficult time consuming tasks.”
Nonetheless Harrold is optimistic about the housing reconstruction effort.
“There were about 90,000 houses destroyed which left over 400,000 people needing to be rehoused.
“There are now just a few hundred families left in tents. A total of more than 50,000 temporary houses have been completed and families have moved into those. There are a similar number of families staying with friends or relatives.”
Harrold says there are 60,000 houses currently under construction or under repair. There’s another 20,000 houses which are being assigned to people, with the process of land allocation now underway.
“And literally at the end of the year everybody will know where their house is going to be. They’ll be able to see it. In many cases, they’ll be helping to build their house.
“Every family will know this is where my future home is going to be and I can see it’s just a few months away from being built.
“Housing was the biggest physical causality. If everybody knows where their house is going to be and if they can see it coming up, I think the psychological boost will be fantastic.
One issue in the reconstruction process has been the Government of Sri Lanka’s declaration of a buffer zone – a no go area rebuilding. The government declared the zone off –limits to any new structures, saying the move would protect citizens from future disasters and also would protect the coastal zone.
About 56,000 houses remain inside the buffer zone. But families who were living inside the zone had been told they’d be resettled.
Harrold – who has previously advocated a flexible approach to the buffer zone rule – says the issue had been a difficulty – but not for everyone.
“In many parts of the country resettlement is proceeding quite rapidly. For many families who’ve been through such a trauma, it’s a good solution. They don’t want to be by the sea.
“But for others, it’s different. One is that they do want to go back to where they were before. But secondly, Sri Lanka is a physically small country which is very densely populated. Twenty six percent of the population lives within a mile of the coast.
“The challenge of finding new land – close enough to where they lived before – has proved nigh on impossible in certain parts of the country.”
For that reason, he says there was the idea of modifying the buffer zone in certain areas – those which are very densely populated where land is in short supply.
The Government of Sri Lanka has now modified the buffer zone – reducing it in many areas, according to the Coastal Conservation Department’s earlier risk assessment.
Harrold says about half the families who were earlier scheduled for resettlement will now have the option of rebuilding their homes in situ, instead of moving.
He says now comes the challenge of designing appropriate programs to support those families to go back and help them build houses to higher construction standards.

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Humanitarian Situation Report - Sri Lanka: 15 - 21 Oct 2005

ReliefWeb - Document Preview -Humanitarian Situation Report - Sri Lanka: 15 - 21 Oct 2005: Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Date: 21 Oct 2005

Main challenges and response
New concerns regarding the relaxation of the buffer zone were raised at the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies weekly operational meeting on 21 October. Discussions centred on the implications for project plans and resources, beneficiary confusion, freedom of return, and equity issues. Concern was also raised about the possibility of government changing policy again especially with regard to selective buffer zone District Secretariat (DS) and Grama Sevaka (GS) areas.
OCHA's Field office in Batticaloa reports that the operational environment is characterized by almost daily security incidents. During the month of September, a total of 31 security incidents occurred throughout the district with the latest security incident injuring10 civilians and one police officer.
Coordination and common services
From 1-15 October, IOM Sri Lanka dispatched lorries 123 times to various construction sites and equipment locations around the country. Sixty-nine IOM lorries were dispatched on behalf of various agencies during the same period: 16 lorries transported medicine and medical equipment from the Colombo Medical Supplies Division to warehouses around Colombo as well as to hospitals in affected areas throughout the country for the Ministry of Health; 16 lorries transported building material to construction sites in Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara for UNHCR; 16 lorries transported fishing boats to Trincomalee and Batticaloa for Care International; 10 lorries transported cement to Matara for TAFREN; 4 lorries transported cement to Ampara for SPIR (Samaritan's Purse International Relief); 6 lorries transported GI roofing sheets to Ampara for OXFAM; and one lorry transported plastic sheets from Colombo to Ampara for GOAL.
Food security
An additional 198 projects have been approved in Galle, Hambantota and Matara, scaling up the total number of food-for-work projects in tsunami-affected areas to 444. These new food-for-work projects focus on road renovation and construction, cleaning of schools and common areas, construction of children's playgrounds and planting of coconut seedlings. From October to December 2005, WFP is planning to distribute 10,967 tonnes of mixed food commodities to some 183,000 beneficiaries under the food-for-work programme.
Students and teachers of Navalady School (Thiraimadu temporary school building) have made a complaint to the Zonal Department Education (ZDE) that the building is too hot and therefore not suitable to be used for teaching purposes. Following this complaint, the ZDE made a request to UNICEF to upgrade the building.
Schools which have been used as welfare camps (indirectly affected by the tsunami) need to be renovated. There are 75 such schools in Batticaloa district and the ZDEs have requested the donor community to come forward to help them.
Dengue alerts are ongoing in Matara district and among aid workers the OCHA Galle field office reports. Two cases of dengue have been reported by the Spanish Red Cross and Caritas International. IOM Sri Lanka is in the process of developing an information campaign aimed at delivering messages about the high tendency for an outbreak of dengue and malaria due to increased breeding sites following the seasonal rains. In Trincomalee, the Medical Health Officer with the support of IOM launched an awareness raising campaign on dengue and malaria prevention, which will be aired through the local cable TV network. This announcement will be telecast in local languages, initially for seven continuous days and then every Sunday through December 2005.
The broadcast message states: "There is potential risk for outbreaks of dengue and malaria in Trincomalee again this season. Let us protect ourselves from these diseases by destroying mosquito breeding sites such as bottles, coconut shells, polythene bags, plastic containers and other places where water can stagnate."
In Batticaloa, as part of the prevention exercise for dengue and malaria, an environmental hygiene programme has been developed by the CHSO (community health surveillance officer) to inform residents on how to destroy breeding sites for vectors of the diseases.
A teenage boy with a compound fracture was facilitated by IOM to travel to the orthopaedic clinic at Batticaloa General Hospital on 12 October. IOM also agreed to regularly provide transportation to a mother whose one-year-old baby was diagnosed with thalassaemic heart disease and must receive a monthly blood transfusion.
Additionally, a large scale shramadanaya (cleaning project) was conducted in Onthachimadam village, Batticaloa district. All beneficiaries and IOM staff took part in this cleaning project that will be the initiation of a vector control programme.
Fourteen different organisations in the psycho-social field are working in the transitional shelter site of Thiraimadu in Batticaloa. Despite the fact that the number of shelters and families amounts to over 1,000, agencies have sometimes found themselves assisting the same persons. To try to address this situation, Mangrove, a local network recently initiated a series of coordination meetings and actors are currently undertaking a joint needs assessment in order to develop a joint work plan. Mangrove has also established their first psycho-social referral desk in Vaharai division and is planning to set up similar desks in all the tsunami affected divisions.
Water and sanitation
In Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee, UNICEF has facilitated the compilation of a summary matrix identifying gaps in flood prone IDP camps, with other UN agencies and NGO partners as part of the ongoing contingency preparedness planning for floods during the monsoon season. UNICEF also conducted a lecture on the importance of proper drainage in the transitional settlements during a two-day training workshop for the field officers of TAP(Transitional Accommodation Project) supported by the Norwegian government. In Galle, assessments and preparations to improve the water and sanitation facilities in selected schools in all three districts supported by UNICEF have been completed. To improve transport facilities for water and sanitation activities, UNICEF provided three double cab trucks to the National Water Supply and Drainage Board in Galle, Matara and Hambantota districts.
In Ampara, a total of 138 water bowsers provided 1,109,050 liters of water a day for the week 10-16 October to tsunami camps by various actors.
In Kalutara, IOM WatSan engineers hired local contractors to improve facilities at the Purana Raja Maha Viharaya (PRMV) transitional housing site. On 15 October, contractors completed the rehabilitation of one well that is used as the main source of drinking water for 25 beneficiaries. Other improvements included cleaning and deepening the existing hand-dug well, constructing a water distribution system with a pump, water tank, and taps, and constructing a bathing and washing area with privacy fencing.
In Ampara district, IOM WatSan engineers analyzed quotations from 15 contractors for a Ministry of Health (MOH)-approved design for toilet construction; the bidding contractors previously worked with IOM on the transitional accommodation construction programme.
Also in Ampara, the WatSan engineers started training field assistants to conduct site assessment surveys. IOM is currently assessing WatSan gaps in the district, starting with transitional housing sites in Akkaraipattu and Pottuvil. Based on the initial stages of the assessments, WatSan engineers have identified locations needing approximately 50 toilet facilities and 10 well sites.
The Package Treatment Plant (PTP) run by Samaritan's Purse at Kittandi, Kalmunai Division, has been shutdown due to high salinity in the lagoon. The Water Board has started supplying water up to 115 cubic meters per day from Karativu water tower. Payment for the water at a subsidized rate is being considered. The issue will be raised with the GA as well as with the Water Board and TAP in Colombo for further discussion.
By the end of November, about 1100 toilets need to be completed to cover 1875 families. To date 502 toilets have been completed. The toilet construction of about 300 toilets depends on a final list from UNHCR on completion of shelter construction and assessment of number of toilets.
Non-food items and shelter
According to TAP (Transitional Accommodation Project) all transitional shelter requirements in the Galle district have been met. Out of a total of 5403, 1189 and 1691 shelters required in Galle, Matara and Hambantota respectively, 5456, 1204, and 1702 have been completed in the Galle, Matara and Hambantota districts respectively.
To date, IOM Sri Lanka has completed 4,188 transitional houses in seven tsunami-affected districts. In total, IOM has been requested to build 5,775 transitional houses for which land has been allocated for 5,445. In the first two weeks of October, IOM completed 233 houses and another 437 are currently under construction. On the care and maintenance of transitional shelters, a few camps are having termite problems, previously not flagged in the radar.
TAP further reports that there are 112 families still living in tents at two different sites in Koralai Pattu and Eravur Pattu divisions in Batticaloa.
Agencies are working on upgrading their transitional shelters to achieve the minimum standards plus to prepare for the upcoming rain period. In this respect, UNHCR has provided 203 plastic sheets to Oxfam Australia to cover the roofs of their transitional shelters. In Thiraimadu in Batticaloa, the DS has requested the respective actors to do proper upgrading as the transitional shelters will be used at least for 2 years as it seems that there is no chance for permanent housing within the next two years in Thiraimadu.
IOM's livelihood programme has directly assisted 140 beneficiaries in three districts, bringing the total number assisted through this programme to 2,324 families in five districts. The programme has also established partnerships with 12 NGOs and community-based organisations to reach a wider population of tsunami-affected persons.
During the reporting period, livelihood development officers collaborated with psychosocial officers to organise Youth Information Workshops in Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee. Over 800 youth who attended these workshops were provided with career guidance and information regarding possible vocational training institutions in their area. Their skills and interests were assessed and registered to determine what kind of training and other career development support they would require. After analyzing these assessments, the livelihood team will channel them into locally available training programmes or develop vocational training courses specific to their needs.
IOM entered into partnership with the Institute of Human Development and Training (IHDT), who started a livelihood regeneration programme for female-headed households in three divisions in Kalutara district. IHDT will be assisting 100 families in training, supporting businesses with raw materials and ongoing business development. In Matara, 34 more beneficiaries who received livelihood assistance were given Business Development and Entrepreneurship Skill Training as well as Occupational Safety Training.
As part of IOM's counter trafficking programme, in Trincomalee district, SLF staff implemented activities in Muttur, Eachchilampattu, Kinniya, Kuchchaveli divisions such as community problem-solving and empowerment, including addressing livelihood/job training, sanitation and health issues, a monitoring visit to transitional site preschools, discussions and problem-solving with the Fisheries Society and with four families to address alcohol abuse.
In Ampara, UNICEF Protection Officers provided training on child rights and the role of the District Child Protection Committee to 48 Samodhi Development Workers and student-teachers. UNICEF is establishing protection and psycho-social contingency plans for IDPs for the annual monsoon flooding in Ampara. As the annual flooding coincides with the first anniversary of the tsunami, concerns have been raised that the annual monsoon flooding will precipitate further psycho-social problems.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Tsunami belt: buffer zone contracts

Sunday Observer: 16/10/2005"

The Govt. has decided to revise the 100/200 metre buffer zone implemented for the coastal belt of tsunami affected areas following the 2004 December tsunami devastations with immediate effect.

Under this new set of rules envisaged by the Government this buffer zone has been reduced to a range between 55-25 metres in the Southern Districts and 100 to 50 metres in the North East.

Soon after the tsunami, government declared a 100/200 metres strip of land as a 'no build zone' along the coastal belt of Sri Lanka. But District Secretaries and Divisional Secretaries had requested the Government to revise this buffer zone to accommodate special projects and those involved in fisheries related activities so that they can continue their livelihoods without much difficulty.

The Urban Development Ministry on the instruction of the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse held discussions with relevant authorities including the affected families perceived that the 100/200 metre buffer zone, identified along the coastal belt could be revised under the exceptional circumstances.

Accordingly the recommended stand of the buffer zone in the Districts of Colombo, Kalutara, Galle, Matara and Hambantota has been reduced up to the minimum of 35 metres in certain Divisional Secretaries Divisions.

The 200 metre earlier buffer zone introduced in the districts of Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Jaffna has been reduced up to a minimum of 50 metres.

The full description of the recommended limit is given in the attached schedule.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The social image of the judicial system

Daily News: 18/10/2005" by Ravi Perera

"...Here are no laws, but the will of the King, and whatsoever proceeds out of his mouth is an immutable Law. Nevertherless they have certain ancient usages and customs that do prevail and are observed as Laws; and pleading them in their courts and before their governors will go a great way."

Three hundred and fifty years ago when Robert Knox made the above observations we had no Marga Institute to make a sample study to discern the public perception of the existing judicial system.

For that matter, it is unlikely that any body cared what the stakeholders thought of the laws and systems that governed them. The vast majority, maybe the King included, were illiterate.

As to the usages and customs, little was put down in writing and therefore depended very much on vague and opportunistic interpretations by those who yielded power and were answerable only to the King. But perhaps the mind-set of the average citizen of the era was such that invoking the existing legal system for him was as thrilling an experience as a devil dance to appease evil influences.

We have come a long way from the times when Knox was walking the dusty tracks of a hilly kingdom in what turned out to be its sunset years.

There is now a trained legal profession functioning with written laws, which are mainly made by an elected legislature. We have professional Judges whose tenure of office is quite secure.

They have to judge according to the law without fear or favour. In criminal cases, the accused is presumed innocent while the accuser and the judge are separate and distinct.

We have jury trials in serious criminal cases. Any party aggrieved by an order of a Court has recourse to an appellate procedure, which is very accommodating. On paper, we indeed have a very reasonable judicial system.

But for some time now many persons and institutions have been expressing their concern about the perceived deterioration of the judicial system in the country. Under financed and over burdened with work, our otherwise quite acceptable system is obviously in need of immediate corrective action if it were to maintain its usefulness to society.

The Marga institute has once again fulfilled a very necessary requirement in the process of rejuvenating the judicial system by conducting a survey of the public image of it. Its report on the "the social image of the judicial system of Sri Lanka" should be read by every stakeholder in our judicial process.

The findings of the survey are often disturbing and most times unflattering to our judicial system. Even leaving a margin for the obvious fact that any order of a Court of law is bound to leave one party in a dispute unhappy, the reader of the report is yet made to wonder why a system apparently sound on paper has so few friends.

Of the persons surveyed 32.64% thought that the performance of the judicial system was poor while 41% marked it average.

As to the degree of trust in judges, 60% had only a moderate degree of trust in them while 11% had a low level of trust in the judges. It was also felt by those surveyed that the Courts do not resist pressure from outside forces uniformally. Even the compatibility of our Judges with the modern world was challenged.

Of those questioned only 3.5% thought our judges' very modern while about 40% thought they were very backward. For a system run by professionals this public perception of its workings is not something to be proud of.

It is also clear from this report that some of the services such as police, prisons and court staff, which are ancillary to judicial work, have very little public trust. Unless these services are modernized and made less corrupt it is impossible for the judiciary to deliver what is expected of it.

A judicial system does not lend itself to easy evaluation. By the very nature of its work a modern judicial system is called upon to do opposite and contradictory things at the same time. The litigants expect it to be both thorough and expeditious.

We call upon the courts to be firm with lawbreakers while also being merciful. The judicial systems are expected to respect conventions but also to move forward with the times. And unlike professions like engineers, architects and accountants a judicial system is always grappling with human situations with all the ensuing frailties and vagueness seeping into the system.

To illustrate a sadly not uncommon situation in a court it is reported that a dialogue between a judge and an accused person went thus; Judge "How can you say that you did not steal the wheelbarrow when three witnesses say they saw you take it away?" The accused responded "Your honor that means nothing. I can produce ten who did not see me taking it away!"

But nevertheless, we cannot ignore the obvious decline of the public image of the judiciary in this country. The general dissatisfaction with this predominantly professional arm of the State is too widespread to be lightly dismissed. Maybe a paradox exists here too. While we want our judiciary to be in tune with the rest of society, in morals, intelligence, standards, sophistication and capability we expect it to be our superior.

There is an apt quote in the Marga Report, which is from a World Bank legal review " ... a high quality judiciary is indispensable to a well-functioning social order".

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

100 metre Tsunami "buffer zone" revised

BBC: 14/10/2005"

The government of Sri Lanka had decided to revise the implementation of the construction ban within 100/200 metre buffer zone. The restriction was introduced after the tsunami.

The revision of this controversial ban comes just weeks before the presidential elections. Many fisherman families protested against the ban saying the restriction was destroying their livelihood.

Under the new rules, in the Southern Districts, the buffer zone had been reduced to 25 - 55 metres.

Some analysts believe the buffer zone was becoming a potent election issue in the deep South.

In a statement issued by the Government Information Department says, The Urban Development Ministry on the instruction of the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse held discussions with relevant authorities including affected families."

In a recent report a campaign group, Tourism concern accused the authorities for giving priority to large scale tourism development projects in the guise of tsunami relief while ignoring the needs of the local population.

The 200 metre buffer zones introduced in the districts of Amapara, Batticaloa and Jaffna had been reduced up to a minimum of 50 metres.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Lanka adopts strategies to ensure energy security

Daily News: 13/10/2005" BY HIRAN H. Senewiratne

SRI LANKA'S economic and social development is extensively dependent on the provision of energy services. Continuous supply of these energy services is heavily linked to ensuring energy security both in the short term as well as in the medium to long term, Director General, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka Prof. Priyantha Wijayatunga said.

"Energy security comes in two distinct forms that deals with securing the continuity of supply at all times and the other involves with ensuring that the price at which the energy sources are procured is affordable to the country's economy," Prof. Wijayatunga told the SAARC Energy Ministers' Forum held in Pakistan recently.

He said that Sri Lanka being an importer of all its fossil fuel requirements which form the basis of about 85% of the country's entire commercial energy supply is vulnerable in both these aspects of energy security.

On the other hand the major advantage it possesses is that approximately 50% of its primary energy requirements are based on non-commercial energy or biomass and about 8% is based on hydropower resources, he said.

At present energy consumption levels are only 42% of the primary energy supplies are exposed to factors beyond Sri Lanka's control.

But in the future this situation will change to the disadvantage of the country with rapid increase in the use of petroleum fuels and addition of coal into the primary energy equation, he said.

He said that the draft Energy Policy and Strategies of Sri Lanka has proposed many strategies to ensure energy security in the country.

According to Prof. Wijayatunga the draft proposals have been considered many aspects including the introduction of fuel diversity in electricity generation through diversifying into non-oil generation technologies, e-transport sector through transport systems based on electricity and other non-oil fuels, promotion of regional cooperation in the energy sector in different forms.

This also includes establishing a cross-boarder energy transfer links with neighbouring countries, introduction of energy industry reforms with the participation of the State and private sector partnership.

He also said that clear separation of policy-making, regulation and operation of the energy industry to ensure transparency and accountability and to provide comfort to the investors in the energy industry.

In addition to the above, special attention will be paid to the development of the renewable energy sources such as wind power and biomass based electricity generation, which are largely untapped resources at present.

Faster exploitation of remaining hydropower potential both at small-scale as well as medium-scale in collaboration with the private sector to maintain a strategic share of commercial energy supplies based on indigenous sources.

Prof. Wijayatunga said the importance of encouraging energy conservation at all levels from supply to end-user with the escalating of energy cost.

Vigorous implementation of the oil and gas exploration proposals in order to ensure that these resources are exploited at an early stage of economic development when the country is more vulnerable to externalities, he said.

Many of these suggestions have been made in the Regional Energy Security study carried out with the assistance of the USAID funded South Asia Regional Initiative on Energy (SARI/Energy). The recommendations of this study was presented to the meeting by Prof. Wijayatunga.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Water & Poverty

Water and Poverty:
Pro-Poor Intervention Strategies in Irrigated Agriculture in Asia (IWMI-ADB Project)

The project on “Pro-Poor Intervention Strategies in Irrigated Agriculture in Asia” is being undertaken by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), with financial support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) under its program on Agriculture and Natural Resources Research at CGIAR Centers. It is a multi-country project with case studies in six developing member countries (DMCs) of ADB: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam. The main objective of this project is to determine realistic options for increasing returns to poor farmers through improving the overall performance of established medium and large-scale surface irrigation systems (canals). Case studies under the project was carried out in collaboration with national research and development organizations and agencies in the participating countries.

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Does Irrigation Impact Poverty ?

"The country studies clearly showed that the incidence and severity of poverty are significantly high in settings where land and water distribution are inequitable, irrigation infrastructure is poorly managed and farmers' access to production enhancing technologies and support measures is very limited. Where these factors are favorable, the incidence of poverty is low"
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Factors that determine the poverty-reduction impact of irrigation

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Impact Assesment of Irrigation Infrastucure Development on poverty Alliviation (IWMI-JBIC Project)

The study on “Impact Assessment of Irrigation Infrastructure Development on Poverty Alleviation” was carried out by the International Water Management Institute and JBIC Institute. The overall goal of the study is to develop an in-depth understanding of income dynamics in relation to access to irrigation water and to comprehensively evaluate the impact of irrigation infrastructure on poverty. Irrigation systems in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, where JBIC has funded their development/ improvements/ rehabilitation were selected as study areas.

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Other IWMI Projects

International Water Management Institute has carried out many other studies related to water and poverty

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