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Sri Lanka Civil Society Statement

Sri Lanka Civil Society Statement

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Published by: rightsnow on Jun 14, 2012
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Sri Lanka Civil Society Statement 
RIO+ 20
United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development 
 June 2012
Based on the civil society dialogue held on 17,18 May 2012, in Negombo Sri Lanka
ll the nations once again will meet in Rio de Janeiro inJune 2012 to discuss the uture o the world and thevery survival o the humankind. However, in general nonation has a success story to share other than so calledgrowth and increase o per capita income which is based on theover exploitation o the natural resources.
Most o the agreements made during the United Nations Conerenceon Environment and Development held in 1992 in the city o Riowere not successully implemented during the past two decades. Asa result world is acing a bigger environmental crisis, economic crisisand a social crisis which represent the three llers o the sustainabledevelopment. Today we are acing a Water crisis, climate crisis, oodcrisis, and energy crisis that lead to the social crisis appears as the civ-il wars in many parts o the world. There are many other wars due tothe intervention o the rich nations in order to looting oil and mineralresources owned by the poorer nations.At the International level, we see the ailure to reach targets agreedupon is the main issue. This is mainly because in conventional geo-political games o rich and bigger countries, they are not willing toaddress the root causes i.e. over consumption instead the rich na-tions engage in deception and trickery o poor countries. Despite therhetoric, the bottom-line is reusal to change liestyles and levels o consumption by the rich countries. As we have learned the politicalleadership is not ready to tell their people that they must change andcut down resources consumption, due to the ear o loosing power.Meanwhile we cannot orget that most rich countries have unullledpledges regarding development aid, which is blocking the poorercountries addressing their poverty issues.Growing disputes among the religious groups are aggravating in theworld. Disregard o religious teachings and the lack o involvemento the Religious leaders in managing the world especially promotingsustainable development and peace building is a lost opportunity.
“Religious leaders areplaying a very importantrole in peace building,natural resources man-agement and awarenessbuilding. Rio + 20 mustbring religious leadersor decision-making.”
Ven Madampagama Assaji Tero
“Civil society should be able to engage in decision making beyond just voting.Free and are election is just part o the democracy. Meanwhile independ-ence in Judiciary is important. Right to organize and right to oppose is a civilsociety right too. It is not enough to oppose via political parties. Civil society should be able to question the development paradigm o the regime and evenrequest budget allocation based on public requirements. Access to such in-ormation is a undeniable while civil society should eel zero corruption”.
 Dharmasiri Lankapaeli, Journalist,
“According to the unrecorded estimate around 100,000 peoplein the North central province are suering rom a unidenti-fed Chronic Kidney disease unidentifed etiology (CKDU).While more than 20,000 have died in the recent years about22000 are in the death row.Unless we pay proper attentionthere will be zero population in the agriculture areas in theDry Zone.
 A farmer leader 
Business sector alsoace many problemsthese days especially the small businesses.All businesses thebaseline is profts. Butwe should considerless profts in a sus-tainable world. ”
 Nelson Nagasinghe, Businessman
Current social political situation is Sri Lanka was evolved though a300 year colonization. Although the current state has some problemsit has been developed as part o the independent struggle againstthe British colonial regime. Somehow there was no harmonizationin the Sri Lankan society due to the religious, language, class andcast barriers. Hartal in 1953, language struggle in 1958, 1971 youthup rise, 1983 black July, 1988-89 second youth up rise are unorget-table. When talking on sustainable development we cannot orgetthat Sri Lanka was the centre or a civil conict over three decades.While this war afected millions o lives across the nation, we havelost over estimated 80,000 – 100,000 people in Sri Lanka mostly romthe North and Eastern and adjoining provinces. Over 300,000 peoplewere displaced. There is no assessment to the environmental andsocial cost o this civil conict.According to the Statistics Sri Lanka is a low Middle-income country.However, poverty is still a big issue and about 23% o the popula-tion lives below the 1.25 USD poverty line. Growing disparity amongthe Sri Lankan society is visible while it is slowly moving towards amiddle-income country.We need to posed the question o whether we have a democraticeconomic status as the income disparity is so high; lowest income10% get only 2% rom the national economy, while highest 10%get 38% o the national economy. Lack o inclusiveness o the poor,youth and women in the development is a growing injustice in thesociety.Sri Lanka is one o the South Asian Country to meet the MillenniumDevelopment Goals (MDGs) such as water, sanitation, and in theeducation sectors. Thanks to the socialistic policies o the regimesruled since the independence, Sri Lankans still enjoy ree educationand ree health. However, the open economic policies adopted bythe Government o Sri Lanka in 1977 lead to the social hardships andsocial disparity and exclusion.

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