» 06/14/2012, 00.00
Rio +20, Sri Lanka focuses on work, youth and environmental protection
Melani Manel Perera
Presented the national program that will bring civil society and NGOs to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio de Janeiro, 20-22 June 2012). To emerge from the global crisis, we must return to putting human being at the center. The richest countries must reduce consumption of resources.
Colombo (AsiaNews) - Creating new job opportunities for young people, respecting the environment and enhancing women's role, to emerge from the global crisis while respecting the human being: these are the qualities that civil society and NGOs in Sri Lanka will bring to the Conference of Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro (Rio +20, 20-22 June). Gathered under the name Civil Society Concerns, civil society organizations and 33 NGOs have organized a press conference to explain their program. Representatives of various organizations examined the status of Sri Lanka, then expanded on the world situation. Rio +20 is the result of the historic United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in 1992 in the same Brazilian city.
Despite the problems caused by three centuries of British colonization, the socio-political situation in Sri Lanka has evolved quickly. However, the country has never managed to find an inner balance, due to religious, language, class and caste barriers. Added to this 30 years of civil war. "The conflict - says Civil Society Concerns - has affected millions of people across the nation. We had between 80 thousand and 100 thousand victims, especially in the northeastern provinces, over 300 thousand refugees."
Although Sri Lanka is now considered a lower middle income country, poverty is still a serious problem and about 23% of the population lives below the poverty line (1.25 U.S. dollars). And the lack of involvement of the poor, women and young people does not help Sri Lankan society evolve. In addition, note activists, the state also faces a serious environmental problem. "Most economic development programs - states well-known environmentalist Sajeewa Chamikara - do not follow the environmental laws." This is putting at risk not only the natural beauty of Sri Lanka, but also "its very development."
Even internationally, the situation looks very different, as explained by Thilak Kariawasam, President of Sri Lanka Nature Group: "A big part of the agreements made 20 years ago have not been implemented successfully. The result we see today: the world is facing a larger environmental, economic and social crisis than ever before. "
According to Herman Kumara, president of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) and special invetee of the World Forum for Fisher People (WFFP), the failure of the agreements "are the fault of the biggest and richest countries, who are playing geopolitical games and are not willing to go the root of problems. Beyond the rhetoric, these nations are not ready to tell their peoples that we must change and make sacrifices, for fear of losing power. "
10/02/2014 SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka, one Christians’ commitment to safeguarding nature to save minorities
Dilmah Conservation, an association that deals with sustainable development sets a new goal. Founded as an offshoot of one of the largest tea brands in the country, the foundation has organized a "two day campaign" to raise awareness among children and adults. The founder, a Catholic, affirms: "As Christians we have a responsibility to protect the environment and people".
08/11/2014 SRI LANKA
Mudslide in Sri Lanka, the State "knew, but did not warn the people"
Rev. Marimuttu Sathivel, an Anglican priest and member of the Christian Solidarity Movement (CSM) claims authorities were warned of possible disaster in which hundreds of people died, buried alive in their homes. But no one ordered to evacuate the area.
16/05/2014 SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka's government wants to sell off water resources to western multinationals
The Centre for Environmental and Nature Studies (CENS) denounces project approved by the Cabinet. The plan will be financed by the World Bank with a loan of 110 million US dollars, pushing the authorities to privatize the island’s water resources.
15/02/2012 SRI LANKA
A photography course to protect Sri Lanka’s environment
Theoretical and practical lessons aimed at 10 Sinhalese and Tamil boys and girls between 18 and 28. An environmental organization and two former professional photographers have organized the course to educate young people about nature conservation.
13/08/2011 SRI LANKA
Arsenic, mercury and cyanide in crops: farmers and environmentalists sound alarm
Used in north-central province, causing chronic kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, children can be born cyanotic, already dead or without a limb. Over the past 20 years, at least 20 thousand poor farmers have died of kidney complications, many suffer from similar diseases.
"I, a Muslim who converted to Christianity, rejected by family and society"
Speaking to AsiaNews, Anil Gomes (not his real name for security reasons) explains that he converted to Christianity after reading a passage from the New Testament. Since then he has lost every job. His body shows the wounds from assaults and murder attempts. "I cannot maintain my family. Pray for me".
CHINA - VATICAN
Rethinking China-Vatican accords (with a touch of irony)
Il prete eremita del Nord (华北的山人神父)
There are various discrepancies in discussions on relations between China and the Holy See. Despite the fact that there is still no public agreement, many commentators hotly discuss it as if it were common gossip. Even the bishops are often reduced to mere puppets; the lack of mutual trust between the two parties; the Taiwan issue: these are some of the problems outlined by the informed author, who calls himself "the hermit priest of the North" and is a very famous priest-blogger in China.
25/08/2016 CHINA - VATICAN
25/08/2016 SYRIA - TURKEY
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.