Field : Climate Change Adaptation

Challenges & Issues in Climate Change  -“How vulnerable Sri Lanka as a small island country”

Sri Lanka has a tropical climate because of its location between 6 and 10 degrees north of equator. The island is exposed to moisture-laden winds from the southwest and the north –east but despite this favorable position, Sri Lanka has extensive areas of water deficit. A greater part of the country at times experiences dry spells extending over several months in recent years due to changes in climatic conditions.  Sri Lanka suffers almost annually from droughts and floods. Cyclones and landslides are problems directly related to water resources. Sri Lanka is a country which has an average annual rainfall of more than 2000 mm. However the problem is the rainfall variability in Sri Lanka is second highest among Asia-pacific countries. The country is finding it increasing difficult to supply water to the growing urban centers. Sri Lanka’s biggest challenge is to make use of high seasonal rainfall which even in the dry zone stand at 1000 mm and its extensive resource of inland water bodies. This research project will look into the nature and extent of Sri Lanka’s changing climate situation as a small island and what we have learned from global  climate variability and  changes as a  small island country


 

Field : Women’s Studies

Gender and Power Politics- “A case study on Women & Grass root Democracy in Sri Lanka”

Background

Sri Lanka is one of the most backward democratic countries in the world when it comes to providing the opportunities for women to participate in local government. There are only 77 women elected out of the 3902 members local Councils. The fact that women, who make up 52 per cent of the population of the island, represent  only 1.97 per cent of overall local government in stark contrast to the rest of South Asia. In neighboring India and Pakistan, females represent 33 per cent of local government; in Bangladesh 30 per cent of local government representatives are women while the figure for Nepal is 20 per cent. The paradoxical situation is that Sri Lanka has the Asia’s best statistics for women in many areas such as literacy, health, life expectancy and women have held the highest political status as President and the Prime Ministers. Sri Lanka is the first country in the whole of Asian region to win political rights and women had the right to vote 70 years ago. In addition, the breakdown of law and order, the rise in crime and violence during the election periods, corruption, and the flagrant abuse and misuse of political power for personal advantage all contribute to make Sri Lanka one of the  world’s most violent and undemocratic place for women to engage in politics. Initiatives taken by political parties, NGOs, women’s associations and other civil society organizations to increase women’s participation in local elections and for educating women voters have been marginal so far. However, in all types of elections polling has been high in and the turn out of female and male voters has been almost the same. Thus a need for special efforts to increase the participation of women in voting itself does not seem to exist.  Almost all political parties in the country have their women’s wings and the membership is given a basic political education by the party. But these programs do not aim particularly to increase women’s participation in local elections. A few women NGO’s, in some parts  the country have launched program to increase female participation in all aspects of political activity and have also taken up issues such as prevention of violence at elections.