While the topic of tobacco control is mentioned in some of the main presidential candidates’ manifestos, it is uncertain whether they will honour the commitment made in 2017 to ban tobacco cultivation by next year. Since two third of the transition period of the proposed cultivation ban has already lapsed, it is unclear whether the shift from tobacco will be achieved by the end of 2020. Another concern is whether the 2019 presidential election will be an opportunity for lobby groups to convince policymakers to reverse the proposed ban. In such an uncertain policy environment, this blog examines the possibility of switching to alternative crops.
Rapid population growth has put tremendous pressure on the world’s agricultural systems to provide safe and nutritious food to all. Unfortunately, productivity growth has been hampered by land and water resources degradation and climate change. As it stands, emerging technologies of the 4IR can overcome the structural weaknesses of the current food systems and deliver more productive, competitive, and sustainable outcomes. This blog examines the ways in which such technologies can revolutionise the agriculture sector in Sri Lanka.
If current marine plastic pollution trends continue, the ocean will contain more plastic than fish by 2050, predicts the World Economic Forum. In 2016, South Asia generated 26 million tonnes of plastic waste and unsurprisingly this has led to the creation of a “dead zone” – an area where oxygen levels are too low to sustain marine life – in the Bay of Bengal. Dinushka Paranavitana argues that the solution to the rising problem of land-based marine plastic pollution in Sri Lanka is a combined force of banning single-use plastics, proper waste management, and the use of sustainable ecofriendly alternatives.
Sri Lanka was ranked as the second most affected country by the impacts of weather-related losses in 2017, according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2019. Worryingly, the country’s situation has worsened since 2016. This highlights Sri Lanka’s vulnerability to climate impacts and the need for effective policies. The good news is that the 2019 Budget proposes several measures to improve Sri Lanka’s disaster resilience. In this blog, Kanchana Wickramasinghe discusses the challenges and gaps in disaster management and the ways in which Sri Lanka can improve its capacity to face these calamities.
It has become apparent that natural disasters have a gender aspect, where women are often affected more severely than men. A woman’s pre-disaster familial responsibilities are magnified and expanded by a disaster, often with significantly less support and resources. The author argues that, given that women are often in a disadvantaged position in many contexts, the promotion of gender equality implies that attention need to be paid to female empowerment in disaster management.