On June 27th, SANDEE launched its 30th Research and Training workshop in Negombo, Sri Lanka with a panel discussion on environment and development in Sri Lanka. The panellists were Prof. Hennayake, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Peradeniya, Dr Sanjay Rathnayake, Director, Environmental Pollution, Central Environmental Authority, Dr Athula Senaratne, Head, Environmental Economics Policy Research at IPS, and Ms. Neelima Khetan, Director - CSR & Sustainability at Coca-Cola, India and South West Asia.
Dr. Hennayake presented a broad picture of the many environmental challenges faced in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's green cover is increasing. However, so is pollution - not just from industries, but from agriculture as well. The recent rise in chronic kidney diseass among farmers is a huge concern as it may be environment, or, specifically, water pollution, related. Dr Rathnayake underscored this concern about the connections between pollution and health. He pointed to the need for stronger research-policy interactions, particularly as they relate to problems of water pollution, solid waste management, air pollution and climate change. Dr Senaratne discussed Sri Lanka's National Adaptation plan. He spoke about the need for Climate Information Products to reduce uncertainties associated with climate risks. Increasing the supply of these public goods will require strengthening the capacity of Sri Lanka's Meteorological Department. Ms. Khetan deliberated on the interest of corporates in CSR and sustainability. She clarified that sustainability for corporations relates to minimising their own impacts on the environment, while CSR is what companies do outside their business. She spoke about the CSR bill in India, which advises Indian corporates to spend 2% of their revenue on CSR activities. The voluntary sector is changing and is becoming more interested in and dependent on the corporate sector. This raises new challenges for financing sustainable development and underscores the need for dialogue between different stakeholders in the coming years.
SANDEE's mission is to strengthen the capacity of individuals and institutions to undertake research on the inter-linkages among economic development, poverty, and environmental changeand to disseminate practical information that can be applied to development policies.
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