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British Council report highlights urgent need to include young people in climate change policy

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*75 percent of young people around the world report having skills to deal with climate change in their communities – but 69 percent have never participated in climate action.

*Concern that voices of women and minority groups overlooked in current climate change policy.

*67 percent of young people feel leaders cannot address climate change alone. Consistent call for young people to be included in policy decisions

Young people around the world unanimously consider climate change to be the biggest threat facing the planet but many struggle to engage in meaningful action and have their voices heard, a British Council report published recently (on 9th September) has revealed.

The Global Youth Letter Report used a mixed methodology approach including crowdsourcing to garner the views, experiences and aspirations of 8,000 young people aged 18-35 across 23 countries – including Brazil, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka and the UK – about their perspectives on climate change. It found a strong, unanimous voice of young people on climate change across all 23 countries.

This research is part of the British Council’s Climate Connection programme, which aims to bring people around the world together to address the challenges of climate change. Research for the report was carried out between January and March 2021.

The findings from the report have been used to write a Global Youth Letter, a plan of action setting out young people’s aspirations and recommendations around climate change. The letter directly addresses the policymakers and world leaders who will attend the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November.

25 percent of the young people surveyed globally, came from rural areas, which can be harder to reach, and 75 percent from urban areas. 55 percent of respondents were female. The report also heard from traditionally overlooked groups such as young people with disabilities, and those belonging to minority groups and indigenous communities.

67 percent of young people felt that their country leaders could not address climate change on their own. They raised concerns that the voices of women and minority groups were not reflected in current climate change policy.

The report found a consistent call for young people to be included in policy decisions. Young people felt that their involvement would ensure more innovative ideas for tackling climate change and would have a wider, more effective reach. The findings emphasised a clear need for policymakers to channel the passion and enthusiasm of young people in more practical and structured ways.

The report found that whilst young people are willing and keen to make meaningful contributions, many lack the opportunities to do so. 75 percent of young people reported that they had the skills to deal with climate issues in their communities and 63 percent said that they knew about the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). However, 69 percent said they had never participated in climate change action.

Some of the barriers to youth participation in climate action include limited digital access, hierarchical social cultures that exclude young people, and a lack of access to training and skills development.

The report also highlighted the role and potential of digital channels as a tool for young people to tackle climate change, although acknowledged that the ‘digital divide’ that sees some people excluded from accessing the internet must be taken into consideration.

Young people unanimously viewed social media as an important platform to share messages about climate change with their peers, countering disinformation and influencing those around them. For young people in remote areas without internet access, television and radio can provide them with information about climate change instead.

Young people are encouraged to sign the letter and pledge to tackle climate change, adding their own recommendations to be considered. The letter can be signed here: www.britishcouncil.org/climate-connection/get-involved/global-youth-letter

The Global Youth Letter was launched at a virtual event recently (on 9th September). Insights from the Global Youth Letter will inform ongoing discussions with policymakers in the run up to and during COP26.

The Global Youth Letter includes youth voices from Sri Lanka extracted from the ‘Perceptions of Young People on Climate Change and Action’ research study that was conducted with over 1000 respondents. In relation to youth perceptions, youth in Sri Lanka are generally aware of climate change but the majority does not have a technical understanding and detailed knowledge of it.

There is a significant interest among youth to learn more about climate change, and the majority believes to some degree that their opinions and actions on climate change will matter in the future. When it comes to making this change and engaging in climate action, emphasis was placed on education and showcasing successful practices as a tangible way to inspire and facilitate action. Sri Lanka’s youth believe in collective action for climate change and see it as a public responsibility, not an individual issue, highlighting the need for systemic changes and large-scale actions.

In both urban and rural contexts lack of access to knowledge resources, lack of tutoring and low engagement with government action were highlighted as barriers for youth engagement.

The UK will host COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, from 1 to 12 November. The British Council is supporting the UK government’s ambition for COP26 to be the most inclusive ever by using its global networks to inspire millions of people around the world to take action against climate change.



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Explanation sought over Monetary Board Secy.’s sudden transfer

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Rohini calls for social media campaign against govt. move

By Shamindra Ferdinando

 The Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) has sought an explanation from the government over the sudden removal of the Secretary to the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, K.M.A.N. Daulagala on16 Sept.

Matale District lawmaker Rohini Kaviratne yesterday (19) questioned the rationale behind Assistant Governor Daulagala’s removal. The former UNP MP emphasised that Daulagala had played a critically important role in the Central Bank’s response in the wake of Treasury bond scams perpetrated in 2015 and 2016. Therefore, her removal was quite suspicious and might facilitate efforts to suppress those scams as well as future frauds as well.

MP Kaviratne represented the UNP during Ranil Wickremesinghe’s tenure as the Prime Minister (2015-2019).

Declaring that Daulagaha had been at the forefront of the efforts to create a clean administration, Kaviratne stressed that she was second only to Rohini Nanayakkara of the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) and earned the respect of all for courageously taking a stand against fraudulent practices.

The SJB spokesperson said that Daulagala, in her capacity as the head of the non-banking sector financial institutions, handled the ETI investigation at the onset (2010-2012) of the probe. In the wake of her recommendations pertaining to the ETI being rejected by the Central Bank, she received a transfer to another section, MP Kaviratne said.

The Monetary Board is responsible for making all policy decisions related to the management, operation and administration of the Central Bank. It comprises Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Finance Secretary S.R. Attygalle, Sanjeeva Jayawardena, PC, Dr (Mrs) Ranee Jaymaha and Samantha Kumarasinghe.

Cabraal, who served as the Governor (2006-2014) recently replaced W.D. Lakshman on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s request.

Kaviratne asked who had benefited from the removal of the Secretary to the Monetary Board?

MP Kaviratne said that Daulagala had been involved in the internal process following the first Treasury bond scam and the subsequent developments, including the coordination between the Central Bank and the Attorney General’s Department pertaining to the Treasury bond scams. Urging women’s organsations, civil society and law abiding citizens to take up Daulagala’s removal through social media, lawmaker Kaviratne said that the issue at hand should receive attention of the parliament.

“The Parliament is responsible for public finance. The Parliament cannot turn a blind eye to what is going on in the Central Bank. The national economy is in such a perilous state every effort should be made to investigate past frauds and thwart future adventures,” the MP said.

MP Kaviratne also recalled the role played by Deepa Seneviratne, Superintendent of Public Debt at the time of the first Treasury bond scam in exposing the then Governor’s culpability. “Unfortunately, we seem to be unable to change the direction regardless of exposure of past misdeeds,” she said.

Declaring that she had no intention of protecting any wrongdoer under any circumstances, MP Kaviratne said that the incumbent government should ensure transparency and accountability in public finance.

Examination of COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises), COPA (Committee on Public Accounts) and COPF (Committee on Public Finance) proceedings revealed a frightening picture, lawmaker Kaviratne said. Shocking revelations made by the watchdog committee should be examined against the backdrop of overall deterioration of the national economy over the past several years, the MP said.

She said that it would be a grave mistake on the government’s part to blame the current crisis on the raging Covid-19 epidemic. Acknowledging the difficulties caused by the economic downturn, MP Kaviratne said that the country was paying a huge price for unbridled waste, corruption, irregularities and negligence.

The MP asserted that the citizenry could play a bigger role in a political campaign on social media. The vast majority of those who use social media strengthened democratic opposition, she said. Removal of Daulagala could be a rallying point, she said, urging public onslaught on the SLPP government.

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Those responsible for Easter carnage will be haunted eternally – Bishop Galle

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Text and pictures by PRIYAN DE SILVA

The Chief Celebrant of the 114th annual feast of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Matara, Bishop of the Diocese of Galle, Rev. Dr. Raymond Wickremasinghe told a virtual congregation that the conscience of those responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage would never be at peace and it would haunt them eternally.

 The celebrations of the 114th annual Feast of the National shrine of Our Lady of Matara commenced on 05 September with the raising of the flagstaff and ended on Sunday 12 September. This year’s feast was held in keeping with strict health guidelines sans public participation.

 Rev Dr. Wickremasinghe reiterated that it was the wish of the general public, especially all Christians that those who carried out and those masterminded and those who knew but did not prevent the Easter Sunday carnage would be exposed and Justice served. “It is our prayer that the divine father guides the authorities in their endeavours” the Bishop added

 Rev. Wickremesinghe also called upon every person including decision-makers to heed the advice of the experts and act intelligently to overcome the pandemic.

 The Marian procession carrying the miraculous statue of our lady of Matara. accompanied by clergy and security personnel paraded the town, concluding this year’s festivities.

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Wild jumbos destroy houses in search of newly harvested paddy

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BY CYRIL WIMALASURENDRE

KANDY— Herds of wild elephants raid Ududumbara and Minipe area sdestroying houses in search of newly harvested paddy.

Farmers of Minipe, Hasalaka and Udadumbara keep paddy in their houses as they are without proper storage facilities.

Kandy District Secretary Chandana Tennakoon visited the house of a farmer destroyed by elepheants in Kongahaela, Hasalaka.

The victim informed the District Secretary Tennakoon that a herd of elephants including young ones were roaming had attacked his house.

Similar complaints were made to the District Secretary by farmers at Minipe, Hasalaka, Welgala, Ulpathagama and Udunuwara.

The farmers said at least they should be provided with an adequate number of elephant crackers to scare the elephants away. The farmers had to travel about 30 km to the Randenigala Wildlife Office office to receive one cracker each, they said, adding that they needed many more.

District secretary Tennakoon told the farmers that steps would be taken to resolve the issue this year by putting up an elephant  fence around the affected villages of Ududumbara, Medsadumbara, Minipe and Hasalaka sector.

The project would cost about Rs. 100 million. The length of the fence would be about 43 km, he said.

Divisional Secretary of Minipe Nuwan Hemachandra and Deputy Director of Plan Implementation Palitha Rajapakse were present.

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