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The British Council launches compelling report – ‘Young People on Climate Change: A Perception Survey’



From left to right: Maarya Rehman – Country Director, British Council Sri Lanka, Malin Herwig – Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Sri Lanka and Anoka Abeyratne- Climate Lead for Royal Commonwealth Society

overwhelming 66% of participants agreed that climate change will be the biggest threat to Sri Lanka in the coming years

Notably six out of ten people in rural Sri Lanka think that climate change will be the biggest impending risk

Encouraging to know that 70% of the youth participants believe they can play the role of an awareness agent on climate change

Over 24% of the youth considered less or no access to knowledge resources as the biggest challenge with another staggering 62.5% not having access to affordable capacity building resources on climate action

Young people aged 18-35 years are among the most vulnerable groups to climate change impacts, particularly in developing countries like Sri Lanka. Seeing as young people are also the future leaders and decision-makers whose attitudes and actions will prove decisive for how the world addresses climate change mitigation and adaptation, it is critical to get a deeper understanding of their perceptions and understanding of climate change and action.

To understand the perceptions of young people in Sri Lanka on climate change and potential action to combat it, the British Council conducted an extensive survey with a respondent base of 1000 youth aged between 18-25 as well as 10 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with youth aged between 26-35 and interviewed over 25 policy makers, climate youth leaders, and other key stakeholders. British Council Research, Evaluation, and Monitoring Unit (REMU), South Asia together with SLYCAN Trust led on the research study.

The research report was formally launched on the 28 and 29 October, at a two-day Youth in Climate Action Virtual Conference hosted by the British Council, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka. The event was successfully concluded with valuable contributions made by the Ministries of Environment, Youth and Sports, Wildlife and Forest Conservation and Regional Corporation as well as Lisa Whanstall, , British Deputy High Commissioner, Sri Lanka, the UNDP Global Youth Program Manager together with the active participation of young people advocating for climate action. The virtual conference will serve as a much-needed platform and agency for setting up dialogue and conversation between key stakeholders, leading to recommendations and ideas for future, whilst discussing how young people can effectively contribute to climate action priorities set out by Government of Sri Lanka, UK and COP26.

“Action and innovation to address climate change is so important and harder to do than simple talking or tweeting about it. I hope to see real measurable action happening post conference, for us and for the future.” shared Anoka Abeyrathne, Climate Lead for Royal Commonwealth Society, who delivered the inspirational keynote session.

The 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, through arts and culture, education and the English language. The conference came ahead of United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland from 1 – 12 November 2021, with the UK presiding as the Summit’s President.

Commenting on the collaboration, Malin Herwig, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Sri Lanka stated, ‘COVID-19 has made people, the world over, experience the fragility of life on earth. Through UNDP’s extensive work in supporting Sri Lanka realize its climate priorities, young people are essential to play a key role in this transformation pathway – to put nature at the heart of sustainable development. It’s encouraging to hear that 70% of the youth interviewed believe they can play the role of an awareness agent on climate change. Let’s draw on the young people for the necessary transformation.’

The findings from the report have also 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).

British Council Sri Lanka Country Director, Maarya Rehman said, ‘Climate emergency is the biggest crisis facing our planet so it’s no surprise that British Council research has found it’s the number one priority for young people the world over. I’m confident that the research will be a powerful piece of work that can be fed into the National Action Plan at a policy level and more importantly the findings are set to send a strong message about the importance of including youth voices in the climate action conversation.’

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ESOFT Metro Campus holds Graduation Ceremony 2021



Dr. Dayan Rajapakse – Chairman and Managing Director of the ESOFT Group (Right) presenting a certificate to a graduate

The Annual Graduation Ceremony of ESOFT Metro Campus was held at the Bandaranaike International Memorial Hall (BMICH) on the 23rd and 24th of November 2021. A total of 1,800 students graduated at this year’s event. Successful students received their Pearson BTEC Higher National Diplomas, Pearson Level 7 Qualifications, London Metropolitan University (UK) Degrees and MBA’s, Kingston University (UK) Degrees and MSc’s.

It was held across two days and split into 9 sessions, to be in full compliance with health guidelines. In addition to the conferring of degrees, batch tops were awarded gold medals and special awards were made to the top achievers of the programmes.

Keynote addresses were by an eminent group of academics and industry leaders including Mr. Conard Dias CEO, LOLC Finance PLC, Mr. Thushera Kawdawatta – CEO, Axiata Digital Labs, Dr. Dayan Rajapakse – Chairman and Managing Director of the ESOFT Group, Dr. Sampath Wahala – Chairman, Sri Lanka Accreditation Board, Mr. Tishan Subasinghe – Managing Director and joint Managing Partner Moore Stephens Consulting (Pvt) Ltd and Moore Stephens Aiyar, Prof. A.A.C Abeysinghe – M.Phil. PhD Programme Coordinator, Senior Lecturer Faculty of Management & Finance, University of Colombo.

Foreign delegates from the University Partners were present virtually and delivered their speeches and wishes for the graduates via video. The Virtusa careers team were also present on both days in order to provide career opportunities to the young and successful graduates. ESOFT prides itself in producing graduates who are work-ready and able to take on the challenges and opportunities presented by the new economy.

ESOFT has a rich history of 21 years and is the largest private sector higher education network in Sri Lanka, and offers a variety of programmes through an extensive island-wide network of over 40 branches and serves over 40,000 learners each year in a range of programmes from school leaver courses to postgraduate programmes.

ESOFT partnered with Kingston University London in 2012 to offer undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in engineering and soon established a dedicated College of Engineering in Katubedda. In 2013, they partnered with London Metropolitan University to offer a range of programmes leading to undergraduate and postgraduate awards in Computing, Business, Hospitality, and Travel & Tourism. A range of MSc programmes in IT and an International Doctoral programme for IT, Science and Engineering research areas, has also been introduced via Kingston University.

The ESOFT Group has won local and international awards from Pearson (UK), BCS (UK), NBQSA, National Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Sri Lanka in recognition of their academic excellence and business performance. Their pinnacle accomplishment was to be recognized by the Sri Lankan Government as a Non-state Degree Awarding Institution in 2019.

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Coconut industry products raking in forex to the tune of $ 7000 yearly – State Minister



By Steve A. Morrell

Earnings from exporting coconut products amounted to $ 7000 annually. Such exports include jaggery and treacle, which are key products relating to the coconut industry, State Minister of Coconut, Kithul and Palmyrah Cultivation Promotion Arundika Fernando said.

Although coconut, as part of the plantation industry, was not given due recognition, it was now a distinct contributor to forex earnings and was of significant importance to the economy of the country, Fernando said.

The State Minister added: “Development of the coconut plantations includes value addition promotion to its various products, which are now key to sustaining the coconut plantations.

“Such development included propagation of 600,000 nursery plants for distribution among smallholders and large-scale plantations to add further progress to the industry. As a result, the coconut industry is part of the mainstream economy.

“The coconut industry made a substantial financial contribution to the economy of the country. Value addition in all products was key to development. Coconut products, used extensively in allied local industries, were contributors to value addition. This is efficiently handled by the private sector.

“Collaboration with the Jaffna University was on-going to develop kitul and palmyrah.

“Soil testing and further inputs were envisaged for development.

“Export markets would include Europe, Canada and the US. This is particularly true of kitul treacle and jaggery. Value of these exports would reach approximately $ 2 million.”

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INSEE Cement’s 360-Degree Approach Eases Cement Shortage in Sri Lanka



Operating at maximum production capacity with optimized distribution channels for a number of weeks, INSEE Cement has successfully helped to mitigate the cement shortage that was prevailing in the local market. INSEE Cement’s concentrated and immediate contingency measures across its entire operation at the onset of the shortage ensured an uninterrupted market supply of cement, while also logging a record-high 700,000 MT production output during the third quarter of 2021 for the company.

“As Sri Lanka’s leading cement manufacturer, INSEE Cement took on the responsibility to ensure the local construction industry’s post-COVID-19 revival remained on its trajectory,” stated Gustavo Navarro, Chief Executive Officer at INSEE Cement Sri Lanka. “We continued to fully support government regulations and industrial policies to first stabilize the market, and were able to deploy our island-wide distribution and dealership network to ensure an uninterrupted supply across the island. The loyalty and patience of our customers gave us that extra encouragement we needed to overcome the challenge.”

INSEE Cement operates at a 3.6MT maximum capacity, with a 1.5MT production at the Galle plant, a 1.3MT output from the Puttalam facility and a 0.8MT import capacity at the Colombo Cement Terminal. To mitigate the shortage the company introduced two more additional import vessels to its logistics operation to accelerate production and distribution cycles.



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