On March 21st, 2019, SLYCAN Trust organised a dinner discussion on Sri Lanka's newly unveiled budget. The well-attended discussion took place at Hotel Janaki and featured a panel of experts trying to answer the leading question: How green is our budget?
From pangolins to elephants, from tropical timber to birds and snakes: Wildlife trafficking is one of the largest illegal global trade sectors and generates billions of USD per year. Since 1975, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) provides a framework for the sustainable trade of wildlife and ecosystem products.
Literacy is the ability to read, write and communicate effectively. It gives all individuals, regardless of their gender, community or society, the power to connect and understand the complexities of the world. Women, who comprise half the world population, deserve special attention in enhancing literacy, owing to the historical inequities they have suffered through gender-based discrimination throughout history. UNESCO quantifies this gender gap in global literacy rates by indicating that only 82.7% of women worldwide are literate today, as compared to 86.3% of men. However, this gap widens more in poverty-ridden regions like South Asia and Africa and therefore requires careful assessment.
Mangroves are a valuable ecological and economic resource to Sri Lanka. According to the Forest Department, Sri Lanka is home to over 20 mangrove species which extend over an area of 15,670 hectares. However, mangroves represent only 0.2% of the total forest cover.
Literacy is the ability to read and write. More than that, it also grants access to knowledge and information in a broader sense. Literacy is empowerment, employability, security, and independence. It includes skillsets like digital and financial literacy, and it is an essential requirement for socio-economic development, self-determination, and effective participation in society and economy.
The Third National Communication (TNC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is presently being developed by the Ministry of Maheweli Development and Environment. The TNC is submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat as part of the reporting mechanism on the actions taken by Sri Lanka to address the climate change impacts.
Sri Lanka is a biodiversity hotspot with an abundance of ecosystems and many endemic species. Its animals and plants are greatly threatened by human activity and the impacts of climate change, putting the world at risk of losing this irreplaceable wealth of wildlife. If we want to preserve Sri Lanka’s biodiversity, actions need to be taken on all levels: by the government, by academia, by NGOs, and by everyone living on the island and around the globe.
On the border between land and sea, a unique ecosystem covers tropical and subtropical regions around the world: Mangrove forests. Mangroves are well adapted to saline water and the tides, and they thrive along the coastlines of over 118 countries, including Sri Lanka. They offer a wide variety of ecosystem services, provide a sheltered habitat for many species of animals, and are vital allies in the fight against climate change.
Oceans cover two thirds of world’s surface, and over 7.6 billion people directly or indirectly benefit from oceans around the world. Global fishery production is ever expanding, and according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), fisheries and aquaculture assure the livelihoods of 10-12 percent of the world’s population. Ocean resources can boost the growth of a country’s economy, but human activity also takes a toll on ocean health. Therefore, fishing needs to be carried out at sustainable levels, or fish stocks will deteriorate from overfishing and collapse. According to the World Wildlife Federation, if the world keeps fishing at its current pace, there will be no more fish left to eat by 2048.
On April 12th, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that declares June 3rd to be World Bicycle Day. From 2018 onward, this day is dedicated to spreading awareness of the bicycle’s two centuries long success story, educating about its possibilities and benefits, and promoting its usage around the world.
Forests have long been identified as one of the most important net carbon sinks that our planet possesses, as they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, sequestering it in the biomass of trees and as soil carbon. As climate change is now an undisputed reality, the role that forests can play in mitigating the impacts of climate change are becoming ever more crucial. As an island nation blessed with small but significant tracts of tropical rainforest, Sri Lanka is an ideal location to study how land use changes and forest deforestation and degradation impact a forest’s capacity to act as a carbon sink. By conserving and managing the forests that remain, and reforesting areas which have been degraded, Sri Lanka can also add its own lion’s share to the global battle against climate change.
The Walk-In Vegan Culinary Workshop hosted by Galle Face Hotel, Colombo partnering with SLYCAN Trust and Meatless Monday Sri Lanka started off in style with Chef Tora introducing the audience to a number of easy vegan recipes. While demonstrating to the audience about the vegan recipes, Chef Tora explained the health benefits of the ingredients used. The workshop was conducted in a very interactive manner involving the audience in the preparation of the food.
The recent nabbing of a frozen pangolin in the kitchens of a Chinese restaurant in the heart of Colombo has shed a much-needed spotlight on the importance of curbing the illegal exploitation of these shy mammals which are a globally endangered species, and nationally a near threatened one. There are four species of Pangolin restricted to Asia. The one found in Sri Lanka is the Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), and is commonly called the Scaly Ant-eater (Sinhala: “Kaballawa”, “Aya”; Tamil: “Alungu”). Pangolins can be identified by the distinctive scales which cover their entire body, and they are found in both the wet and dry zones of Sri Lanka.
Petrol’ has been the talk of the town since early November. The daily lives of the public have been disrupted with the rising traffic congestions and transportation issues. Vehicles have been queuing up at petrol stations fearing a petrol shortage since last Friday, creating traffic jams on the streets of Colombo, amidst the heavy showers.
The Youth Forum on Climate Change (YFCC), organized by SLYCAN Trust in collaboration with the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment under the Sri Lanka Next Conference was held on the 17th of October 2017 at BMICH. Dr. Sunimal Jayathunge, Director, Climate Change Secretariat opened the forum, recognizing the importance of youth as a key stakeholder that needs to actively engage in developing policies related to climate change. He pointed out that, on a national level, the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment has taken into account the importance of engaging youth in the work related to climate change and thereby has provided space for youth to share their knowledge and experience, raise their concerns and assist in the implementation of projects to address climate change through events such as YFCC.
A workshop organised by Southern Voices on Adaptation, SLYCAN Trust, Janathakshan (GTE) Ltd, and CANSA Sri Lanka, was held on the 18th of August at Hotel Renuka, for the purpose of discussing on how to facilitate transparent and inclusive implementation of Sri Lanka’s National Adaptation Plan.
The 8th consultation on the Animal Welfare Bill took place with a wide sectoral representation from the government as well as civil society actors which included parliamentary members, representatives of various NGOs and youth delegations, lawyers, journalists and animal welfare advocators. Parliamentary member, Venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thero graced the occasion to address the furthering of the Bill on Animal Welfare.
With global attention focused on the implementation of adaptation activities to address the impacts of climate change and efforts towards climate-resilient development, economic diversification has been viewed as a means of a country’s drive towards sustainable economic growth and stability. It is defined as the process wherein a growing range of economic outputs is produced.