Find below research publications published and disseminated by the Pathfinder Foundation

Indo – Lanka Relations: Building Confidence and Boosting Bilateral Cooperation

A series of high level visits during the course of this year have formed the basis of attempts to re-set Indo-Lanka bilateral relations. There has been an exchange of visits involving President Sirisena, Prime Minister Modi and Foreign Ministers Samaraweera and Swaraj. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s forthcoming visit will be the first after the Parliamentary Elections, which have completed the transition to a new political dispensation. This visit offers the opportunity to seek concrete outcomes, which promote the declared goal of a bilateral relationship of ‘irreversible excellence’. This would entail addressing sources of continuing friction between the two countries as well as strengthening economic and cultural links.

Structural Change of the Sri Lankan Economy and its Policy Implications

By Sarah Hettiaratchi, Intern By Pathfinder Foundation

මුහුදේ පාවෙන රාජ්‍යතන්ත්‍රික සබදතා

අසල්වැසි රටවල් එකිනෙකා සමග හිතෛෂී සම්බන්ධතා පවත්වාගැනීම වටනා කරුණකි. විශේෂයෙන්ම, ස්වභාවික සම්පත් හවුලේ බෙදාහදාගැනීමට භූගෝලීය පිහිටීම විසින් ඔවුන්ට බලකර ඇත්නම් හිතෛෂී සම්බන්ධකම වඩාත් වටනේය. ස්වභාවික සම්පත් හවුලේ බෙදාගැනීම පිළිබඳව එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ නීති විශාරදයින් විසින් කෙටුම්පත් කරන ලද ප‍්‍රතිපත්ති, එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ 1979 මහා සමුළුවේදී සම්මත කරගන්නා ලදී (ඍැිග. 34/186*. එහි අඩංගු මාර්ගෝපදේශ පද්ධතියේ තුන්වන නියමයෙහි මෙසේ සඳහන් වේ.

Fishy State of Relations

Authored by Mr. Bernard Goonetilleke, Former Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chairman of the Pathfinder Foundation

The spirit of good neighbourliness is a cherished attribute particularly when nations share natural resources. Legal experts at the UN developed draft principles on shared natural resources, which were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979 (Res. 34/186). Principle 3 of the guideline states, “States have… the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental policies, and the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction”.

Avoiding Bleeding of Forex Market

There were two shocking items in the Sri Lankan media during the past few days that caught the attention of the Pathfinder Foundation (PF) which focuses on Sri Lankan policy issues:

Higher Education: A Call for Pragmatism and Forward Thinking

Political Consensus – Luckily at Last
Both the main political parties, the SLFP and UNP, support private participation in the provision of tertiary education. Yet attempts to establish private universities have so far been stymied by a fierce resistance from those who hold a minority perspective. They have been given ammunition for this by vested interests in educational policy making. This has constrained an expansion of tertiary education; an improvement in its quality; and an increase in choice for the students. The prevalence of tuition classes and off-shore universities indicate that there is no anti – private education sentiment in this country. The status quo, which involves inadequate public resources to meet current demand; the production of graduates who cannot find productive employment; a mushrooming of unregulated institutions of varying quality; and increasing recourse to expensive foreign tertiary education, is clearly undesirable.

Chinese Model of Addressing Minority Concerns

In May 2009, Sri Lanka saw the end of the three decade long separatist war. It was a long, bitter and hard won victory. One of the few instances in modern history in which a terrorist group had been defeated militarily. While every Sri Lankan celebrated and was thankful that the war had finally ended few were naïve enough to believe that peace and harmony would follow through immediately. The war in Sri Lanka may be over. However, the underlying root causes for political and social conflict still simmers. Real peace and reconciliation will not come overnight nor can it be imposed from the outside. Solutions need to be from within taking into consideration unique characteristics of our minorities, equality, prosperity and development for all.

Modernizing Municipal Governance: to Serve People Better

For the first time in human history, there are more people living in urban areas than in the rural sector. Responding to rapid urbanization is one of the key challenges of the 21st Century. The demand for basic services and infrastructure among the rapidly increasing urban population is a daunting task for many governments in the developing world.

The Shame of Political Exclusion of Women

Since independence, women in Sri Lanka have made considerable progress in the social and economic spheres. 90% of them are now literate and their health indicators are impressive for a country at Sri Lanka’s current level of development. Sri Lanka has performed extremely well on the Millennium Development Goal on maternal mortality, which has seen extremely disappointing progress across the world. Women are also more visible than ever in the public domain. They are well represented in the public service; the medical; legal and teaching professions; the arts and a number of other areas. They have also made progress in the private sector, though they are under-represented at senior management levels. Progress has also been achieved in reforming gender discriminatory laws and there has been increased awareness of gender and women’s rights.

Can Sri Lanka Win by Being a Bridge for Indo–China Economic Relations?

Historical Perspective
The end of the civil conflict, a government with a decisive majority and economic geography combine to provide Sri Lanka with an unprecedented opportunity to shift to a higher trajectory of growth and development.

The Right to Information Act – Why?

It is encouraging that a recent parliamentary discussion both the Government and the opposition have signaled an interest in passing a Right to Information Law in Sri Lanka. The enactment of freedom of information legislation is bound to empower citizens and provide an essential element towards creating good governance. It is in this context that the Pathfinder Foundation is embarking on advocacy to accelerate the passage of this legislation.

Decentralization/Devolution: Empower the Disempowered?

Decentralization/Devolution has been pursued in over 80% of developing countries. It has been an important element of the “democratization” that has taken place since the end of the Cold War. Greater emphasis has been placed on citizens as the source of legitimate state authority. There has been a considerable body of research on the impact of decentralization/devolution on poverty reduction, the quality of service delivery and conflict. The empirical evidence presents a mixed picture of the impact of these processes. This places a high premium on careful design of decentralization/devolution, with a particular emphasis on building local capacities. One clear message is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Specific local circumstances are a crucial determinant of the outcomes of such programmes. While decentralization/devolution has a mixed record overall, empirical evidence suggests that there are some areas where it is particularly effective: primary education; hospitals; local roads; markets; water supply and sanitation; and solid waste management.


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