Business Times

CEPA discussion on poverty issues

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) a colloquium is being organized on Colombo on 30 June and 1 July and a press briefing was held this week in Colombo to explain the event. The Business Times is the media sponsor of the event.

The purpose of the colloquium is to share research on and stimulate discussion around areas such as horizontal inequality – inequality between society and culturally defined groups; post-crises recovery; the demographic changes in Sri Lanka leading to an aging population; climate change and leisure, recreation and inequality.

CEPA believes that to reduce poverty and improve the lives of all Sri Lankans an equitable and just manner, development interventions must be based on information and on a good understanding of their potential to change conditions of the poor.

On these lines when asked why Sri Lankan development strategies have never been co-related to poverty reduction and the fruits of development is slow or never reach the lowest strata of the society, Prof Hiran Dias, Chairman, CEPA told the Business Times that nevertheless development projects in the country do make an impact on poverty as development programmes provide employment opportunities and creating more employment contributes to poverty reduction.

He said that in Sri Lanka unemployment rates have come down while foreign employment is also a strong and valid source of reducing poverty as a large number of families are benefiting from that income.

Prof Dias said that there are many opinions on poverty analysis and at times these opinions are biased. What they are trying to do is to get at a proper analysis to various situations and that information is provided for policy makers and implementations to base their decisions on real evidence . They expect their analytical information to be used by the government and other agencies more rationally.
He said that earlier they have been making analysis at various situations they selected and they were earlier funded by German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ). But when the donor funding dropped they undertook various individual projects for cliets. Prof Dias said that they now receive funds from a Canadian organization.

They aim to provide this information by engaging in hands-on research, both quantitative and qualitative , providing services such as impact monitoring, training and creating opportunities for different development actors to exchange information and debate issues.

At the colloquium there would be a mix of new research and practical experience from Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan and panelists from government, academia, development agencies, the media and the private sector would participate.

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