We live in an age of hazards. The climate change will make it worse. Be prepared or perish seems to be the nature’s message. At the inaugural public lecture of LIRNEasia’s annual Disaster Risk Reduction events, we will discuss how best to face the future threats and what the communities, government and private sector can do. PRESENTATION Vinya Ariyaratne is General Secretary of the Lanka Jatika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya.
The Directorate of Environment, European Commission organises the conference ‘The Civil Protection Forum – Towards a more resilient society’ that aims to explore the concept of resilience. Climate change is likely to increase the frequency and impact of disasters, and Europe has to be prepared for this challenge. The Forum will start a debate on a comprehensive European disaster management strategy to enhance resilience. Around 500 delegates, speakers and exhibitors from politics, academia, the civil protection services and international organisations are expected to participate. Chanuka Wattegama, Senior Research Manager, LIRNEasia will be one of the speakers in the six practice-oriented seminars will look more closely at how European civil protection works in the field – how does it integrate with other international actors, three major phases of an emergency (prevention, preparedness, and response) and the roles of different stakeholders (institutions, civil protection professionals and civil society).
The special issue on “Community-based last-mile early warning system” carried on its back page the following contribution from Rohan Samarajiva (despite the title of the publication, it’s not possible to find this piece on the web, so what is pasted below is the pre-pub version: Between a rock and a hard place The tragedy of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was the absence of any official warning. The Bengkulu earthquake of 2007 September 12th shows that this is unlikely to be repeated. What we must guard against now is indifference to warning; of populations that will refuse to evacuate in the face of real danger. Tsunami prediction is an inexact art practiced in conditions of imperfect information and time pressure. In the Pacific Basin, which has had the most experience with tsunamis, 75 per cent of all warnings are false.
An Expert Forum on ICT Sector Indicators and Benchmark Regulation for SAARC Regulatory Authorities will be held in Changi Village Hotel, Singapore on 14 – 15 June 2008 following the 12th LIRNE.net course on Telecom Reform. The Forum will focus on using specific indicators to benchmark performance of the sector as well as the regulatory authority, and using indicator data to improve the performance of both. The latest results from LIRNEasia’s Asian Regulatory Web-site Survey, the Mobile and Broadband Price Benchmarks research and the Broadband Quality of Service Measurement research will be presented at the forum, and will set the background for broader discussion on benchmark regulation. The LIRNEasia developed and IDRC-funded Asian ICT Indicators Database will be introduced and hands-on training on using the database will be provided.
The New Digital South website, under its New School of Thought series, features an interview with LIRNEasia’s Director, Strategic Development, Helani Galpaya. Helani talks about the challenges of e-Gov in developing countries. See full interview here.
Click on the links to see the full articles covering LIRNEasia’s book, ICT Infrastructure in Emerging Asia: Policy and Regulatory Roadblocks. ‘BSNL’s monopoly over infrastructure a hindrance to growth’ – Financial Express (India) Rural connectivity is now the focus of every telecommunication player in the country. Almost all stakeholders, from handset manufacturers to service providers, believe that the next wave of growth is in the rural areas.”However, India’s roll out (of telecom services) in rural areas has been slow. BSNL has the backbone infrastructure but is not yet ready to share it with private players,” he added.
The World Dialogue on Regulation (WDR) Expert Forum on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Sector and Regulatory Performance Indicators will be held from March 2-3, 2007 at the Changi Village Hotel, Singapore. The event is organized by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), in partnership with LIRNEasia and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada. The forum will bring together National Regulatory Agencies (NRAs), National Statistical Organizations (NSOs) and leading operators from the SAARC and ASEAN countries, and will focus on assessing telecommunications regulatory performance and establishing a sustainable system for measuring and benchmarking ICT sector indicators in developing Asia. For more information about this event, email firstname.lastname@example.org
LIRNEasia intended the Telecom Regulatory Environment scores to serve as a diagnostic instrument for regulators, policy makers and stakeholders, not exactly a “league table.” However, the news value seems to be in the inter-country comparisons. We are grateful for whatever coverage we get. Businessworld: Pak Betters India The sharp growth in the Indian telecom industry has been talked about for quite sometime. That growth happened after many contentious issues got straightened out over the years at the regulatory level.
The Indonesian Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Dr Sofyan Djalil, presented a number of new initiatives for removing the barriers to Internet growth in his country at Building Digital Communities forum session at the ITU World 2006 event in Hong Kong on December 7, 2006. Divakar Goswami, LIRNEasia’s Director, Organizational and Projects, who was moderating the panel asked the following question: One of the first achievements of your government was to delicense the 2.4 GHz frequency that allowed communities to use Wi-Fi extensively in the country. Despite that, Indonesia currently has Internet penetration of 0.69 percent.
An executive course on telecom regulation, including World Dialogue on Regulation Expert Forum on Sector and Regulatory Performance Indicators Offered by LIRNEasia and CONNECTasia Forum Pte. Ltd. February 25th – March 3rd, 2007. Changi Village Hotel, Singapore The 2007 course is designed to enhance the strategic thinking of a select group of senior decision makers in the telecom and related sectors in the Asia Pacific and elsewhere. The focus will be on the most current strategic issues.
The Webhamuva Project was showcased at the World Bank’s launch of the Small Grants Program (SGP) 2006 in Sri Lanka on April 6, 2006, as an example of the previous year’s funding under the same program. www.webhamuva.org was launched last year to ensure that the voices of the tsunami affected were heard widely and their interests and input were taken into consideration during the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase. Divakar Goswami, Director of Organizational Development and Projects at LIRNEasia made a presentation on the project and highlighted some of the findings.
LIRNEasia organised a press conference to highlight two major initiatives in the area of hazard warning, one that it launched on providing disaster mitigation and last-mile connectivity to tsunami-affected villages and the other that it wrapped up on dam-related hazard warning system for Sri Lanka. LIRNEasia released A Concept Paper for a Dam-related Hazard Warning System in Sri Lanka: A Participatory Study on Actions Required to Avoid and Mitigate Dam Disasters in collaboration with its project partners, the Vanguard Foundation, Sri Lanka National Committee on Large Dams (SLNCOLD), Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) and Sarvodaya. This work was funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, Executive Director of LIRNEasia, handed over the final concept paper to U.
By Payal Malik (Senior Researcher, LIRNEasia) The Indian Express: Op-Ed October 31, 2005 TRAI has recently come out with its recommendations on Growth of Telecom services in Rural India (www.trai.gov.in). It is an insightful attempt to address the anomalies of the current universal service obligation (USO) regime for the provision of rural telephone subsidy.
From the beginning, LIRNEasia was seen as serving/working with three constituencies: government, the private sector and civil society. Accordingly, the initial board of directors included representatives from all three groups. Dr Vinya Ariyaratne, the Executive Director of Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka’s largest and most deeply embedded social action organization, has served on the Board from the beginning. With the tsunami and the unprecedented challenges it posed to all organizations in Sri Lanka, the relationship deepened. LIRNEasia‘s Executive Director was invited to serve on the Deshodaya Council (National Reawakening Council) of Sarvodaya, a new body akin to a board of directors in many respects and also to advise the organization on ICT issues.
LIRNEasia and Vanguard Foundation, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka National Committee of Large Dams, have conducted an Expert Consultation as the basis for developing a concept paper on an Early Warning System for Dam Related Hazards. Most of the Sri Lankan experts on dam management and safety were invited to this event. The event was kicked off by Chandra Jayaratne, Director of the Vanguard Foundation and Rohan Samarajiva, Executive Director of LIRNEasia with a welcome address and opening remarks. The first presentation titled, Nineteen years later, what lessons have been learnt from the Kantale breach (and what changes have been implemented)? by D W R Weerakoon, Former Director General of Irrigation and Secretary, Presidential Commission on the Kantale Dam Breach.