Exercising Power Fairly More Important SDG Yardstick than Democratic Accountability

By Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – In its 2017 Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, the Bangkok-based UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) makes an interesting argument in regards to achieving the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in seemingly downplaying the importance of democratic accountability and emphasising that how power is exercised is more important. Continue reading “Exercising Power Fairly More Important SDG Yardstick than Democratic Accountability”

Asian-Fuelled Heritage Tourism Could Be An SDG Enabler

By Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit, held for the first time in Southeast Asia, pivoted on how Asia-fuelled tourism would impact the industry worldwide. The discussions also centred around whether tourism could be an enabler of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) if it were heritage-focused offering community experiences – rather than “exotic” sites – so that significant leakages of tourism revenue could be tapped. Continue reading “Asian-Fuelled Heritage Tourism Could Be An SDG Enabler”

Asia needs ‘thinking’ media to avoid ‘Arab Spring’ chaos

April 25, 2017

By Kalinga Seneviratne

Special to The Nation (Thailand)

In December last year two UN agencies – UNDP and Unesco – organised a gathering in Bangkok called “Case 4 Space” where young activist communicators from Asia were brought together and largely addressed by westerners on how to demand space for their voices to be heard.

The event was coordinated by an activist group from the UK called “Restless Development” that was promoting a “restless” type of activism for “democratic” development – the same recipe of the “Arab Spring” uprising that has created chaos and mayhem in the Arab world. 

Attending the event as an observer, I was alarmed by the fact that these two UN agencies were able to organise this event in Asia without being scrutinised by Asian media or the governments in the region. Continue reading “Asia needs ‘thinking’ media to avoid ‘Arab Spring’ chaos”

India’s Yogi Chief Minister May Rewrite Democracy Textbooks

Analysis by Kalinga Seneviratne

NEW DELHI (IDN) – From across Asia to Europe and the United States voters have shown their dismay at corrupt political systems by voting in unconventional politicians who promise to “clean the swamp”.

So the election mid-March of a Yogi Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh – India’s most populous state – may well herald in a new era for Asian politics, where religion could step in to clean up the corruption in politics. Continue reading “India’s Yogi Chief Minister May Rewrite Democracy Textbooks”

ASEAN Chairman Duterte Pushes For Migrant Protection Treaty

This article is part of IDN’s media project jointly with Global Cooperation Council and DEVNET Japan.

By Kalinga Seneviratne

Bangkok, 26 Feb 2017 (IDN): Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte has signaled his intention to push harder for the adoption of a binding regional treaty to protect the human rights of migrant workers during his chairmanship of ASEAN (Association of South east Asian Nations) this year.

Though he is strongly supported by Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, yet human rights advocates in the region fear that ASEAN’s “consensus” based decision making process may hinder these attempts because Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand may not agree to a binding treaty to protect migrant workers in their countries. Continue reading “ASEAN Chairman Duterte Pushes For Migrant Protection Treaty”

SDGs in Asia Risk Hijacking by Western Activists

By Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – Early December three UN agencies UNDPUNESCO and UNFPA organized a three-day youth mobilizing program at the UNESCAP building here called ‘Case for Space’ (C4S) touted as a campaign led by over 60 partners in the region to raise awareness and advocate for the promotion ofSustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Asia-Pacific region.

Yet, it was dominated by mainly European and American speakers and consultants, with the project being led by a UK-based activist group Restless Development, which made many participants from the region to wonder whether the SDG agenda is being hijacked by westerner activists. Continue reading “SDGs in Asia Risk Hijacking by Western Activists”

ICTs Between Money-Spinners and SDG Champions

By Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – At the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) annual flagship event ITU Telecom World 2016 from November 14 to 17, there was much discussion about the profit-making motives of technology providers and the need to integrate social goals to help achieve the UN’s new catchcry Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Continue reading “ICTs Between Money-Spinners and SDG Champions”