Sri Lanka Celebrating Independence In Chains Of Its Own Making

By Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – While Sri Lanka “celebrates” 70 years of independence from British colonial rule this month, its sovereignty is being threatened as never before since gaining independence in 1948 – tempting one to remark that Sri Lanka is celebrating ‘independence in chains’. Continue reading “Sri Lanka Celebrating Independence In Chains Of Its Own Making”


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”

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”

Laos Adds SDG18 to Handle Unexploded American Bombs

Limbs.JPGBy Kalinga Seneviratne

VIENTIANE (IDN) – U.S. President Barack Obama’s early September visit to Laos helped to focus attention on one of the most horrendous war crimes in history, the bombing of the small landlocked Southeast Asian country during the Indochina War in the 1960s and 1970s, and its massive human and development costs.

The Laotians made use of the visit of both Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for the ASEAN and East Asia Summits to launch their own Sustainable Development Goal 18 to reduce the impact of unexploded ordnance (UXO) on development and economic activities. Continue reading “Laos Adds SDG18 to Handle Unexploded American Bombs”

DPRK Nuke Test Calls For Dumping Cold War Responses

Analysis by Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – Even before the ink dried up on a statement issued in the Laotian capital Vientiane by the East Asia Summit (EAS) on nuclear proliferation, North Korea announced the successful testing of a nuclear bomb that has focused attention in the region on increasing militarization.

Pyongyang’s latest weapons testing came less than a day after the EAS leaders adopted a statement urging it to give up its nuclear and missile programs. It was the first time that the 18-member regional body, which also includes the United States, China, Russia and Japan, adopted a single-issue statement other than the chairman’s statement. Continue reading “DPRK Nuke Test Calls For Dumping Cold War Responses”

Building Regional Connectivity Key to China’s ‘Silk Route’ Projects


 Analysis by Kalinga Seneviratne


BANGKOK (IDN) – China is keen to demonstrate that its ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, dubbed the “New Silk Route” by the media, is not geared to exclusively serve China’s economic interests, but to build connectivity in the region and beyond for the benefit of all.

This was the message from a high-powered Chinese team taking part in a ‘side-event’ organised by China at the 72nd UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) sessions here May 17-19. It is also an idea that ESCAP is strongly endorsing as it embarks on promoting a new development paradigm for the region.

Continue reading “Building Regional Connectivity Key to China’s ‘Silk Route’ Projects”

South Pacific Seeks Action to Solve Climate ‘Terror’ Not of Its Making

Analysis by Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – Pointing out that three tiny South Pacific nations – Kiribati, Tuvalu and Marshal islands – are “destined to slip below the waves altogether”, feisty Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Bainimarama has appealed to the international community to help Fiji and the other South Pacific island states build resilience to the impact of climatic change, which he described as the “terror of the extreme weather events”.

Continue reading “South Pacific Seeks Action to Solve Climate ‘Terror’ Not of Its Making”