- Beyond Pomp and Pageantry: Looking at Public Markets as Lived Spaces
- New Platform Initiated for Young Professionals in Public Policy
- Breaking Point: Impact of Sri Lanka’s Economic Crisis on Colombo’s Working Class Poor
- Valuing the Catch of the Day: Towards a more Humanised Food Value Chain
- New Publication: ‘Debt for Nature Swaps: A Primer for Interested Stakeholders’
March 13, 2023
New Publication: ‘Debt for Nature Swaps: A Primer for Interested Stakeholders’
There is increasing global pressure for economies to extend their investments in climate action due to the added and ever-increasing pressure on the environment. Various sovereign financing instruments linked to nature, like Debt for nature swaps (DFNS), provides developing economies under severe macroeconomic and public financial strain the opportunity to increase climate action and environmental outcomes, while taking new steps to tackle sovereign debt issues. There has been rising interest in debt for nature swaps in the recent years, especially in the post-pandemic era with increase in instances of sovereign debt crises in developing countries and emerging markets. With the help of various multilateral institutions, there has been an increase in traction and reports of debt for nature swap negotiations in process and of such deals that have already taken place. DFNS provide countries a means of tackling sovereign debt issues, and strengthen public finances, while simultaneously making investments in conservation and improving environment outcomes. As this paper notes, governments and country stakeholders must prepare their technical knowledge, and institutional and legal frameworks when embarking on instruments such as these for the first time. In Sri Lanka, some of these have already begun and are ongoing. Our paper argues that stakeholder collaboration in both the economics, finance, and public financial management fraternity as well as the environmental science, conservation and sustainability fraternity is key to ensuring that the right pathways are chosen, and good governance is embedded.
Tags: Natural Capital Forum
September 28, 2022
New Working Paper Released: ‘Sri Lanka – Singapore FTA Four Years On’
In May 2022, the Sri Lanka – Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA) marked four years since coming into force - an FTA that was a landmark one for Sri Lanka in many respects. It was the country’s first bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) in over a decade, the first FTA with an ASEAN country, and the first ‘comprehensive FTA’ in the country’s history, which meant that it went beyond goods, to include services, investment, and economic and technology cooperation. This Working Paper reviews bilateral trade performance, explains some of the key domestic economic policy contexts during and after the FTA was signed, discusses some of the key issues that emerged, and takes an initial look at prospects. Research for the paper was drawn not only from published grey material but also from extensive primary interviews with key informants. Insights shared in this paper would be of particular relevance now, following the bilateral meeting between the Sri Lankan President and the Singaporean Prime Minister (on the sidelines of the former's visit to Japan), during which the two leaders recommitted to benefiting from the SLSFTA and advancing its implementation. This Working Paper is produced under the 'Trade and Economic Competitiveness' thematic pillar of CSF, and is co-authored by Anushka Wijesinha (Co-founder, CSF) and Janaka Wijayasiri (Visiting Fellow, CSF).
May 27, 2022
New Working Paper Released: ‘Governance of Digital Technologies in South Asia’
Across the world, the rise of digital technologies has been accompanied by attempts to regulate the use of these applications and their impact on society. The growing salience of cybersecurity and data privacy, alongside concerns over content moderation and facial recognition, have highlighted the need for governments and businesses to adopt stricter regulations to address the ethical, political, and legal issues related to the use of digital technologies, while simultaneously harnessing their social and economic potential. Regulating the digital domain is arguably one of the most important cross-cutting issues facing governments, with wide-ranging implications for businesses, civil society organisations, and the public. In this context, this paper seeks to understand the status of digital governance in South Asia, with a specific focus on Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, which are the key Indian Ocean rim countries in this region. To that end, the research explores four major thematic areas - cybersecurity, data protection, artificial intelligence, and mis/disinformation - the choice of which is informed by their significance for South Asian countries.