Minister of Special Assignments Dr. Sarath Amunugama was the Chief Guest on 11 January at a conference on ‘Human Capital, Food Security and Economic Development’ held at Hotel Galadari, organised by the Institute of Policy Studies in collaboration with the Centre for Development Economics and the South Asia Research Network of Monash University of Australia.
In the course of his remarks, the Minister took up a theme from President Obama’s globally-televised farewell address delivered a short while earlier and said that we have to be prepared for impending global changes. He said that it was a good guideline for the seminar that was being inaugurated.
Existing research findings are useful but he said that we must look to the future and direct the research effort to foresee the emerging trends in world affairs and to propose feasible policy initiatives, particularly in the economic sphere, to meet these new challenges.
The possible emergence of protectionism in the West which perceives itself as having been adversely affected to some extent by globalisation is a serious threat to the developing world and especially to the emerging economies of Asia.
“It may be that we are in the cusp of a brand new world economic order,” the Minister declared. “Will the recently-entered-into global commitments in respect of climate change for instance survive the impending changes?” the Minister speculated. He requested the participants at the seminar to take a futuristic perspective in view of the possibility of big changes in the offing.
Turning to one of the topics for discussion at the conference , ‘Gender and Women Empowerment,’ the Minister referred to the great service rendered by Sri Lankan female migrant workers who remit their entire hard earned wages to the home country unlike richer expatriates working in developed countries.
At the beginning of his speech the Minister warmly welcomed the foreign participants at the conference and apprised them of the development work at the Port City and the Hambantota Development Zone.