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South Asia Policy Dialouge on Children

The “South Asia Policy Dialouge on Children” was held in Kathmandu, Nepal from 17-18 September 2015. Mr S S Miyanawala, Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management delivered the Keynote Address at the above policy dialouge.





Namaste, Good Morning and Aayubowan

Chairman of the Panel Major General AsgharNawaz, Chairman– National Disaster Management Authority Government of Pakistan.

Co-chair, Dr.DoshanSonamTenenz Hon Secretary Ministry of Home affairs, Royal Government of  Bhutan.

Distinguished Delegates

I wish to conduct my presentation under two major sections. Firstly I will rush through section I which is aimed atour appreciation on the host country of Nepal and Secondary the situation of four pillars under discussion.

It is a great honor and privilege for me to be here in this historic city of Kathmandu as a Special Key Note Speaker to address the High Level South Asia Policy Dialogue on Children and Disaster Risk reduction.

I would like to thank the Government of Nepal, SAARC Disaster Management Centre and UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia for making the event a success.

Following devastating earthquake in Nepal on 25 April 2015, the Government of Sri Lanka sent a 48 member relief and rescue team comprising doctors, engineers and other personal from Sri Lanka armed forces. The Sri Lankan contingent was subsequently strengthened to 141 on 29 April 2015 with the arrival of second group.

Sri Lankan government has pledged US $ 2.5 million for reconstruction of two heritage temples of Nepal “ RatoMachindranath” and “ AnandakutiVihar” as Nepal and Sri Lanka enjoy ancient old cultural ties between the two countries.



The child has been stated in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924 and in theDeclaration of the Rights of the Child adopted by the United Nations on 20 November 1959 and recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the International Covenant on CivilandPolitical Rights, in the year 1976 , in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights also in the year 1976 and in the statutes and relevant instruments of Specialized Agencies and International Organizations concerned with the welfare of children.

Sri Lankahas ratified and accepted commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and therefore shall provide for laws and policies that recognize these rights.

National law in Sri Lanka has moved away from a position of exclusive faith in criminal processes to protect children to a more direct child- or victim-focused protective approach at the legislative and conceptual level. National lawsin Sri Lanka that covered under fifteen field toprotect child rights are as follows, The Children and Young Persons Ordinance No. 48 of 1939, The Adoption of Children Ordinance No. 24 of 1941, NATIONAL CHILD PROTECTION AUTHORITY ACT, No. 50 OF 1998, TheTsunami (Special Provisions) Act 2005, The Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children (Amendment) Act No. 8 of 2003 ect

i) As on this legal and policy framework Sri Lanka has achieved orphanage safety through probation and childcare mechanism where orphanage centers have been established island wide.

ii) Widower and orphanages fund secured the employer spouses and children from risk of survival.

iii) Through free health facilities we have achieved a lower mortality rate of below 10 per thousand under 5 years of age.

Further improvementto laws and policies are anticipated through the amendments proposed to Disaster Management Act of 2005 and policies related to coordination mechanism.


The natureof disasters is rapidly changing. These changes are generally regarded as a result of human actions and development patterns.The surface morphology of Sri Lanka is of fascinating diversity. Most frequentnatural hazards affecting Sri Lanka are hydro-meteorological related hazards.  The highest numbers of the disaster events reported during past decades are floods and drought, caused by hydro-meteorological phenomenon. Tsunamis are infrequent but have caused severe damage. As per the Disaster Management Act (No 13, 2005), mainly 21 Hazards have been identified as mandated disasters for the national level coordination. It consists of Meteorological, Hydrological, Biological, Technological and other man-made disasters which could be impacted as a disastrous situation.

The dramaticimpacts of the tsunami of 26 December 2004 sounded the starting bell for a new approach to dealing with natural hazards in Sri Lanka in the context of disaster risk management. National and international policymakers urged that efforts to change values and behavior be launched early in schools in order to reduce disaster risks and prepare young people to better meet the challenges of climate.

In Sri Lanka alone, the 2004 tsunami cost the lives of 35,000 people and left behind over one million surviving victims, among them some 200,000 school-age children and university level students as well as thousands of teachers. In coastal regions along the island nation’s battered southern and eastern shorelines, classroom teaching came to an almost complete halt for several weeks. 182 schools were severely damaged or destroyed, while 287 schools served as emergency shelters for thousands made homeless. Many months went by before reconstruction efforts were able tocomplete the repairs to damaged schools and to build 95 new schools at different, safe locations.

The damagescaused by recurrent floods, landslides, terrorism and last not least the tsunami in December 2004 have convinced us that the society should be better prepared to cope with such disasters in the future. Therefore, theDisaster Management Act of 2005 was enacted providing strong legislative and institutional arrangements for disaster risk reduction. 

Policies aiming at the disaster risk reduction of children are being drafted and implemented based on children on road safety policy, poverty alleviation programme housing projects for low income societyavoid vulnerability of children, nutrient improvement programme under health sector to secure better health condition of child to avoid diseases to improve mental and physical condition of children. Disaster resilience building codes has been introduced by government to build safety schools. Further amendmentslaws and policies are also being drafted aiming to Disaster Risk Reduction. 


The Disaster Management Centre has been established under the National Council for Disaster Management in accordance with the Sri Lanka Disaster Management Act No. 13 of 2005 passed by the Parliament of Sri Lanka on 13th May 2005. Presently DMC is functioning within the purview of the Ministry of Disaster Management.

The National Policy on Disaster Management is a core component of Sri Lanka’s National regime fordisaster management. It articulatesagreed overarching principles and preferred outcomes for disaster management in Sri Lanka. It also provides policy directives to address the issues such as inadequate coordination among stakeholders’ agencies, duplication of efforts and insufficient policy directives to reduce the human and economic impacts of disasters which were identified in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami and the other recent disaster situations. 

Its illuminate protection of children under the section of Equality, diversity and inclusion as

Disaster management should give special consideration to marginalized groups and those with

Special needs or otherwise vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, senior citizens, the sick, pregnant women, children and displaced persons.

I would like to mention Sri Lankan government and UNICEF having longtime relationship have implemented many child protection programs in collaboration with UNICEF.

Under youth council regional youth corps have been established inorder to provide employment for better utilization of younger generation in the labor force .We endorse provisions in Sendai Frame Work to utilize Social Media through ICT facilities available with younger generation. Young inventors and innovators participation in research and development in order to utilize in disaster risk reduction is also expected.


In 2008The “Guidelines for School Disaster Safety” has been developed to strengthen disaster preparedness in schools. This guideline is a result of the collaboration amongthe National Institute of Education of the Ministry of Education, Disaster Management Centre, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and UNDP Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Education, in partnership with UNICEF, in 2009 launched the ‘Child Friendly Schools’ concept as the official framework to address disparities in quality and access in primary schools in Sri Lanka and in 2012 The Ministry of Education has launched an important training manual on “Child Friendly Schools” in partnership with UNICEF and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). The concept of a safe school and overall well-beingof school children is gaining its significance under the overarching commitment towards quality education for all.

Although literacy rate and school enrolment rate has increased to higher level but Sri Lanka has faced the problem of early school leavers. In order to cater this problem the government has recently introduced an employment based education policy in order to avoid unemployment among early school leavers directly those into vocational training centers based on their technical academic skills.

Preschool education centers are established covering majority number of children under the age of 5years in most of the areas. Special education centers for children who desire special attention of the society and School curriculum reforms focusing children participation in decision making. Education sectorhas identified importance of counseling for improvement of psychosocial condition of children. The education sector has appointed a teacher for every school to attend to the counseling activities.

The Ministry of Disaster Management having coordination with other relevant government and voluntary organizations is functioning with its own institutions of Meteorological Department, National Building Research Organization ,Disaster Management Centre and National Relief service Coordination Center having specific focus on children and other vulnerable groups existence and survival. The nationalpolicy of Sri Lanka disaster management is implemented under the purview of the national council for disaster management headed by HE the president of Sri Lanka and deputized by the HounerablePrime Mininster of Sri Lanka.

Before conclusion, Iwould like request all member nations of SAARC family to coordinate to improve the policy framework of our member nations and to make enhancement to the implementation and coordination mechanisms of our respective countries.





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