GATS and the threat to community electricity in SriLanka
The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) negotiations, to which Sri Lanka is a party, will put pressure on developing country governments to break up their national electricity industries, and open them to international investment. Far from solving its problems, opening up the Sri Lankan electricity industry to international participation could leave the Sri Lankan government with a system that does not work and which, under GATS rules, cannot be abandoned.
Practical Action argues that increasing pressure from the GATS negotiations for developing countries to privatise and liberalise their electricity industries could threaten decentralised, community run schemes. The case of electricity reform in Sri Lanka clearly demonstrates the need for caution as developing countries are pushed towards power sector liberalisation, to safeguard the needs of poor, marginalised communities.
- Turning off the lights: GATS and the threat to community electricity in Sri Lanka - HTML ~59K
- Turning off the lights: GATS and the threat to community electricity in Sri Lanka ~161K
How to Engage with GATS: Practical Action and service provision for the poorest (PDF, 3Mb) 2009
We believe that the GATS process as it stands does not have the potential to develop appropriate, poverty-focused services. This policy document, commissioned by Practical Action from Dr Jonathan Cloke of Newcastle University, details the concerns we have over the existing GATS process, especially with respect to the most vulnerable sectors in the socially structured poverty that exists in the global south: women, indigenous peoples, Dalit communities etc.
GATS and the Electricity and Water Sectors, a report by Stephen Thomas and David Hall of the Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) at the University of Greenwich, commissioned by Practical Action in 2006.
General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS): A Case for Energy Sub-Sector in Kenya Consultancy undertaken for Practical Action by Jasper A. Okelo, School Of Economics, University Of Nairobi, April 2006.