From waste management to disaster resilience, Sri Lanka is benefiting from RMIT University research thanks to a new framework for sharing ideas and expertise about local government challenges.
RMIT Melbourne City campus recently hosted an eight-day study tour by two senior Sri Lankan government officials to discuss innovative solutions and advanced practices for Sri Lanka’s local government sector.
RMIT is one Australia’s leading research institutions into challenges faced by local governments. The visit was organised by Professor Sujeeva Setunge, Deputy Dean, Research and Innovation in the School of Engineering, and funded by the World Bank.
During the visit, Kamal Pathmasiri (Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils, Sri Lanka) and Sarath Abeygunawardena (Chief Secretary Eastern Province, Sri Lanka) met with RMIT researchers and representatives from Australian local councils.
A series of actions and pilot projects were developed during the visit, including a waste management collaboration between RMIT and two Sri Lankan universities.
Waste poses a major health issue in Sri Lanka, where illegal dumping and waste pollution are rampant.
“Scientific advice about waste treatment options from RMIT experts won’t just improve locals’ lives, it could help save them,” Setunge said.
Additional opportunities identified for collaboration include:
- using RMIT designed CAMS software for asset management
- collaborative research training
- consultation on road construction
- water treatment knowledge sharing
- vulnerability modelling for key infrastructure threatened by disaster and climate change.
RMIT is now working with local governments in Australia and Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan universities and the Sri Lankan Consulate General in Melbourne to implement an action plan based on the outcomes of visit.
“This initiative is an excellent example of research with impact,” Setunge said.
“I’m proud to be part of something which has the potential to deliver benefits to Victorian and global communities.”
Story: James Giggacher