Mr. Sagala Ratnayake, Minister of Youth Affairs, Project Management and Southern Development was in New York last week, invited by the United Nations to serve as a briefer at the first ever United Nations Security Council Arria Formula Meeting on the subject of ‘Maritime Crime as a Threat to International Peace and Security’.
Minister Sagala Ratnayake delivering remarks during the Security Council Arria formula meeting hedl at the Un on 13 June 2018. Mrs. Sonali Samarasinghe, Minister, Permanent Mission Sri Lanka also attended
The meeting held on 13 June 2018 was organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) together with the permanent missions of Equatorial Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, the Netherlands and the United States. The event which was very well attended including by all representatives of the Security Council member states, brought special focus to the threat posed by maritime crime and trafficking at sea, in particular piracy and armed robbery, drug trafficking, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons.
A group photo with Permanent Representatives of Security council Member States and briefers at the UNSC Arria Formula Meeting on 13 June 2018 at the United Nations in New York
Minister Ratnayake in his presentation noted that the government of Sri Lanka, was delighted with the decision of the Global Maritime Crime Programme of UNODC to relocate the Head of the Programme and his expert team to Sri Lanka, to run global programming across the Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Mediterranean and Caribbean from offices in Colombo.
“Sri Lanka, especially with its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, is without doubt the perfect location to run a global programme on maritime crime,” the minister said.
He recalled that in October 2016, as the then Law and Order minister, he had the privilege of convening in Colombo, the High Level Meeting of Interior Ministers of the Indian Ocean Region, in partnership with the Global Maritime Crime Programme of UNODC, where the “Colombo Declaration” was adopted for the establishment of the Southern Route Partnership (SRP), as a collective arrangement to counter drug trafficking in the Indian Ocean. The thinking behind the Colombo Declaration the Minister explained, “was to form a strong partnership that will decisively disrupt the flow of drugs in the Indian Ocean.”
“Since then, the Southern Route Partnership has grown from strength to strength supported by the Global Maritime Crime Programme of UNODC. In July 2017, Sri Lanka was once again privileged to host the Southern Route Partnership - Heads of Drug Law Enforcement Agencies Meeting in Colombo. The Heads of Drug Law Enforcement Agencies agreed to increase maritime surveillance during the inter-monsoonal period when dhow traffic increases.” The Minister said.
Minister Ratnayake also held several bilateral meetings on the side lines of the Security Council briefing to discuss matters of mutual interest including with UN Assistant Secretary General Ms. Michèle Coninsx, Executive Director of the United Nations Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate, Mr. Alan Cole Head of the Global Maritime Crime Programme, UNODC and Ms. Kanni Wignarajah, Director, UN Development Operations Coordination Office. (ENDS)
Minister Sagala Ratnayake meets with Assistant Secretary General Michèle Coninsx, Executive Director of the United Nations Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate
Minister Sagala Ratnayake meets Kanni Wignarajah, Director, UN Development Operations Coordination Office.