The Hon. Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife, delivered two statements at the General Debate of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) 2016 and the High-Level Segment of ECOSOC, on 18th July 2016.
The first statement was delivered on behalf of G-15, in Sri Lanka’s capacity as the Chair of the Group. The second statement was Sri Lanka’s national statement at the General Debate.
The full texts of the statements are as follows:
National Statement of Sri Lanka at the General Debate of the High-level Segment of ECOSOC
Delivered by Hon. Gamini Jayawickrama Perera
Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife
18th July 2016, New York
Sri Lanka is very happy to be represented at the first High Level Political Forum since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
As the first country in the Asia-Pacific Region to establish a Ministry for Sustainable Development, and as the current Chair of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, Sri Lanka now is in a unique leadership position to champion transformation to sustainable development.
Towards facilitating the transformation, a National Sustainable Development Act in conformity with the SDGs will be tabled in the Parliament of Sri Lanka within a month. The objective of this new act is to formulate a National Policy and Strategy on Sustainable Development and provide the legal and institutional framework for developing and implementing it. The Act will mandate ministries, provincial councils, local governments and all public sector agencies to prepare sustainable development strategies and carry out audits and provide annual progress reports based on a set of sustainable development standards, guidelines and indicators.
My Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife has commenced formulating a “National Sustainable Development Roadmap” under the theme of “Planning for an Inclusive Transformation”. To ensure no one if left behind we launched the “National and Provincial Sustainable Development Engagement Platforms” bringing together representation from political, administrative, local government, civil society, academia, business, development agencies and women and youth. We will soon initiate formulating “Regional Sustainability Plans” that will provide key input to the Roadmap.
We have been developing a systems linkages mapping between and amongst the 169 targets and the 400 plus mandated implementing agencies to help define the roles and responsibilities of implementing the SDGs and assessing the capacity building and means of implementation. The ultimate goal of Sri Lanka is to create a model of implementing the SDGs in three phases; 2017 to 2020, 2020 to 2025, and 2025 to 2030.
Arahat Mahinda, son of Great Emperor Asoka, in his historical preaching to King Devanampiyatissa of Lanka in 300BC said; “O great king, the birds of the air and the beasts have as equal a right to live and move about in any part of the land as thou. The land belongs to the people and all living beings; thou art only the guardian of it”. The king then declared the entire land of Lanka as a sanctuary. This is the very philosophical context of ecological rights that my ministry has been founded upon.
In conclusion, let me reiterate again that the prosperity of humans depends on the survival of the planet. Time is running out and we must act fast to ensure that no one is left behind!
Thank you, Mr. President.
G-15 Joint Statement to the ECOSOC High-level Segment
“Implementing the post-2015 development agenda: moving from commitments to results”
Delivered by Hon. Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife of Sri Lanka
18th July 2016, New York
1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of Fifteen (G-15), a Group of Developing Countries focused on South-South cooperation and collaboration for the realization of development and economic progress, especially in the areas of investment, trade, and technology.
2. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by our leaders in September 2015 is a plan of action for the ‘people, planet and prosperity’ built on the three pillars of social, economic and environment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The G-15 appreciates the adoption of the new Development Agenda and our Foreign Ministers have identified the 2030 Agenda as a key global process for the G-15 to be involved and contribute to its implementation as a niche Group of the Global South. As the 2030 Agenda comes into effect this year, setting new global norms for development in the next 15 years, we welcome this first review which would allow for comprehensive assessment of the needs and charter the way forward in the implementation phase of the Agenda.
3. The G-15 views the 2030 Agenda as a milestone in humanity’s progress, seizing on the opportunity to build on the Millennium Development Goals while recognizing and overcoming the shortcomings of that process. The Group affirms that multilateral processes such as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development is an integral part of the implementation of the Development Agenda and welcomes the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Forum on Financing for Development Follow-Up which was convened in New York in April this year. The G-15 acknowledges the need to discuss the follow-up and review of the financing for development outcomes and the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In that context, the Group welcomes the forum as a platform for policy dialogue on financing for development follow-up to assess progress, identify challenges and facilitate the delivery of the means of implementation. The Group further affirms that other multilateral frameworks such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Climate Change Agreement, augment the SDGs and a holistic approach in implementing these multilateral frameworks will be critical in achieving the desired results of sustainable development.
4.The G-15 further recognises the significant role that the ECOSOC has to play in the implementation phase of the Development Agenda. The high-level segment which is themed this year 'Implementing the post-2015 development agenda: moving from commitments to results” will provide an opportunity to lay a solid foundation on the necessary mechanisms to assess the progress of the implementation phase of the Agenda. The G-15 reiterates that such a follow-up and review mechanism should reaffirm national sovereignty.
5. The Group further affirms that eradication of poverty must remain at the centre of our endeavours. While acknowledging that the primary responsibility of implementation of the ambitious 2030 Agenda lies with the respective governments, it is a fact that most developing and least developed countries will face a greater challenge in operationalizing the agreed commitments, given the national resource constraints. In this context, the global partnerships should be intensified from the MDG era, and our Group hopes that the commitments made in the new Development Agenda in mobilizing financial resources and capacity building to developing countries and the reaffirmed commitments by developed countries to achieve Official Development Assistance targets (ODAs) would be operationalized sustainably, in order for developing countries to keep on par with the required progress.
6.The G-15 calls for meaningful technology transfers in order to achieve the stated goals under the Development Agenda, particularly with regard to renewable energy that would address the growing concerns of climate change. The Group reiterates its previous call for a meaningful Technology Facilitation Mechanism which must be an integral element in the implementation of the Agenda, and the Group therefore strongly supports a technology facilitation mechanism that promotes the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies.