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Mission of Sri Lanka co-hosts side event on “Race to Zero Carbon” organized by the NGO for Sustainability

Wednesday, 06 March 2019

Opening remarks by Dr. Rohan Perera, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations

At the side event on “Race to Zero Carbon” organized by the NGO for Sustainability, co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of

Sri Lanka and Kenya to the United Nations

1.15 – 2.30 pm, CR 3, United Nations Headquarters, New York


Ambassador Koki Muli Grignon, Deputy Permanent Representative of Kenya

Ms. Roma Stibravy, President of the NGO for Sustainability

Dr. Chuck Kutscher and Ms. Romany Webb, distinguished guest speakers

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,


Let me at the outset congratulate the NGO for Sustainability and particularly its dynamic President Roma Stibravy, for organizing this timely and important event on the “Race to Zero Carbon.”  Sri Lanka is proud to co-host this event together with the Permanent Mission of Kenya. The topic of today’s event is of extreme relevance and constitutes the main focus of several forthcoming UN high level meetings, particularly the ECOSOC High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July, the SDG Summit to be held in September and COP25 of the UNFCCC to be held in Chile in November.

Our association with the NGO for Sustainability goes back several years and we have been happy to collaborate with them on many events on sustainable development issues. Our fruitful co-operation has been driven by our shared aspiration towards building a more sustainable planet for all – a vision that we share with our fellow Member States and the UN system.


Ladies and gentlemen,

I will not speak much on zero carbon, as there are two very eminent experts here to enlighten us about this very important subject.  However, let me highlight, very briefly, the importance that Sri Lanka attaches to this crucial issue and the steps we have taken in our race towards achieving zero carbon. 

Sri Lanka is no stranger to the impacts of climate change, such as floods, droughts and cyclones, which have had a tremendous impact on our people and economy.  We are 4th in the Global Climate Risk Index for 2018. The annual losses due to climate induced disasters were estimated at 1,623 million USD in 2017.

We in Sri Lanka have been acutely aware that agricultural activities are a key contributor towards global warming.  Like Kenya, we are one of the largest global producers of tea. This is an area where Sri Lanka is seeking to reduce its carbon footprint and foster sustainable practices in our tea industry.  We are adopting organic cultivation, moving towards the zero use of fertilizers, weedicides and pesticides.  Steps are being taken to prevent soil erosion in tea plantations, conserve the utilization of water, promote re-forestation and encourage tea factories to adopt eco-friendly processes. 

As a tropical island located in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka also has enormous potential for renewable energy such as solar power, wind power and hydropower.  In seeking to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel for energy, Sri Lanka is increasingly adopting renewable energy sources and has built several wind farms, solar power stations, wind power stations and biomass power stations across the country. The most successful and widespread have been hydro power, with a number of large scale and mini hydro projects. In addition to the government, the private sector too is playing an important role to reduce carbon emissions.


Ladies and gentlemen,

Combatting climate change and global warming is a collective global effort. Sri Lanka is party to key multilateral treaties relating to climate change, including the Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC, and we are steadfast in our commitment to the obligations flowing from them. We will continue to support all international initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint on this planet and build a sustainable world for the future generations.

Thank you

H.E. Dr. Rohan Perera, Ambassador & Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, delivers opening remarks at the "Race to Zero Carbon" event