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Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena assists Sri Lankan workers in Italy

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has taken the initiative to assist Sri Lankan workers in Italy to benefit from the amnesty granted by Italian authorities under the ‘SANTATORIA 2020’ programme from 01 June to 15 August 2020.

Taking into consideration the difficulties faced by Sri Lankan workers in the COVID-19 context, Minister Gunawardena has taken steps to waive off penalty fees for lack of documentation for workers applying for Sri Lankan passports and has brought down the fees to Euro 140 (from Euro 330 and Euro 420). This initiative will benefit an estimated 20,000 Sri Lankan workers currently staying in Italy who will be able to afford to apply for visas to work in Italy after obtaining their Sri Lankan passports.

Ministry of Foreign Relations                                                                                                                                                       


21 July 2020

President honoured for leading an eco-friendly Presidential Election campaign

Saturday, 18 July 2020

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been awarded the “Zero Carbon Certificate” presented for first ever “Zero Carbon Presidential Election Campaign” in the world conducted with community participation.

Members of the Committee for Environment Policy Formulation of “Saubhagyaye Dekma” (Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour) policy statement presented the certificate to the President at the Presidential Secretariat today (16).

The Sustainable Future Group accredited to issue certificates on greenhouse gas management has confirmed that the Presidential Campaign of President Rajapaksa maintained environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emission at zero level. This Group is recognized by the Sri Lanka Accreditation Board which has gained international recognition in the field of greenhouse gas assessment.

President declares 2021 – 2030 the Decade of Skills Development

Thursday, 16 July 2020
  • Aims to ensure every student has access to higher education and reduce unskilled labour to 10%

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has declared 2021-2030 the Decade of Skills Development in Sri Lanka. The move is expected to herald a transformational phase of educational reform and skills development for the nation in line with the government’s national policy framework, ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’.

The Decade of Skills Development builds on the success of Sri Lanka spearheading the adoption of World Youth Skills Day which was established through a proposal presented to the United Nations General Assembly in 2014 by the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during his tenure as the President. The action plan for the Decade of Skills Development focuses on cultivating next generation skills in line with global trends and the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Decade of Skills Development is expected to transform the general, higher and professional education and vocational education sectors in Sri Lanka in order to reduce the population of unskilled labour to 10%, create global technocrats and position Sri Lanka as the epicenter for human resource development in Asia by creating a digital, future-fit citizenry who will drive the development agenda of the country. Transforming the education sector is also expected to generate revenue for the country by attracting both foreign investments and international students, and increasing foreign remittances brought in by skilled migrant workers.

‘World Youth Skills Day 2020’ celebrated by the UN Headquarters in New York

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic period must be utilized to have a positive effect on TVET skills development and life-long learning, and these new solutions for teaching and learning could bring the much needed innovation to education and training systems particularly in the developing world, observed Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Relations, Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations at the opening of the commemoration event of the ‘World Youth Skills Day 2020’

Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Relations, Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations delivering a message during the virtual event held at the UN to commemorate the World Youth Skills Day 2020

Opening of Special Deposit Accounts in Sri Lankan Banks

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Further to the invitation extended to overseas Sri Lankans, including dual citizens and well-wishers, to open Special Deposit Accounts (SDA) in Sri Lankan banks and the announcement by the Government of Sri Lanka regarding the relaxation of foreign exchange restrictions with regard to such accounts, the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka is pleased to provide the following information regarding the representatives of the Bank of Ceylon and the Indian Bank, who have been authorized to facilitate Sri Lankans living abroad to open SDAs in their respective banks:

Foreign Minister outlines Sri Lanka’s Digital Responses to COVID -19

Friday, 03 July 2020

Statement by Minister of Foreign Relations of Sri Lanka - 1st July 2020 'Close the Digital Divides the Digital Respons

Visionary political leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the effective use of technology in a whole – of – government approach has enabled Sri Lanka to control the COVID-19 and a wide range of pandemic related issues - said Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena addressing the Virtual Ministerial Conference on ‘Close the Digital Divides: the Digital Response to COVID-19’.

The Conference jointly organized by Estonia and Singapore on 1 July 2020 was attended by Ministers and representatives from over 60 countries.


The United Nations marks 20 years of the Commemoration of the International Day of Vesak

Thursday, 02 July 2020

The United Nations in New York belatedly commemorated the International Day of Vesak virtually on 2nd July 2020. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prevented Member States from gathering at the UN General Assembly Hall to celebrate this occasion, as in previous years. Rescheduling to July was also not without significance, as it was on the full moon day of this month that the Buddha preached his first Dhamma sermon.

The event, organized by the Permanent Missions of Sri Lanka and Thailand, featured a keynote message from Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Relations of Sri Lanka. Highlighting the value of Buddhism during this time of unprecedented global insecurity created by the pandemic, the Minister stated that the Buddha’s teachings could be a guide through this haze of uncertainty, towards light. He upheld that the practice of the four virtues of loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity could ease the sufferings of mankind and generate trust and understanding. Minister Gunawardena outlined that the Dhamma is not only a religion but also a philosophy on the way of life, symbolized by a Path of Knowledge with its’ goal being the destruction of ignorance, characterized, among others, by the futility of the egoistic notion.

Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Relations, delivering a message during the virtual belated commemoration of the Day of Vesak at the UN

Foreign Secretary Aryasinha says “future footprint of foreign employment Sri Lanka will provide the world, though probably smaller, could be smarter and more sustainable”

Wednesday, 01 July 2020

Full Speech

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha has observed that despite its immediate gloom, the present situation has been an eye opener in many respects that could help correct structural, procedural and human interface incongruities in Sri Lanka’s labour migration. It also presents an opportunity for Sri Lanka to re-orient foreign employment in a post-Covid-19 world, sensitive to the ground realities in both Sri Lanka and the migrant labour receiving countries, so that the future footprint of Foreign Employment Sri Lanka will provide the world – though probably Smaller, could be Smarter and more Sustainable.

The Foreign Secretary made these observations when he addressed the 33rd Annual Session of the Organization of Professional Associations (OPA) via a video link, on the theme “The Role of Foreign Employment in the Economic Revival of Sri Lanka; Challenges and Opportunities”.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated this year’s Annual OPA Session held on 27-28 June 2020 as a Digital Conference, on the theme ‘Bounce Back–Disasters and Opportunities”.