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Sri Lanka Mission in New York hosts first annual World Seagrass Day event

Thursday, 02 March 2023

Sri Lanka Mission in New York hosts first annual World Seagrass Day event

The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in New York organized a virtual event to celebrate the first World Seagrass Day today (1 March 2023).  This Day was designated through the adoption by consensus the General Assembly Resolution on World Seagrass Day sponsored by Sri Lanka, on 23 May 2022. This resolution was also cosponsored by 24 other member states.

The virtual programme hosted by the Permanent Mission in New York featured a key-note presentation by Dr. Maria Potouroglou of the World Seagrass Association, who led the first ever global seagrass report 'Out of the Blue: The Value of Seagrasses to the Environment and to People', initiated by UN Environment Programme. She focused on the contribution of this lesser known, but vital oceanic eco-system, to preserving life on the planet. Dr Potouroglou’s presentation was preceded by an intervention by Ligia Noronha, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head of UNEP, New York Office. Participation in the programme included Heads of Mission and Deputy Heads of Mission from like-minded countries and co-sponsors of the resolution.

Ambassador Mohan Peiris, Permanent Representative in New York, commencing the programme spoke of the necessity to take action to mitigate climate change to ensure that the richness of the planet inherited by the youth and children of the future remains intact. He noted that the world is reaching a stage in which the debates on sustainable development, human rights, peace and security and on other topics could be relegated to the backburner, with one catastrophic event caused by climate change.

Noting the names of several persons from the government and non-governmental sectors who collaborated to bring this eco-system to the attention of the international community, Ms Hasanthi Dissanayake, former Director General of the Ocean Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who joined the event, stated that this achievement is an example of state and non-state actor cooperation towards positive action. Dr Potouroglou agreed that this is demonstrative that every country needs a seagrass champion to build awareness and push states towards action.

The Sri Lanka sponsored UNGA resolution on World Seagrass Day has attracted global interest, with many countries and communities being sensitized to the importance of this vital eco-system. Sri Lanka also spearheaded the UN Global Campaign on Sustainable Nitrogen Management in 2019, addressing a major cause for biodiversity loss and habitat destruction, as well as leading the Commonwealth Action Group on Mangrove Restoration. Sri Lanka’s commitment to building global consensus resulting in tangible action to mitigate climate change is demonstrated by these initiatives.

Event can be accessed at: https://youtu.be/EvqIEu6eAto

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
New York
1 March 2023