High –Level SDG Action Event
SDG Financing Lab
H. E. Dr. A. Rohan Perera, Ambassador and
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
18th April 2017
Thank you for convening this High-level Event to strengthen the momentum on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
In a context where financing has become a critical component of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, this Event would provide an opportunity to follow-up on the commitments that we have made by agreeing on the 2030 Agenda itself, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement.
Although the adoption of SDGs was a landmark achievement, financing remains a key challenge to implement them at national level, for developing countries such as Sri Lanka. In this context, we welcome the SDG Financing Lab, which aims to increase awareness among Member States of the significant business opportunities provided by the SDGs, and provides opportunities for interaction between Member States and private sector actors involved in SDG implementation.
Sri Lanka is utilizing a mix of public, private and innovative finance options at present to achieve its development objectives, in keeping with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
In this regard, financing for financial inclusion remains a priority in the sustainable development agenda of our government. Sri Lanka’s National Policy Framework for SME Development adopts a holistic approach with policy interventions identified in the areas of environment, technology and innovation, entrepreneurship, access to finance, market facilitation and research.
With a view to financing the implementation of different SDGs, starting from the grass-root level, access to finance is facilitated through interest subsidy schemes, refinance facilities and credit guarantee programs for farmers and entrepreneurs. It is also pertinent to mention that our national strategy for financial inclusion entails community based multi-stakeholder business models to overcome collateral issues, and financial assistance for small and medium green enterprises (SMGEs) to promote commercial scale organic agriculture.
Sri Lanka also has potential to channel development finance through active participation in carbon emission trading. Sri Lanka’s carbon footprint is negligible with 0.62 metric tons of carbon dioxide emission per capita. Emission reductions can generate income through carbon credit sales. The establishment of the Sri Lanka Carbon Fund has enabled organizations to achieve carbon neutrality.
We have also recognized the importance of strengthening domestic resource mobilization as a lucrative means of financing SDG implementation. Strengthening domestic resource mobilization would entail pruning bloated public sector balances while encouraging private sector participation in financing. Policy action, aiming at a lower deficit with restrained expenditure and higher revenue mobilization on the back of tax reforms, is being undertaken by Sri Lanka to create the required fiscal space to achieve SDGs.
While all the action areas identified in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda are important in securing financial flows to achieve long-term sustainable development objectives, international development financing still plays a critical role in a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development. Hence, the importance of Official Development Assistance as a key means of financing for developing states remains largely valid.
And, finally, we look forward to hear from other Member States on their strategies in financing SDGs, and to learn from their experience.
I thank you, Mr. President.