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Statement by Hon. Foreign Minister at the High-Level segment of ECOSOC 2021

Friday, 16 July 2021

Video Message of Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Foreign Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Mr. President, Excellencies, Dear Friends,

The Government of His Excellency the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has placed priority to achieving SDGs through the national policy framework “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor”.

For the past months, Sri Lanka prioritized pandemic control whilst keeping the economy resilient to multiple impacts of lockdowns, including social and economic disparities.                            

Through an emergency relief plan, informal sector employees and micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were given financial and material assistance as well as low interest working capital, reduced tax policy rates, several concessionary refinancing programs. Approximately, (06) million families have benefited from such assistance. Staff retrenchment by the private sector were kept to a minimum whilst ensuring minimum wages during lockdowns.

In line with the presidential initiative on ‘climate resilience and green economy’ there will be a shift to a focus towards food security centric agriculture production, renewable energy. Business models to adopt the 3R concept, Reduce Reuse and Recycle, will be promoted towards embedding circularity principle in production processes.

To ensure food security and an inclusive, sustainable transformation of the agriculture sector, Sri Lanka decided to discontinue imports of chemical fertilizer with the aim of guaranteeing to all Sri Lankans the right of access to a non-toxic, balanced diet.

The share of renewable energy will be increased to 70% of Sri Lanka’s total energy mix by 2030. Towards this end, 7,000 rural solar power plants and two large scale wind power plants will be built.

The Government has partnered with telecommunication providers to ensure undisrupted functioning of the education sector. Five techno parks are being set up across Sri Lanka to assist IT based business operations. Incentives have been given to improve vocational education.

We are also strengthening connectivity through construction of new expressways connecting main cities with the provinces.

I believe this Forum would provide us opportunity to reinforce solidarity and partnership needed to achieve a sustainable future as envisaged by 2030 Agenda.

Thank you!