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Statement byto be delivered by H.E. Mohan Pieris, Ambassador/PRUN of Sri Lanka under the Item 25 (Social Development) of the General Discussion of the Third Committee

Friday, 30 September 2022
H.E. Mr. Mohan Pieris
New York

77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Statement to be delivered by H.E. Mohan Pieris, Ambassador/PRUN of Sri Lanka under the Item 25 (Social Development) of the General Discussion of the Third Committee


Thank you, Mr. Chair.

My delegation takes this opportunity to extend warm felicitations to you and the members of the bureau and assure our fullest support and cooperation during this session. My delegation aligns itself with the statement made by Pakistan on behalf of the G-77 and China.

It is an accepted fact that the world faces an unprecedented setback in socio-economic development since the second world war, and the decades of gains and untold resources risk being wiped away if we do not act as one of urgency. There is a call today for visionary action, solidarity, multi-national cooperation and above all else, transformation, and that our  efforts must be equally reinforcing if we are to overcome them.

Today we are meeting at a juncture where the multiple impacts of the pandemic has been especially severe on the developing countries. The twin problems of access to vaccines and a reversal of development gains even in countries where the pandemic has been relatively well managed, has placed the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals at a considerable risk. We find ourselves in a situation where poverty, unemployment and social exclusion continue to be rampant and unabated across the globe.  This seems to be the new normal that we are forced to contend with.

In a close second, Social Development is undergoing a challenging period due to a number of reasons stemming from unequal access to vaccines, increased food insecurity and malnutrition, disruption of global health care systems, job-losses, widening of gender employment gap, digital divide and many more. We must join forces and harness the potential of digital technology for speeding up the global transition to sustainable development that provides for inclusive respect to human rights and human dignity. Added to this, ongoing conflicts on different parts of the world has had devastating impacts on the countries dependent on food imports from countries in conflict and thereby created food insecurity and shortages impacting the poorest and most vulnerable people across the globe.

Mr. Chair,

Against this backdrop, we fervently believe that the agreed theme for the 61st session of the Commission of Social Development “Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a way of overcoming inequalities to accelerate the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development” is indeed a timely topic that the world should focus on.

We commend the Secretary General’s Common Agenda report which focuses on the depth of the issues that we are facing today in the context of Social Development. It is noteworthy that central focus has been in Our Common Agenda to the core areas of Social Development which include placing women and girls at the center, improving digital cooperation and ensuring sustainable financing. We believe that successfully overcoming the triple issues of vaccine inequity, climate change and overhaul of the “morally bankrupt” international financial system are a sine qua non in building back better.

Mr. Chair,

Assisted by our bilateral partners and the COVAX facility, Sri Lanka’s nationwide strategy of containment of COVID-19 has been largely successful and has been acknowledged as such by the World Health Organization. Sri Lanka has performed exceptionally well in with regard to the COVID 19 vaccination drive, exceeding WHO targets and achieving a coverage of 97% for the first dose, 82% for the second dose and 55% for the third dose, respectively, of the targeted population above the age of 12 years.

Mr. Chair,

Poverty and hunger are the twin outcomes, of not just the pandemic and the new normal it has created, but also of the inequities and power relations that continue to characterize our world today. As a developing country, Sri Lanka considers sustainability as the cornerstone of its national policy framework. We believe that this experience would be a catalyst in boosting Sri Lanka’s confidence towards addressing the challenges to get on track for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda. On the way towards this endeavor, Sri Lanka is following on improving the productivity levels of all sectors which include agriculture, industry and services, knowing that our strength lies in the human resources that we are blessed with.

In the above context and as a measure to safeguard the vulnerable segments of populations in the face of the looming economic crisis, the government has launched a number of programmes which include bolstering support to education, strengthening the health sector, provision of essential items as cash transfers and in-kind grants to the needy sections of the society.


As we return to the realities of the new normal, it is imperative that we build resilience through hope. Sri Lanka remains committed to work together with the international community in a spirit of true cooperation, generosity, goodwill, and mutual respect to foster a better and more sustainable future for all humanity. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets out an ambitious global vision: to reach and empower all, including the under-privileged and the vulnerable. Sri Lanka remains steadfast to realize this aspiration and to use social development as a tool to achieve this target.

We must appreciate that a new social contract must be drawn up to address the root causes of inequality and vulnerability, prioritize equal opportunities and close the gaps between the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. Chair,

There is no time for hesitancy. We must exploit the triple crisis to our advantage as it reminds us of the huge role the social development plays in protecting the lives of people and livelihood as well as the very existence of our planet.

I thank you