Statement by H.E. Mohan Pieris, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN
“Our Common Agenda”
Thematic Consultation 4
Protecting our planet and being prepared for the future
3 March 2022
When we look around us One cannot but ask the question whether our Our Common Agenda report to “Protect our planet and prepare for the future is given a fair chance to succeed. I implore that we think about it if we want it to succeed.
First, on ‘Future Generations’, SL wishes to emphasize that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an agreed framework with the goal of safeguarding the planet and its people “so that it can meet the needs of current and future generations.” We also believe that the principles of global solidarity, shared responsibility and multilateral cooperation are essential to ensure the prosperity of current and future generations. The youth of today like to see a greater appreciation of the notion of Inter generational Trust by our elders. They like to see role models of a good parent , a good husband, a good teacher, a good employer and most of all good and fair governance in the hands of us elders.They are our future. They want to succeed to a healthy planet. They are crying for the aggression to stop. They insist the temperature be brought down.
The establishment of forums and instruments to safeguard the interest of future generations’ should avoid duplications of existing processes and forums, and enhance synergies with the existing UN systems and intergovernmental organs. We request more information on the interoperability of “Proposed Futures Laboratory” and the “Office of Special Envoy for Future Generations’ and also request elaboration on modalities for the development of a Declaration on Future Generations.
Second, on ‘Climate Finance and transition’ the world is in the midst of a climate emergency that is exceeding our ability to respond. Recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that global warming is expected to reach at least 1.5 degrees in the near term if current trends continue, posing serious threats to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, and economic growth. As developed countries have produced the majority share of GHG emissions, the developed countries should bear primary responsibilities, and also the principles of equity and “Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC)” should not be forgotten.We cannot leave behind a wounded planet.
We appreciate the recognition of climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building in the OCA report, but the Glasgow Agreement must serve as the cornerstone for the future discussions on climate change. Sri Lanka reaffirms its commitment for 70% of its energy to be obtained from renewable energy sources by 2030, with the long term goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Can we ask that global finance which is applied for the proliferation of aggression be applied for the alleviation of poverty hunger, for education and the millions of the vulnerable and disadvantaged and to assist developing countries to build back better so that none of them will be left behind.
Third, on ‘Biodiversity’, Sri Lanka notes with appreciation the recommendations contained in the report relating to biodiversity. Biodiversity is key to food security and nutrition and contributes to the achievement of SDG 2 to end hunger. As a country rich in biodiversity, we look forward to the adoption of a post-2020 biodiversity framework that contributes to the 2030 Agenda, and the vision of living in harmony with nature by 2050. Sri Lanka is committed to enhance forest cover by 32% by 2030 and reduce greenhouse emission. In the context of food systems, the Government of Sri Lanka took the bold step to ban chemical fertilizers which will sustainably transform its food systems to ensure greater food security.
Fourth, on “Global Vaccination plan and pandemic preparedness” Sri Lanka believes that vaccines should be declared as global public good. While supporting the Secretary General’s plan to at least double the production of vaccines and ensure equitable distribution, using the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility as the platform, Sri Lanka calls on all nations to work together to expedite universal vaccination production for the benefit of humanity. Sri Lanka has offered vaccination to every citizen above the age of twelve and as at 15 February 2022, 95 percent of the eligible population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. However, Sri Lanka shares the view that immunization programs should be rolled out whilst engaging with the serious problem of vaccine hesitancy. We must make sure that we never have another man made Pandemic that threatens human life and calls for an appropriate special resolution by this august body to give us inhabitants that assurance because it threatens our very right to life.
In conclusion, Sri Lanka reiterates its unwavering support and is ready to continue to constructively engage in these thematic consultations.