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Statement by H.E. Mohan Pieris, PRUN at the Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee) General Debate

Monday, 03 October 2022
H.E. Mr. Mohan Pieris
New York

77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee) General Debate
Statement by H.E. Mohan Pieris, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
03 October 2022

Madam Chair, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

Allow me at the outset, Madam Chair, to congratulate you and the members of the Bureau on your election to lead this very important Committee. Be assured of Sri Lanka’s fullest support to achieve success on the work on our agenda.

Sri Lanka also aligns itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Madam Chair,

We are gathered here at a time the world faces a multitude of complex and interlocking challenges, further exacerbated by the Pandemic and the global crises; at a time ‘the only certainty is more uncertainty’, as the Secretary General has correctly pointed out.

As the Committee responsible for matters relating to economic growth and development; financing for development; sustainable development; globalization and interdependence; eradication of poverty; operational activities for development; agriculture development, food security and nutrition; information and communications technologies for development; and
environment, we all have a task at hand to explore actionable outcomes through our deliberations during this session. In this context, Sri Lanka welcomes the theme for this session ‘transforming political commitments into actions for sustainable recovery – rebuilding a sustainable future for all,’ which is very timely.

Madam Chair,

We all heard the political commitments for sustainable recovery by our leaders during the High- Level Week concluded recently. We need to appreciate that the deepening inequalities both within and between states have affected the developing countries and their economies, including Sri Lanka. Governments are faced with the challenge in debt servicing and compelled to defaulting their payments, as they do not have adequate access to capital. This has resulted in people facing extreme poverty, unemployment, and hunger. Regardless of our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, our collective ability to realise them have become an extreme challenge.

Therefore, economic recovery should be the priority on our agenda. This is perhaps the reason why ‘no poverty’ is considered the SDG 1 in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Madam Chair,

More than to recover, even to sustain, economies such as Sri Lanka’s, need immediate rapid financing. Sri Lanka has been calling our creditors for debt restructuring, greater access to finances and enhanced Official Development Assistance. While we note with appreciation, the progress in some bilateral engagements relating to debt restructuring, there is still the need of a more efficient engagement and robust role to be played by the International Financial Institutions.

Sri Lanka also underlines the importance of South South Cooperation, in this regard, in this process of building back better.
Domestically, we have realized that this is an opportune moment to build a more just, sustainable, and prosperous future for our people, and therefore it is envisaged to implement political, social and economic reforms that are integrally needed to lead our recovery efforts. Sri Lanka is thankful for our regional and international partners and looks forward to the continued support of them, including that of the United Nations.

Madam Chair,

As we recover, we also need to ensure that our planet is safer and greener, as the future of the humankind cannot be compromised. Sri Lanka, which is a climate-vulnerable country, has been adversely affected by the climate change, spilling its effects over our socio-economic progress, food security and livelihoods. This is not a national problem: it is a global one, which requires global solutions. The largest emitters of greenhouse gases must fulfil their commitments and assist other nations to adapt and mitigate climate risks.

In this context, Sri Lanka reiterates its pledge to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. We have also updated our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted to the UNFCCC aiming to reduce emissions and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Madam Chair, Distinguished Delegates,

As an island nation, Sri Lanka always places high importance on the protection of our oceans. We are acutely conscious on the impact of pollution and climate change on oceans as well as the ample resources the oceans can provide for the sustenance on the land. Sri Lanka is committed to the sustainable use of the oceans and its resources and to achieve the SDG 14.

In this context, I am pleased to recall the proclamation of March 1st as World Seagrass Day by the General Assembly this year, which is an initiative led by Sri Lanka. We are also thankful for our co-sponsors and the Assembly for adopting the resolution by consensus, recognizing the importance of Seagrass as a carbon sink which contributes to the sustainability of the marine environment.
Madam Chair,

We need to also explore actionable outcomes for ending hunger. Given the economic circumstances, the food and nutrition security are at great risk, and my country is taking its best efforts to heed these impacts. Being historically an agricultural nation, we support sustainable transformation of agriculture to a modernized sector encouraging enhanced food production for self-sufficiency. Our national food security programme aims to ensure that our people do not suffer for the want of food and our children are safe from malnutrition. Sri Lanka also appreciates the selfless assistance extended by the UN agencies and our friendly countries to ensure food security in Sri Lanka, during this need of hour.

Despite all these challenges, we are committed to provide quality education and free health care for all, which we recognize as the core of Sri Lanka’s social protection policies. We are also committed to increase access to digital technologies, especially for our children in the post- pandemic programme of access to education.

Madam Chair,

In conclusion, Sri Lanka recommits to endeavour the progress achieved relating to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To build a sustainable future for all, we need to set aside our differences and commit ourselves to finding solutions to overcome this crisis. There is no room for narrow nationalism. And I believe, this Committee, spearheaded by your able leadership will respond to this call in ample measure.

I thank you!