Tuesday, 09 October 2018
Statement made by Mr. Satya Rodrigo,
Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka
to the United Nations
At the General Debate of the Second Committee
73rd Session of the UNGA
9th October 2018
At the outset, let me extend my delegation's warmest congratulations to you and the other Members of the Bureau on your election and assure you of our support to ensure a successful and productive outcome to this Committee's deliberations.
My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of Egypt on behalf of the G-77 and China.
- In 2015, we came together to adopt the 2030 Development Agenda, a roadmap that would ensure prosperity for all. In a future where no one Is left behind.
- Three years on, our collective ambition has transformed Into national plans and policies, with strong commitment to achieve the goals we set out for ourselves. Our efforts are beginning to bear fruit. The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 Indicates that extreme poverty has declined and people are living healthier lives than a decade ago. Our forests and eco systems have greater protection. Labour productivity has Increased, unemployment Is on the decline and steady progress has been made In the manufacturing sector.
- Yet, many challenges prevail. Global hunger Is on the rise, gender Inequality continues to hinder development, many cities around the world face the challenge of rapid urbanization, too many people still lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Climate change and conflict, continue to be two of the greatest challenges faced by mankind.
- The deadline to achieve the SDG goals Is fast approaching but we have failed to make progress at the required pace to achieve the SDGs within the next 12 years.
- Sri Lanka is weil aware of the need to accelerate action on achieving the SDGs. We have launched several initiatives to realize the goals set in the 2030 Development Agenda. These include the establishment of a separate Ministry for Sustainable Development, tasked with coordinating, facilitating and reporting on the implementation of the SDGs; the establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee on SDGs to provide political leadership for the implementation of SDGs and the enactment of the Sustainable Development Act no 19 of 2017 to provide the legal framework for the implementation of the SDGs.
- The current policy framework of the country also illustrates Sri Lanka's commitment to the three pillars of the SDGs. The country's long term strategic plan "Vision 2025" envisions a stable, peaceful and prosperous country for all its citizens while the mid-term plan "Public Investment Programme 2017-2020" is aligned with the SDGs.
- In line with the provisions of the 2030 Development Agenda, Sri Lanka was one of the 46 member states to present its Voluntary National Review during the High Level Political Forum in July this year, highlighting the achievements in implementing the SDGs and the challenges faced in doing so.
- Sri Lanka continues to work in close collaboration with the UN agencies in achieving the SDGs including in critical areas such as the environment and youth. For example the UN collaborated with the Ministry of Education to conduct the SDG Action Campaign, which is aimed at supporting Student-led initiatives towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Sri Lanka.
- While Sri Lanka has made notable achievements In realizing the SDGs, we continue to face challenges such as dependence on fossil fuel for energy and transportation, increasing vulnerability of urban centres and communities to disaster risks and the degradation of forests and land resources.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Sri Lanka's commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Deveiopment Agenda at both the national and international level and to work collectively towards a prosperous world for all.