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Statement by Mr. Sugeeshwara Gunaratna, DPR at the plenary debate on Thematic Consultation – Cluster V - Our Common Agenda

Thursday, 10 March 2022
Mr. Sugeeshawara Gunaratna
New York

Our Common Agenda
Thematic Consultation – Cluster V
‘Enhancing International Cooperation’
10 March 2022
Statement by the delegation of Sri Lanka to the UN


Madame Chair,

Sri Lanka aligns with the statement delivered by Pakistan as Chair of the G77 and China. I would like to make few comments in our national capacity on the proposals in the Secretary-General’s report on “Our Common Agenda” in the context of “enhancing international cooperation.”

Madame Chair,

First, we wish to emphasize that building back better and fairer from the COVID-19 pandemic will require a strengthened global partnership, that reduces risk, enables recovery and builds resilience, with a special focus on United Nations Development system (UNDS) reforms and the needs of the future generations.

It is our common ground that no country can tackle the world’s challenges alone; wars and conflicts, climate change, poverty, lack of equality, lack of respect for human rights, proliferation of nuclear weapons – offers us a cocktail of misfortunes. International cooperation is therefore vital, as it makes us stronger.

Even before the tumultuous arrival of COVID-19, many parts of the world were suffering from dangerous polarization and division. Bitter disagreements over what is true or not pause a real threat to stability everywhere and yet surprisingly around the world it turns out that, most people regardless of their origin, gender or age, share common hopes and fears about the future. We are all it seems more aligned than we are led to believe. And most of us believe strongly in the power of working together to face the challenges of today and tomorrow.

We appreciate the Secretary - General's ambitious call to identify and review the governance of global public goods and the global commons through multilateral cooperation. In this regard, Sri Lanka echoes the calls for further clarity on the proposed “High-level Advisory Board” to be led by former Heads of State/Government.
Sri Lanka recognizes the private sector as a key partner in achieving the 2030 agenda. It is an essential driver of economic growth and job creation. We also believe that policy reforms need to be country- specific to mobilize private financing for SDGs.

Mr. President,

It is not only important to ensure the gender balance but also the geographical representation of the staffing of the United Nations and the selection process. The old order must give way to the new, if we are to build back better, so as not to leave anyone behind. We reiterate that the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly which is entrusted with all administrative, financial, and budgetary oversight should not be overlooked or bypassed ostensibly for reasons of administrative expediency as it has the potential to circumvent the checks and balances in the decision making process, as envisaged by the Rules made under the provisions of the UN Charter.  

While supporting the participation and engagement of Civil Society Organizations in the work of the United Nations in accordance with the existing modalities, Sri Lanka hereby wishes to stress the importance of preserving the inter-governmental nature of negotiation process and decision-making at the United Nations. However, reiterating the position of G77 and China, Sri Lanka wishes to seek further elaboration with regard to the four aspects much spoken of in furtherance of looking beyond traditional boundaries.
We must never fail to bear in mind that we are a united league of sovereign nations that cannot abdicate their sovereignty to private entities, driven by private funds and private agendas.  

Finally, Sri Lanka believes international cooperation requires a renewed commitment. Global challenges are interconnected and can only be addressed through reinvigorated international cooperation, with a stronger and more inclusive UN at its core.

We eagerly look forward to receiving more information on the way forward of this process we engaged over the last month.

Thank you