77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Item 18: Sustainable Development
Statement by the Sri Lanka Delegation
Monday, 10 October 2022
Sri Lanka aligns itself with the statement delivered by Pakistan on behalf of G77 & China.
The world today faces fragile and highly uncertain global socio-economic challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, adverse impact of climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and rising geopolitical tensions have created multifaceted impacts on people, planet, prosperity, and peace. In this context, the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals have become extremely challenging, especially for developing countries, including Sri Lanka.
Despite various challenges, the Government of Sri Lanka is committed to achieve the SDGs and have aligned its national policies facilitating the attainment of these Goals. To this effect, Sri Lanka enacted the Sustainable Development Act in 2017, which established the Sustainable Development Council as the national coordinating, facilitating, monitoring, evaluating and reporting institution for implementation of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
It is due to this unwavering commitment of the Government, Sri Lanka is ranked in the “High Human Development” category with position 73, being the highest in the South Asian region. Sri Lanka also committed to provide free education and universal health care to all its citizens. I am also pleased to recall that Sri Lanka presented its second Voluntary National Reviews at the High Level Political Forum in July this year, highlighting country’s progress and challenges in achieving the 2030 Agenda.
As a country enriched with high biodiversity, policies and initiatives for addressing climate change and protecting biodiversity are at the forefront of the transition to a blue-green economy at the national and subnational levels.
Sri Lanka is home to bountiful ecosystems that include mangrove forests, tidal marshes, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. Sri Lanka has more than 20 species of true mangroves, around one third of all mangrove species in the world. In Sri Lanka, all mangroves are legally protected from destruction and degradation. Sri Lanka also chairs the mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihood Action Group under the Commonwealth Blue Charter. Moreover, Sri Lanka sponsored a resolution proclaiming March 1st as World Seagrass Day at the UN General Assembly.
From poverty reduction to economic expansion and environmental sustainability, clean drinking water is a crucial element of sustainable development. One of the world's finest hydraulic civilizations existed in Sri Lanka. The development of irrigation systems, dams, better drinking water access, and sanitary facilities have all contributed to Sri Lanka's rural transformation. Despite these achievements, a number of issues still exist, including the impacts of climate change, financial instability, aging infrastructure, and challenges with water quality. Sri Lanka has initiated a number of water resource management programs to enhance the functionality of water resources infrastructure.
As a Climate vulnerable country, Sri Lanka is affected by natural disasters, including drought, floods, landslides, and cyclones. A National Disaster Relief Service center has been established and a Road Map for a safer Sri Lanka was developed to guide the disaster preparedness, planning, and implementation process in the country. Furthermore, an initiative was taken to amend the Sri Lanka Disaster Management Act to reflect current disaster risk challenges and trends in accordance with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. In terms of disaster incident reporting and providing relief services, the “APADA” application was introduced to report any emergency situation, enabling communities to communicate with the Disaster Management Center for response and relief.
Land degradation in Sri Lanka has developed dramatically over the past few decades, having a negative impact on biodiversity, land productivity, and poverty levels. Sri Lanka has committed to implementing 25 programs over a ten-year period, from 2014 to 2024, in order to achieve land degradation neutrality by 2030. Sri Lanka was able to formulate land degradation neutrality (LDN) goals in 2017.
It is crucial to embark on a path of diplomacy and peace, adopt low – carbon resilient and inclusive development pathways, and transform the international financial and debt architecture, in order to create the future we desire. Furthermore, we need urgent and collective action to preserve nature and rescue the global goals.
Sri Lanka remains committed to be engaged, forging partnerships and fostering international cooperation towards transformative pathways to achieve the sustainable development.
I thank you!