Sri Lanka Should Capitalise On Location-Specific Advantages: President At Commonwealth Heads Of Govt. Meeting

President Maithripala Sirisena, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London yesterday drew attention to Asia’s rising economic status, and said it was inevitable Sri Lanka should benefit from this.

“It is no secret that Asia is bound to emerge as the economic powerhouse of the world. It is inevitable that Sri Lanka should capitalize on the location-specific advantages and position itself as a hub, when this economic boom happens in the Asian region,” the President said.

Below are excerpts from his address:

“Sustainability is a term in the development terminology. Therefore, every Government focuses on it. Achieving a sustainable future is as in many other countries, a main concern of the Government of Sri Lanka.

Being an island nation, Sri Lanka has a special interest in upholding a sustainable future for our land, jungles, rivers and oceans, for the benefit of future generations. 

There were many discussions over making Sri Lanka a maritime hub. Geographically Sri Lanka is situated in a strategic location where the busy East-West shipping route passes just about ten nautical miles south of the island.

Every year more than 60,000 ships use this route carrying two-thirds of the world’s oil and half of all container shipments.

It is no secret that Asia is bound to emerge as the economic powerhouse of the world. It is inevitable that Sri Lanka should capitalize on the location-specific advantages and position itself as a hub, when this economic boom happens in the Asian region.

Our oceans should benefit our people to assist in alleviating poverty, generate employment and promote equity and sustainable development. This is the way to bring in a stable and sustainable future.

Extending our support to the Clean Ocean Alliance, proposed by the United Kingdom is part of our commitment towards this end. We have joined the international community in similar endeavors, for example Climate Change.

In this context, we welcome the adoption of the ‘Commonwealth Blue Charter’ in our joint efforts to ensure that the Oceans are a shared responsibility and the common heritage of mankind.

Sri Lanka is pleased to have the opportunity to serve as a ‘Blue Charter Champion’. She remains firmly committed to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. These are tools to promote sustainable future.

In 2016, I unveiled a Blue-Green Development Strategy for Sri Lanka. We aim to implement Blue-Green initiatives to encourage low-emission economic development.

With the aim of mitigating the environmental impact caused by the excessive use of polythene and plastic the Government banned the use and manufacture of polythene products of 20 microns or less.

My Secretariat has launched other programmes and projects to develop waterways and river basins to keep the environment from pollution.

Oceanic and marine resources will be used in a sustainable manner and organic agricultural practices and clean renewable energy will be promoted.

Our common goal of a sustainable future which leaves no one behind needs to be pursued sincerely and vigorously, so that we may rise and grow together. The Commonwealth provides a unique platform to realize these ideals for mutual benefit. We in the Commonwealth should commit for these goals as this is an important area of securing a sustainable future.”

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