Foreign Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris met United Nations Assistant-Secretary-General (ASG), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Assistant Administrator and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Kanni Wignaraja on 15 December, during her official visit to Sri Lanka. ASG Wignaraja’s visit is aimed at better understanding country priorities and exploring new avenues of support from UNDP to Sri Lanka.
The Foreign Minister briefed the Assistant-Secretary-General on Sri Lanka’s recent achievements in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while highlighting steps taken to deal with the socio-economic impacts of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Conveying appreciation for UNDP’s five decades of development related activities in Sri Lanka, the Foreign Minister reiterated that both sides should strengthen the multi-faceted cooperation in order to achieve further progress in the SDGs. The Foreign Minister also outlined the recent progress made in domestic processes in relation to reconciliation and human rights, including the proposed revisions to the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and reiterated the Government’s commitment to achieving tangible progress.
ASG Wignaraja observed that over the years Sri Lanka’s economy had shown resilience and expressed the hope that it will bounce back from setbacks due to COVID-19 pandemic based on good economic principles. Noting that Sri Lanka has a bounty of natural resources, Wignaraja stated that preservation of the environment would boost the tourism industry and support the country’s economic growth. ASG Wignaraja conveyed UNDP’s willingness to extend support to Sri Lanka on relevant areas towards achievements of SDGs.
ASG Wignaraja was accompanied by Robert Juhkam, UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka, Malin Herwig, UNDP Resident Representative and other UN officials. Foreign Secretary Admiral (Prof.) Jayanath Colombage and senior officials of the Foreign Ministry participated in the meeting.
19 December 2021