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UN Assistant Secretary General calls on President

The UN Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator and Director, Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Mr. Haoliang Xu called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday evening (Feb 12).

Commending Sri Lanka’s achievements in obtaining high levels in human development indicators, Mr. Haoliang said the country’s success stories should be highlighted and that his organization would help do so. Other topics discussed during the meeting included development work in the North, overall provincial development, education and further strengthening the partnership between the UN system and the Sri Lankan Government.

Mr. Haoliang also serves as the Chair of the United Nations Development Group Asia-Pacific and the UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director for the region. Prior to the meeting, Mr. Haoliang joined President Rajapaksa to speak with school children who were visiting Temple Trees at the time.

Minister of Education Mr. Bandula Gunawardena, Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga and Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs Mrs. Kshenuka Senewiratne were also present at the meeting.

Mr. Xu also launched a key UNDP supported program, Strengthening Enforcement of Law, Access to Justice and Social Integration (SELAJSI) today at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies. The Program is a joint initiative of Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms and the Ministry of Child Development and Women's Affairs, implemented to ensure that gains in the justice sector are institutionalized, systemized and scaled-up. Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem and National Languages and Social Integration Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara were also present at the event.

Mr. Xu also met Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa yesterday at the Ministry office. He commended the Minister for his leadership role during the preparation of the UNDAF 2013-2017 and for the government's full ownership of the framework.

Making note of the forthcoming National Human Development Report (NHDR) 2014 on Youth and Development, UNDP's Asia-Pacific chief expressed hope that the Report will serve as a strong advocacy tool for promoting youth empowerment and human development in Sri Lanka.

Courtesy: PRIU

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