Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr Rajitha Senaratne on Tuesday (24 May 2016) drew the attention of the 69th World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting in Geneva to the recent floods and landslides in Sri Lanka that affected nearly half a million people and appreciated the expression of solidarity and support by countries, partners and the World Health Organization (WHO), to strengthen the timely health response to the affected people.
Addressing the Assembly under this years’ theme, “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “, Minister Senaratne stated that “the Government of Sri Lanka is fully committed to the Sustainable Development Agenda and has already set up a multi sectoral Sustainable Development Secretariat to achieve this goal”. Drawing attention to the increasing influx of migration, Minister highlighted the need to pay attention to the health of migrants, irrespective of their status of migration. In this context, he recalled the offer made by the President of Sri Lanka to host the second Global Consultation on Health of Migrants in Sri Lanka October this year, and stated that Sri Lanka is envisaging a political declaration as the outcome of the Global Consultation to demonstrate the commitment to this important issue.
About 400,000 people have been displaced while many have lost their lives following severe flooding over the last few days throughout the Island affecting 22 out of the 25 districts in Sri Lanka. The relief and rescue operations are being conducted by the Ministry of Disaster Management with the support of the tri forces and other agencies.
We appeal to the Sri Lankan expatriate community and well wishers in Switzerland to assist in providing relief to the affected people. Given the urgent needs, the Government Authorities have decided to call for financial donations in order to purchase immediate relief items locally and to distribute them through the Government Agents in the Districts.
Minister of Science, Technology & Research of Sri Lanka, Susil Premajayantha said that there is a sense of urgency in Sri Lanka today over moving towards a knowledge based society. Underlining that Sri Lanka’s ability to facilitate a scientific culture that encourages innovative thinking will determine the country’s ability to effectively use knowledge for growth, he said emphasis has been laid on developing strong research and development culture and the methods of ensuring quality of research in the country.
Minister Premajayantha made the above observations at the 18th Annual Session of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) held from 9-13 May in Geneva, Switzerland, during the High Level Segment on ‘Implementing the post 2015 development agenda: moving from commitments to results.’
The Director General of the Geneva based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Dr. Francis Gurry, commended Sri Lanka for its achievements and concrete deliverables under the 10 Point GoSL-WIPO Intellectual Property Action Plan, which could serve as a good model for other countries similarly placed as Sri Lanka.
Dr. Gurry made these observations when Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Mr. T.M.K.B. Tennekoon met him on the sidelines of the 35th Session of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT) held from 25- 27 April 2016 in Geneva.
A team of 7 inventors led by Dr. Mahesh Edirisinghe, Commissioner of Sri Lanka Inventors Commission (SLIC) participated at the recently concluded 44th International Inventors Exhibition held from 13-17 April 2016 in Geneva. They have secured 2 Gold Medals with a special recognition from jury for one invention, 3 Silver Medals and 2 Bronze Medals.
Two inventors were fully sponsored by Sri Lanka Inventors Commission (SLIC), having been selected from among the Presidential Award Winners and Sahasak Nimavum Award winners while the other inventors have joined the Sri Lankan delegation on their own expenses.
Professor Klaus Schwab, Chairman of the World Economic Forum and
South Asia team leaders with members of the Sri Lanka delegation at the WEF Headquarters in Geneva
Following the participation of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and delegation at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos in January, a Sri Lankan delegation consisting of senior government officials and representatives from the private sector engaged in a two-day follow-up meeting at the World Economic Forum’s headquarters in Geneva. Coordinated by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, the visit was aimed at strengthening the engagement between Sri Lanka and the WEF and to identify specific areas of engagement. The WEF, is the world leading "platform" that brings global political leaders, private sector leaders and thought leaders together to engage, discuss and deliberate and learn from each other.
Sri Lanka said “Especially in the context of factually incorrect reference to Sri Lanka in the Report, we welcome the visit of the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues to Sri Lanka, as such a visit will certainly enable the Special Rapporteur to engage with all concerned in my country to obtain the factual position in this regard and accurate information which will clarify and clear misconceptions pertaining to the areas mentioned in this report”.
Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya made this intervention at the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues under Agenda Item 3 during the 31st Session of the Human Rights Council held at the Palais des Nations on 15 March 2016 in Geneva.
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said on Wednesday (2 March 2016) that the Cabinet of Ministers earlier the same morning had approved that Sri Lanka accedes to the ‘Convention on the Prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destructions’, which is commonly known as the ‘Ottawa Convention’.
Ambassador Aryasinha made this announcement when he addressed the First International Pledging Conference for the Implementation of the Anti – Personnel Mine Ban Convention on the theme “Mine Free World by 2025: The Last Stretch”, held yesterday (2 March 2016) at the Palais des Nation in Geneva. The pledging conference was organised by the Office of the UN in Geneva and the Government of Chile marking seventeen years of success and calling on all parties to redouble their efforts to meet the humanitarian goals set by the Convention by 2025.
The Instrument of Ratification of the ILO Convention concerning Employment Policy C 122 of 1964 was handed over by Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva to Mr. Georges P. Politakis, Legal Adviser and Director of the Office of Legal Services of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on 3 February 2016.
Sri Lanka is the 110th ILO Member State to have ratified this priority Convention, which is included among the four standards that are the most significant from the viewpoint of governance, giving clear signal of the Government’s commitment to actively promoting full, productive and freely chosen employment, in consultation with the social partners, bilaterally as well through the Colombo Process, the grouping of Asian Contractual Labour Sending Countries, as its Chair-in-Office.
Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife, Mr. Gamini Jayawickrama Perera has re-iterated Sri Lanka's commitment to protect endangered wildlife species. He said consistent with this policy, the Government had decided to destroy a confiscated blood ivory shipment on 26th January 2016 at the Galle Face Green in Colombo. The consignment consists of 359 pieces of blood ivory, equalling 1.5 tonnes.
The Minister made these remarks during his meeting with the Secretary – General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Mr. John E. Scanlon, on the side-lines of the 66th Standing Committee meeting of CITES held in Geneva last week. Since ratification of the CITES Convention in 1979, this is the first time Sri Lanka has been represented at a Ministerial level at any meeting of this important global convention. Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission in Geneva Mrs. M.L.F. Mafusa, and Advisor to Minister Mr. Daniel Fernando were associated with the Minister.
Sri Lanka has been selected as one of the four pilot countries to participate in a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Project titled “Intellectual Property, Tourism and Culture.” This Project will contribute to promoting awareness of the role of IP in Sri Lanka and supporting the tourism-related economic activities of the country. Further it will enhance the scope for utilizing IP for development in a new area, under the ongoing cooperation between WIPO and GOSL through a 10 Point Action Plan.
Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) communicating this decision to Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, has informed that this selection was made pursuant to Sri Lanka’s expression of interest and formal proposal submitted to WIPO to participate in this Project in August 2015. This is the first time Sri Lanka has been selected to participate as a pilot country for a Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) Project. WIPO officials will liaise with the relevant authorities of the Government of Sri Lanka to begin project implementation early in 2016.
Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the Holy See Ravinatha Aryasinha participated in a series of events held in connection with the Occasion of the ‘Annual Hearing of the Holy Pope’ on 11th January 2016 held at the Vatican. 83 Resident Ambassadors and other concurrently accredited non- Resident Ambassadors participated in these events.
During an interaction with His Holiness, Ambassador Aryasinha conveyed greetings from the President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to His Holiness and particularly appreciated the attention the Holy Father had given Sri Lanka over the past year long period since his visit to Colombo on 13 – 15 January 2015. He also assured him of Sri Lanka’s support to his global efforts, particularly in relation to social upliftment, the environment and inter-religious dialogue.
The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka organized multi- faith religious observances to mark the first Anniversary of the inauguration of Office of H.E. the President Maitripala Sirisena on 8th January 2016 from 8:00- 9:00 a.m. at the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva
Members from the Sri Lankan community, representing Sri Lankan Associations in Geneva and the staff of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka attended this event. Multi-religious observances were conducted, invoking blessings on President Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Government and the people of Sri Lanka. Two minutes silence was observed in honor of all those who sacrificed their lives for the motherland.
President Maithripala Sirisena has invited the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to host a global consultation in Sri Lanka, on the lessons learnt in advancing the health of migrants.
The President extended this invitation in a special message to a panel discussion on 'migration, human mobility and global health', held during the 106th Council Session of the IOM held in Geneva on 26th November 2015, which was read by Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva. The panel discussion was moderated by Ambassador William Lacy Swing, the Director General of IOM, while Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization was among the panelists.