The Group of Fifteen (G-15), a Summit level organisation of developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, currently chaired by Sri Lanka has taken an initiative to expand the dialogue between developing countries and Geneva based International Organisations regarding the Post-2015 development Agenda. The year 2015 is considered as a milestone in human development with the United Nations scheduled to endorse the future global development framework that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) formulated in the year 2000.
Sri Lanka and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have entered into an agreement to begin cooperation between CERN and the scientific community in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka‘s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha and the Director General of CERN, Mr. Rolf-Dieter Heurer, signed an “Expression of Interest’ (EOI) Agreement on Thursday, 25 June 2015 at the CERN Headquarters in Geneva to give effect to this process.
CERN is the most prominent particle physics research institute in the world and is best known for its flagship discovery of the ‘Higgs-Boson” in 2012, conferring the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physics to two theoretical physicists who had predicted this fundamental particle almost 50 years earlier. More than half of the world’s particle physicists - about 11,000 in number coming from over 600 universities in 80 countries - do research at CERN, and are engaged in complex scientific experiments.
The newly appointed Sri Lanka Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Mr. R.D.S. Kumararatne, formally Director General of Commerce of the Department of Commerce presented his credentials to the Director General of the World Trade Organization Mr. Roberto Azevêdo on 15th June 2015.
At the presentation of credentials, Ambassador Kumararatne had the opportunity of exchanging views with the Head of the WTO on wide range of subject matters of interest to Sri Lanka. While briefing on current economic and political developments taking place in Sri Lanka, he has emphasised on the possible technical assistance of the WTO to enhance the capacity of the relevant institutions. He also highlighted the progress that Sri Lanka has made in connection with the implementation of Trade Facilitation Agreement of the WTO and briefed on the initiatives taken by Sri Lanka to introduce single portal to facilitate import export trade. In this regard, he has sought technical and possible funding assistance for the launch of the single portal by the Sri Lanka.
Minister of Labour S.B. Navinne addressed the 104th Session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva on 05 June 2015 and highlighted the importance of formulating policies and strategies to achieve decent work for all employees to ensure social justice. In this regard, Minister Navinne stated that Sri Lanka has taken steps to establish a “National Minimum Wage” for all private sector workers.
Minister Navinne appreciated the assistance extended by ILO to Sri Lanka in number of areas including the formulation of National Human Resources and Employment Policy, National Road Map of Youth Employment, HIV & AIDS policy for the world of work, the National Strategy on Territory, Vocational Education & Provision for Vulnerable People in Sri Lanka, implementation of Labour Inspection System Application, and the elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour through the implementation of Child Labour Free Zones.
Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said "“Pictorial warning is the most cost effective means of controlling tobacco related Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), including cancer “, and that "countries can get return on their investment in multiple areas". Paying tribute to countries including Sri Lanka whom she said "had the courage to keep going despite heavy resistance by the tobacco industry", Dr. Chan said "without our joint effort, you know what effect tobacco would take. We should not allow an industry to intimidate governments, make money and leave you with all the health consequences". She urged that "the international community come together to fight the tobacco industry".
Dr. Chan made these observations when she inaugurated a session on the theme “Strategies to overcome resistance against pictorial warning messages in tobacco products”, hosted by Sri Lanka on the sidelines of the 68th World Health Assembly at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on Monday (25th May 2015).
Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Dr Rajitha Senartne today (19 May 2015) addressed the 68th World Health Assembly held in Geneva and highlighted the progress Sri Lanka has made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and universal health coverage, particularly with respect to Maternal & Child Health and the control of communicable diseases.
Highlighting the health scenario in the country he said that under the guidance of President Maithripala Sirisena, the country is poised to enter a new phase of health development and pointed out that the health burden of the country is now moving more towards non communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular, respiratory neoplasm and diabetes, which account to over 70% of deaths.
Noting the legitimate right of the countries which have given up the nuclear-weapon option under NPT to receive legally binding security assurances against the use or threat or use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances, Sri Lanka urged countries which possess nuclear arsenals to rethink their approach towards national security in such a manner that the use of nuclear weapons is not envisaged in their national security doctrines.
Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Vienna, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez made these observation on 7th May 2015 at the Main Committee I – Disarmament of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons held in New York.
While noting the increasing role of the nuclear energy and nuclear technology for the socio-economic development of States, Sri Lanka expressed that there should be no obstacles placed on the path to peaceful uses, subject to accepted safeguard standards. Sri Lanka also noted the importance of civil nuclear cooperation, as an important tool for realising such peaceful uses by many countries.
Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Vienna, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez made these observation on 7th May 2015 Main Committee III – Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons held in New York.
The Group of Fifteen (G-15) with South Centre held a consultation on 'Post-2015 Development Agenda through the Perspectives of Geneva based International Organisations' at the UN Geneva on 30 April 2015. The half day meeting was aimed at having an interactive consultation between developing countries and Geneva based International Organisations on the Post 2015 Development Agenda, focusing on the 'social pillar', in the key areas of Poverty & Inequality, Migration, Labour, Food Security, Health, and Education.
Sri Lanka reiterated its commitment to strive with all States and other Stakeholders, to make nuclear disarmament realizable and bring peaceful uses of nuclear technology within reach. While recognizing the inalienable right of peaceful use of nuclear technology as provided for in Article IV of the NPT, Sri Lanka also stressed the importance of shared responsibility of States to work toward eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. Sri Lanka also expressed caution on the over-emphasizing of the increasing role of nuclear security, particularly in an era where nuclear material and technology reaching the hands of non-state actors remains a distinct and dangerous possibility.
Dr. Rohan Perera, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York made these observations on 30 April 2015, at the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The Review Conference is being held from 27th April to 22 May 2015 at the United Nations Head Quarters in New York.
Sri Lanka addressed Third Session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on a Draft United Nation Declaration on the Right to Peace held during 20 – 24 April 2015 in Geneva.
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
27 April 2015
The Director General of the Geneva based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Dr. Francis Gurry, has assured support to the government's policy of orienting Sri Lanka towards a knowledge and innovation economy. Recalling his visit to Colombo in November 2013 when a 10 Point Action Plan was developed to strengthen IP related activity in the country and cooperation between Sri Lanka and the WIPO, Dr. Gurry commended the progress already made under this programme, and discussed modalities to further assist Sri Lanka.
Dr. Gurry made these observations when Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Mr. S.S. Miyanawala met him on the sidelines of the 15th Session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) held 20-24 April 2015. Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization Ambassador Nimal Karunatilake and Second Secretary Dilini Gunasekera were associated in the discussion.
Sri Lanka has cautioned that "the possession of autonomous weapons by some States, combined with their possible asymmetric usages in war, may compel other States to also abandon their policies of restraint or moratorium and ignite an arms race". It has been noted that "the experience in nuclear weapons provides a useful lesson for all of us to understand the consequences of such an arm race, where even today possession itself has continued to remain a threat to regional as well as global security.
Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, made these observations during an intervention by Sri Lanka at the Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS), held within the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) from 13-17 April 2015 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Second Secretary Mafusa Lafir participated in the deliberations. Earlier on Monday, Ambassador Aryasinha opened the week long meeting in his capacity as the Chair – Designate of the CCW for 2015.
Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, in his capacity as the Chair – Designate of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) for 2015, opened the week long 'Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS)', held within the framework of the CCW on Monday (13th April) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The Convention, which 120 States are party to, seeks to ban or restrict the use of specific types of weapons that are considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or to affect civilians indiscriminately.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha on 2 April 2015 addressed the first in the 'Ambassador’s Luncheon Series', on "The Role of Women in Peace-building: a Sri Lankan Perspective". The event which is a follow-up to the Geneva Peace Conference that was convened last year and focussed on Asian experiences of peace building, was co-organized by the Journalist and Writers Foundation (JWF), the Dialog Institute and Geneva Press Club. Mr. Subhas Gujadhur, Director of Universal Rights Group chaired the event.
Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management & Christian Affairs John Amaratunga led the Sri Lankan delegation to the Third UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held 14 – 18 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan.
In his statement the Minister highlighting the common but differentiated principle at all levels of disaster risk reduction said Sri Lanka earnestly urges the international community to increase global cooperation and partnership with a view to transfer technological know-how, financial assistance and capacity building particularly for developing countries.