Statement by the President of the Conference on Disarmament - HE Ambassador Sarala Fernando -Sri Lanka , Opening of the 1061st Plenary Meeting 20 March 2007.

CD 20march2007

I call to order the 1061st plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament.

I have the honour to convey the following message of good wishes addressed to the Conference by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Hon. Rohitha Bogollagama.

‘I have great pleasure in addressing this special message on the occasion of Sri Lanka’s assumption of the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament. As a small, yet always engaged member State of the United Nations, Sri Lanka’s assumption of the Presidency of this Conference is yet another manifestation of its commitment to and belief in multilateral diplomacy as the indispensable means to address major global challenges and enhance the prospects of a stable, just and peaceful world. The Conference on Disarmament, as the sole multilateral negotiating body on disarmament matters has a proud history of codification and remains relevant in our constant endeavour to free the world from all weapons of mass destruction.


Hon Athauda Seneviratne Minister of Labour Relations and Foreign Employment of Sri Lanka, Ninety-fifth session of the International Labour Conference

Mr. President,

On behalf of the Government and the delegation of Sri Lanka, let me extend our sincere congratulations to you and the Vice Presidents on your election to preside over the 95th Session of the International Labour Conference.  We also greet Director General Somavia, thank him for the comprehensive presentation of the three Reports, and support the recommendations for action.



Mr. Chairman,

The statement of the EU delegation under this Item highlighted human rights concerns in respect of several countries, including Sri Lanka. The Special Rapporteur on Extra Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Mr. Philip Alston, in his introductory statement presenting his report, also referred to Sri Lanka.

We appreciate the Special Rapporteur's abiding interest in Sri Lanka, following his recent official visit to my country and thank the EU delegation, for its support for pursuit of peace and promotion of human rights in my country. My delegation however, would like to take this opportunity to clarify some aspects of all concerns expressed and brief this Committee on recent developments in Sri Lanka.



Statement by Sri Lanka at the 57th session of the UNHCR Executive Committee – 3 October 2006

Statement by Sri Lanka at the 57th session of the

UNHCR Executive Committee – 3 October 2006

Mr Chairman, dear Asian Colleague,

The delegation of Sri Lanka congratulates you on your well deserved election to chair this 57thsession of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme and our good wishes also to the Bureau. We wish Deputy High Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin all the best for future success and thank her for her endeavours at UNHCR.


Statement of Sri Lanka at the Seventh meeting of the State Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction-18-22 September 2006, Geneva

Madam President,

On behalf of the observer delegation of Sri Lanka, I would like to congratulate you on your election as President of this meeting. The delegation of Sri Lanka would like to take the floor under this agenda item to provide a brief account of its position with regard to the Ottawa Convention as well as the on-going humanitarian de-mining activities in the country.


Statement by Delegation of Sri Lanka following update by High Commissioner of Human Rights at the HRC on 18th September, 2006

Mr. President,

I would like to thank High Commissioner Arbour for her update on the current global human rights situation.  We had hoped however that OHCHR would have engaged our Mission earlier to convey your concerns on Sri Lanka.  We have always been available for fostering a dialogue of cooperation and mutual respect.


Statement by Hon Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights of Sri Lanka- on 30 August 2006 at the Launch of the Common Humanitarian Action Plan for Sri Lanka from -September to December, 2006

Mr. Chairman

Distinguished delegates and

representatives of UN and International Organizations

I am in Switzerland to make a presentation at the Conference on International Disaster Reduction which is being held in Davos.  Having received an invitation from UNDP, I am also pleased on this same occasion to be able to make a statement at today’s launch of the Common Humanitarian Action Plan for Sri Lanka and to present some perspectives from the Government of Sri Lanka.


Statement delivered by H.E. Mrs Sarala Fernando, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka at the Plenary of the Conference on Disarmament 15th August, 2006

Mr. President,


Since this is the first time my delegation is taking the floor under your Presidency, may I extend our sincere felicitations and commend  the serious manner in which your Presidency has been prepared, with wide consultations and also for your initiative of organising the seminar by UNIDIR on negative security assurances, an important topic which continues to engage our attention.   You quite rightly reminded us in your opening statement that the issue of negative security assurances has figured from earliest times on the agenda of the Committee on Disarmament since its creation in 1979 and subsequently in the renamed Conference on Disarmament due to their continued significance as a confidence building measure.  We also appreciate the impressive compilation of the documents on NSA’s put together by the Secretariat and distributed in the Conference.    



2006 ECOSOC High-Level Segment - Geneva, 5 July 2006 Roundtable 3: Globalization and Labour Migration Statement by the Chairperson : Hon. Athauda Seneviratne Minister of Labour Relations and Foreign Employment of Sri Lanka

It is indeed an honour for me to chair this ECOSOC High Level Segment Roundtable on globalization and labour migration.   I thank the organizers of the High Level Segment for arranging what I believe will be a very interesting and relevant discussion and also for the preparation of the comprehensive Issues Note, which will be elaborated by the    Co-Moderators.  I will make only a few introductory remarks at this stage.


Statement by H.E. Ms. Sarala Fernando,Ammbassador of Sri Lanka & Chairperson of the ILO’s Governing Body Committee on Employment and Social Policy (ESP)at the ECOSOC High Level Segment Roundtable on“Creating Decent Work Opportunities with Productivity Gr

 Statement by H.E. Ms. Sarala  Fernando,

 Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN

 in Geneva and Chairperson of the ILO’s Governing Body Committee on Employment and Social Policy (ESP)

 at the ECOSOC High Level Segment Roundtable on

 “Creating Decent Work Opportunities with Productivity Growth”

 5 July, 2006

ECOSOC is welcome to Geneva.  Here in this serene environment and the background culture of peace, there is a renaissance of multilateralism, which could be  attributed to both wise and energetic leadership in the UN and international organizations in Geneva as well as the serious and constructive dialogue  witnessed among all stakeholders.  Our efforts are aimed to both build a vision for the future founded  on a sound knowledge  base with agreed political objectives, as well as practical work at the technical level to design appropriate projects and programmes to be implemented at national, regional and global levels.


Address by Hon Athauda Senevirathne, Minister of Labour Relations and Foreign Employment of Sri Lanka - at the High-Level Segment of the Economic and Social Council

Mr. President
Ladies and Gentlemen

The High level dialogue has focused on many important areas in generating full and productive employment and decent work for all. We are all in agreement that the access to work is the surest way out of poverty. At the same time those countries that pursued social policy goals underline that this is a sound and sustainable investment for growth; supportive public policies in health, education and gender empowerment together with an enabling environment for entrepreneurship can provide impetus to employment creation.


Address by Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights of Sri Lanka at the First Session of the Human Rights Council – Geneva - 19 June 2006

Mr. President,
High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Distinguished delegates,

On behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, and on my own behalf, may I congratulate you Mr. President on your election to the Chair of this historic inaugural session of the UN Human Rights Council.  I would like to assure you my delegation’s support and cooperation as you undertake the onerous task of presiding over the deliberations of this august body.


Statement made by Sri Lanka, Coordinator of the Asian Group at the Opening Plenary of the Second Formal Meeting of the Mid-Term Review (MTR)Geneva, 12 June 2006. (Dr. Dayaratna de Silva, Minister)

Mr. President

I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of the Asian Group.

At the outset we would like to thank Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary General of UNCTAD for his comprehensive statement. We would also like to thank Secretariat for its timely preparation of documentation which contain valuable recommendations that  will certainly assist in  our deliberations.



Mr. President,

Since this is the first time my delegation is taking the floor under your Presidency of the Conference, I take this opportunity to extend our sincere congratulations and also to compliment the serious, careful manner in which your Presidency has been prepared.  You may, of course, count on the full support of my delegation and myself personally as a Friend of the President to contribute to the successful conclusion of your task.  We appreciate the impressive compilation of the basic documents on PAROS put together by the Secretariat and distributed today.


103rd session of the IOM Executive Committee 7-8 June 2006 Statement by the delegation of Sri Lanka (Mr. S. Pathirana, Second Secretary)

Opening remarks by Chairperson H.E. Mme Sarala Fernando at the undred and Third Session of the Executive Committee of IOM,  7th June, 2006

Mr. Director-General
distinguished delegates

I would like to thank you for my election to Chair this session of the Executive Committee.  I take it as an honour to my country which has recently joined the Executive Committee for the first time.  I also congratulate the Vice President Mr. Osvald Alvarez of Chile on his election.


Address by Hon Athauda Seneviratne, Minister of Labour Relations and Foreign Employment at the Panel Discussion on Technical Cooperation, 6th June 2006

Decent Work as a Global Goal: The Role of Development Cooperation


On behalf of the government and the delegation of Sri Lanka, it is a great honour for me to address this panel on Technical Cooperation with a specific focus on Decent Work as a Global Goal: The Role of Development Cooperation.


I understand that Sri Lanka is one of the first countries in Asia, where we have taken the Decent Work concept into our national development planning. In addition to the Decent Work Country Programme, which we finalized in 2004 together with the trade unions and the employers’ organisation, I am very pleased to inform you that we have now finalised the National Policy on decent work with a National Plan of action that gives directions on key areas for implementation in Sri Lanka.  


Address by Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition of Sri Lanka at the 59th World Health Assembly, Geneva – 23rd May, 2006

Mr. President, Your Excellencies and distinguished delegates.

Mr President,
I extend our congratulations and best wishes to you and the Vice-Presidents of this Assembly.

On behalf of H.E. the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Government and people of Sri Lanka, I wish to extend our deepest condolences on the sudden passing away of Director General Dr. Lee Jong-wook. We extend our sincere condolences to the family of Dr. Lee and to the larger family of WHO in their moment of grief for a leader who brought effective management and a new vision to this organization. Sri Lanka will not forget Dr. Lee’s visit to Sri Lanka in the midst of our tsunami crisis to offer the support of WHO in our time of need.


Statement by Ambassador Sarala Fernando, Head of Delegation of Sri Lanka to the Conference on Disarmament during the General Debate16th May, 2006

Mr. President,

Since this is the first time I am speaking under your Presidency, may I extend our greetings and convey sincere good wishes for every success.  Although you did mention on 23rd March that your opening remarks had lost much of their traditional value due to the unprecedented P6 initiative, it could also be said that within this collective engagement, each President has his own important responsibility; during your tenure of office, this will include preparing and conducting the structured debate on FMCT.  You also rightly reminded us that the debate takes place in the background of extensive early FMCT related consultations in the CD.


Statement by H.E.Mrs.Sarala Fernando, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, Coordinator of the Asian Group -at the 2006 Mid-Term Review, First Formal Meeting -Geneva, 8-12 May 2006

Mr. Chairman,

I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of the Asian Group.

At the outset we would like to thank Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary General of UNCTAD for his comprehensive and focussed statement. We would also like to thank the Secretariat for the stocktaking report which shows  important progress has been made in the implementation of the Sao Paulo Consensus (SPC), while noting also areas for improvement. We expect UNCTAD to fully implement over the next two years, the mandate given to it by its Member States at Sao Paulo. A renewal or a complete review of UNCTAD’s mandate can only be undertaken by the quadrennial conferences.


The key issues raised by Dr. A. Dayaatna Silva, Minister (Economic and Commercial) Head of Sri Lanka Delegation during the Adhoc Working Group on the General Standard and Food Additives (GSFA) and Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants (CCF

  • The national CODEX Committee of Sri Lanka submitted its comments  and arguments on the use food additive Sulpher Dioxide (SO2) in Food Category 12.2.1, as contained in document CX/FAC/06/38/9 part 1.
  • Since November 2004, Sri Lanka has encountered problems with a number of consignments of “ Ceylon Cinnamon “ exported to the European Union  on the grounds that the consignments contained Sulphur Dioxide ( SO2).
  • Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) is a known, accepted  &  a widely used  food  additive & is described as   ‘ one of the most important & versatile additives with a good safety record ‘  used in the food industry.
  • As is known, there are no international standards that govern the use of SO2 in cinnamon as a food preservative  or an anti-oxident or as an anti browning (bleaching) agent in foods.
  • Sri Lanka also raised the issue of specific trade problem due to the non existence of international standard and guideline at the WTO SPS Committee where it was agreed to bring to the urgent attention of  CODEX Committee. In this regard a letter was sent with the approval of the WTO-membership by the Chairman of the WTO SPS Committee to the Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius.
  • Cinnamon represents the 3 rd  largest export agriculture crop of  Sri  Lanka. It supports the lively hood of over 70,000 small holder cinnamon growers & provides employment to over 350,000 people. At present, Sri Lanka is the  single largest exporter of  true cinnamon ( Cinnamomum zeylancum ) in the world accounting for 75% of the world demand for cinnamon.
  • The cinnamon industry  has traditional practices in cinnamon peeling & in  fumigation & the use of SO2 has been known to the industry for centuries. SO2  has been used for 2 purposes, viz for its biocidal activity &  for bleaching. Considering the conditions existent at the plantations, this fumigation is an ideal method that could be used very effectively to obtain the  desired results.
  • As shown in document ALINORM 05/28/12, appendix IX,  the Codex is working on SULPHITES, SO2 & other sulphites ( E 220 –E228 ) in food category number 12.2.2 seasonings and condiments. The document shows that category  12.2.1 herbs and spices is not included in this work program. If not, Sri Lanka would like to request the CCFAC to include cinnamon in the work program and use a fast track approach.
  • We would like to work closely with the other CCFAC members to find a solution to our problem and get a CODEX standard for sulphur dioxide in


39th session of the Joint Advisory Group on the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO, Statement by Ambassador Sarala Fernando (Sri Lanka)- Geneva, 24 April 2006


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure, in my capacity as Chair of the 2005 session of the Joint Advisory Group meeting, to open this thirty ninth session.  I welcome Mr. Pascal Lamy, the Director General of WTO and Dr. Supatchai Panitchpakdi the Secretary General of UNCTAD.   Equally I recognize Mr. Denis Bélisle Executive Director of ITC, his successor-designate Mrs Patricia Francis and Mr Stephen Browne, the recently appointed Deputy Executive Director.  UNCTAD, WTO and ITC must be congratulated for the smooth execution of the plan for the succession of ITC’s senior management team.

Let us now proceed with item I on our agenda today, the election of the Bureau.

I call for a proposal for the Chair, two Vice-Chairs and Rapporteur of this thirty eighth session.

Ambassador Ali (Bangladesh) you have the floor, Sir.

Thank you Mr. Ambassador

May I call for support to this proposal?

Ambassador Stephenson (Canada), you have the floor.

Thank you and my felicitations to you Ambassador Whelan to Mr. Zhang, Mr. Kassaja and Mr. Somarriba on your well deserved election.  Of all the meetings, committees and expert groups I have chaired over the last 2 years since my arrival in Geneva, I can safely say that chairing ITC JAG has been the most rewarding; the documentation was well prepared; Mr. Bélisle and his team ensured there were no ‘surprises’; and all delegates had only nice things to say – so it was an altogether a most positive experience !  I now wish to invite Her Excellency Mary Whelan Ambassador of Ireland, to take her place on the podium and to thank her most sincerely for having accepted to chair this meeting.  I also invite the Rapporteur to take his place.

Statement by H.E Sarala Fernando, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka at the Annual Meeting of the Joint Advisory Group (JAG) of the

International Trade Center  (thirty-ninth session)

24 April 2006 (Item 3: General debate)

Madam Chair,

Please accept our sincere felicitations to you and  other members of the Bureau on your election.  We have every expectation Madam Chair that with your experience and personal skills, you will guide this important Session of JAG to its successful conclusion.          

I thank Mr. Pascal Lamy and Dr. Supatchai Panitchpakdi, representing WTO & UNCTAD, as the parents of ITC, for their inspiring addresses and Mr. Denis Bélisle, the Executive Director for his comprehensive presentation on ITC's work during the year 2005. As usual, the documentation for this meeting is of high standard and distributed in time, reflecting the professionalism that we have come to expect  of this institution. 

This session of JAG takes  place at an important juncture. Firstly, we will soon be commencing  the first formal  discussion of the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of UNCTAD. Secondly, WTO members, pursuant to the Ministerial in Hong Kong, are in the process of making important decisions for establishing full modalities in key areas of WTO negotiations (Agriculture and NAMA).  As we have witnessed in the past, the current  WTO trade talks have gone through a bumpy road with a number of turn arounds, from setbacks to recalibrations of ambition and eventual consolidation, since the Round was launched in Doha.  We must avoid any setbacks in the interest of fulfilling the developmental commitments agreed in Doha.  If  WTO members fail to find agreement soon, we face the danger of putting off the conclusion of the Doha Round by many years.  With UNCTAD and WTO as the ITC’s parent organization, we hope that the discussions at this Session of JAG will assist in the consensus building required on the MTN process,  the outcome of which in turn will influence  ITC’s own future work for trade development.  For example, in the context of the recent WTO Aid For Trade (AFT) Initiative, ITC should assume new responsibilities utilizing its expertise and appropriately redesigning its programmes to deliver activities on TRTA.  ITC can also offer ideas on how best the views of the private sector could be reflected in the final phase of WTO negotiations. 

With these background remarks, I now wish to make a few comments on specific substantive issues on ITC’s technical cooperation activities set out in its Annual Report of 2005. We commend ITC’s achievements during the year 2005, increasing its programme delivery by 4.6% over the previous year.  We further note from the Annual Report some 400 training  workshops have been organized in 2005,  more than one per day.  It is encouraging to note that a total of 184 projects were operational. Given the relatively small staff strength of the organization, we are impressed with these high performance indicators; the effective coordination by ITC efforts and events across the globe is surely an example to other UN organizations in this era of organizational reform.

Madam Chair,

One of the tasks assigned to this  Advisory Group would be to review the past activities of ITC and formulate recommendations on its future work. In this context, it is more appropriate   to make a few comments here on the findings of the External Evaluation of  ITC activities,  recently completed  with the support of a group of donors led by Denmark.

My delegation, considers the Evaluation Report very comprehensive and as having come up with some useful recommendations.  It has given due recognition to ITC’s comparative advantage in carrying out trade related technical assistance noting also its accumulated knowledge, experience and the network contacts maintained with Trade Support Institutions (TSI) of developing countries.  We are pleased to note ITC’s positive reaction to the recommendations of the External Evaluation.

As regards ‘How ITC should evolve in the future”, the external Evaluation Report  has posed three  basic questions. Of these, on the issue of optimal allocation of resources between the two main options for delivery of TRTA: global products (known as Track 1) and  country specific projects (known as Track 3) we wish to make two  observations:

$1·         Firstly, one should not underrate the significant contribution that ITC’s various global products have made to integrate small and medium size business enterprises to the multilateral trading system. For example, world trade net and market analysis services (MAS) are  useful and effective tools available on line, facilitating the conduct of  basic market research.  The business enterprises and Trade Supporting Institutions (TSI) have made positive assessments on the practical relevance of these global products and therefore they should continue to be an integral part of ITC’s future work.

$1·         Secondly, it is important to strike an appropriate balance when allocating resources between global products and ITC’s country specific  interventions. There appears to be some degree of imbalance here, judging from the  findings of the Evaluation Report which states that ITC trust fund for delivery of global products has increased from 60 to 70 percent in 2004.  In order to be more effective and pragmatic, these two modes of delivery channels of TRTA should be mutually supportive and  complementary to each other. 

The importance of country level intervention has also been emphasized during the recent discussion of Aid for Trade (AFT) that has now risen to the top of global trade policy agenda. ITC could be strategically poised to play a key role in delivering whatever the Aid For Trade Package that might emerge by making more emphasis in its future work plan on country specific projects for capacity building and supply side constraints in a holistic manner. With its technical expertise in trade development, its experience in networking and in building supply side capacities of business enterprises of developing countries, we believe ITC is the institution best equipped to effectively contribute to AFT.

We fully agree with the recommendation that beside its main focus on MDG 8 (partnership for  development) ITC must also make an effort to institute an “MDG Lens”  in designing and implementing its future activities with the intent of better contributing  towards poverty reduction and gender equality objectives.

As in the past, ITC’s  current SME focus in many areas of its work should continue. This is important because SMEs need trade related technical support to keep up with the current phase of a rapidly expanding global economy. Successful integration of SME into the MTS, enhancing their productive capacities and international competitiveness, applying integrated ICT solutions to their business processes, training of SME managers, improving their ability to meet international quality standards   are precisely the kind of assistance that many developing countries require. In Asia  emerging out of an year of unprecedented natural disasters, where, in the reconstruction phase, our focus is on raising productive capacities and promoting employment, especially through SME development, we will continue to value ITC work in this area. 

Madam Chair,

ITC has implemented a number of projects in my country  during the year 2005.  We wish to thank ITC and its staff and most importantly the donors for their financial support  that made possible the execution of these  trade-related technical assistance (TRTA) programmes in Sri Lanka.

One of the highlights of ITC’s activities in Sri Lanka during the year 2005 was the launch of the EU-sponsored Trade Development Project.  We are particularly pleased with the Sri Lanka-driven character of this project and we are satisfied  with the overall  implementation of progress made under its two components: (1) human resources development and institutional strengthening on WTO-related issues (2) the development of private sector export capacity.

On the former, the successful completion of several training courses was very timely, given the current  intensive phase of WTO negotiations. Both public sector officials involved in trade policy formulation and market analysis, as well as  private sector mangers of enterprises and entrepreneurs involved in various aspects of export trade have been benefited.

Sector specific  export development activities under the EU Trade development project, were also successfully launched in September 2005. The export development programme, covering Textiles and Garments; and Gems and Jewelery sectors  have already produced positive results including establishing solid business contacts and confirmed orders.

During the year 2005 on our specific request, ITC also successfully launched a trade in services project under EU’s  Asia Trust Fund.  My delegation wishes to thank the EC – the key financial sponsor of above two projects and ITC for their efforts.

We also acknowledge with appreciation the support of GTZ, which assisted ITC to implement SHAPE sector strategy development project covering four sectors in Sri Lanka.  Apart from above mentioned country specific projects Sri Lanka has also benefited from several other activities under ITC’s global products.

In conclusion, I would like to place on record our appreciation to the Executive Director Mr. Denis Bélisle for having successfully completed the transitional arrangements for the senior management team of the ITC, according to the plan he laid out at last year’s JAG.  Comparing the gloomy situation at ITC 12 years ago when Mr. Bélisle was first appointed and the high point today, at which he leaves with excellent performance indicators and praise from member countries on all sides, I think Mr. Executive Director, you should be extremely satisfied.  The legacy of hope and optimism that you leave with ITC will be long remembered as an example of what can be achieved within the UN system with effective leadership.  Our best wishes to you for every success in your future endeavours and we warmly welcome the Executive Director designate and the new senior management team and wish you also all success in your tenure of office at ITC.

I thank you Madam Chair. 

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