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.
Sri Lanka’s renowned tourist attractions and its finest teas were in focus at the National Stall set by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, Geneva at the United Nations Women’s Guild Bazaar held on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 at the Palais des Nations. Organized by the United Nations Women’s Guild and Permanent Missions accredited to the United Nations in Geneva, over the years the UNWG Bazaar has become a premier event in the UN calendar, with more than 150 country’s National stalls which attracting close upon 6,000 visitors.
Proceeds from the Permanent Mission’s national stall are donated to the UN Women’s Guild’s charity account which assists in raising funds for disadvantaged children around the world annually.
Colombo, Sri Lanka – A two-day Senior Officials’ Meeting of the Colombo Process (CP) held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 4-5 November 2015 has resulted in far reaching concrete decisions and recommendations aimed at advancing collective efforts for safe and skilled labour migration management by sending countries in Asia. These include the setting up of a Colombo Process Technical Support Unit (CP TSU) in Colombo, to provide support to all the CP countries in pursuing the goals and actions set in the current thematic priorities of the CP and any other areas that the CP would agree to in the future.
Hon. Ms. Thalatha Atukorale, Minister of Foreign Employment of Sri Lanka and Chair-in-Office of the Colombo Process delivering the key note address emphasized the importance of migrant workers’ contributions to economic development in both home and host countries. She reiterated Sri Lanka's commitment as CP Chair-in-Office to work towards the well being of all migrant workers of Asia, and to leverage the support of other Regional Migration Processes, as well as regional and international groups of nations and civil societies to achieve this goal.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, has said the Colombo Process (CP) countries have shown that being competitors for the same markets and competing national interests has not stood in the way of collective action, and that contrary to conventional wisdom, cooperation in the field of migration must not necessarily be a ‘zero-sum-game’.
Ambassador Aryasinha, speaking in his capacity as the Chair of the Geneva-based CP Member States at the Senior Officials Meeting of the CP which opened in Colombo on 4 November 2015, noted the effective collaboration and action-oriented role of the CP to develop concrete actions and deliverables. Sri Lanka’s chairmanship of the CP over the past two years has focused on five thematic areas: Qualification and skills recognition processes, Fostering ethical recruitment, Effective pre-departure orientation and empowerment, Reducing the costs of remittance transfer, Enhancing capacities of the Colombo Process Member States to track labour market trends. He said during Sri Lanka’s chairmanship, beyond the tangible results from the identified areas for cooperation, the CP had also strengthened its operational modalities, worked towards self funding, and also enhanced cooperation with other groups, including with the ADD, the EU through the Asia-EU Dialogue and the GFMD.
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said that in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are incorporated into the Development Agenda, migration cuts across several aspects of development, including improving the quality of human mobility through well managed migration policies; displacement among issues related to peaceful and inclusive societies and Disaster Risk reduction; address trafficking in a comprehensive manner and action by Finance for Development Action Agenda which deals with remittances. Ambassador Aryasinha made this observation in his opening remarks while he moderated the Session on ‘Reflecting on the outcomes of the 2013 UN high level dialogue on international migration and development with a view to implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development’ of the Fifth Global Meeting of Chairs and Secretariats of Regional Consultative Processes on Migration (RCPs) held on 21st October 2015 in Cairo, Egypt.
Ambassador Aryasinha commended the significant role played by the IOM in actively contributing to the process of formulating the Post-2015 Development Agenda by advocating for migration to be recognized as an essential component of any future development framework and of national development policies and plans.