Sri Lanka remains committed to ensure the Right to Development through its national development policies

16 june 2016 ms dilini


Sri Lanka said that it remains committed to ensure the Right to Development through its national development policies. Owing to Sri Lanka’s long history of consistent investments in health, education and poverty alleviation programmes, the country has succeeded in achieving some targets in relation to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ahead of schedule.

Sri Lanka made these observations during the Panel discussion on the promotion and protection of the Right to Development Commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development in the sidelines of the 32nd Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva from 13 June – 1 July 2016.

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South Centre and Group of Fifteen (G-15) Secretariats strengthen cooperation

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Martin Khor, Executive Director of the South Centre, and H.E. Ravinatha Aryasinha, Chairman of the Personal Representatives of the Heads of State and Government of the Group of Fifteen (G-15), witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the South Centre, represented by Mr. Vicente Yu, Head of Administration, and the Group of Fifteen, represented by Mr. Gihan Indraguptha, Head of Office, in Geneva, 16 June 2016.
 
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the South Centre and the Group of 15 Secretariats in Geneva on 16 June 2016.
 
The signing of the MoU of cooperation between the South Centre and the G-15 Secretariats is intended to promote the work of both institutions in the strengthening of the capacity of developing countries to better articulate their interests and perspectives in multilateral, regional and national forums.

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Minister Seneviratne briefs the International Labour Conference on Sri Lanka’s efforts towards Decent Work Programme

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Addressing the 105th Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva on 09th June 2016, Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations W.D.J. Seneviratne has elaborated on the initiatives made by Sri Lanka on the ‘Decent Work Programme’, including the “historical initiative of ‘National Minimum Wages Act No. 3 of 2016’ by which for the first time in the country a mandatory national monthly minimum wage was fixed payable to all workers by all employers in the country”.
 
While commending the initiatives taken by the ILO and its constituents towards the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Minister Seneviratne appreciated the assistance extended by the  ILO country office to Sri Lanka in a number of areas including the formulation of a National Labour Migration Policy for Sri Lanka; National Road Map for Youth Employment; Livelihood recovery and employment creation in conflict and disaster affected areas; automation of Labour Administration System;  promoting fundamental principles and Rights at Work in Export Processing Zones (EPZ); translation of International Labour Standards in to Domestic Courts through Labour Tribunal and Affiliate  Jurisdiction.
 

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Sri Lanka ratifies the Trade Facilitation Agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Sri Lanka ratify trade facilitation agreement


Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the WTO in Geneva Ambassador R.D.S. Kumararatne has presented to Mr. Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of WTO the Instrument of Acceptance of the Protocol on Trade Facilitation on 31st May 2016. Sri Lanka is the 81st Member to deposit its Instrument of Acceptance with the WTO on the ratification of Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the WTO. Once the two-third (108) of the current membership deposits its Instrument of Acceptance, the Agreement will come into effect.

The Trade Facilitation Agreement is expected to significantly benefit global trade while delivering support particularly to developing and least developed countries. The full implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement will achieve trade cost reduction and global economic growth. The developing and least developed countries of the WTO will enjoy implementation flexibilities and assistance.

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Minister Senaratne draws attention of the World Health Assembly to the recent floods in Sri Lanka

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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.

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Appeal for Donations for Flood Relief

20 may 2016 floods


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.

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Adopt a Village Market

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Policy Development Office (PDO) of the Prime Minister’s Office is hosting a website about rural “polas”/village fairs. The “pola” or “santhai” is a weekly village market that plays an important role in rural life in Sri Lanka. It is a meeting place for the community and also serves as the backbone of rural economies. A sizeable amount of retail trade takes place at village fairs, sales by primary producers and purchases of non-local products brought in by distributors. By helping to modernize and build capacity in village markets, it is intended to boost rural economics throughout the island. This website can be accessed by http://villagefair.pmoffice.gov.lk/ and provides a mechanism to link those who want to help develop Sri Lanka directly with village markets in need of essential infrastructure, especially in rural communities around the island. This initiative is about making it easy for donors to fund micro-projects in Sri Lanka, projects that will make a big impact in the lives of many. The needs of individual village markets are listed. Village markets that receive funds are obligated to follow up on the progress of each micro-project. Photographs of the completed micro-project will be uploaded on to the website to maximize transparency. So far, details of Matale and Colombo polas can be viewed. Down the line, we will keep the public updated on the progress of the website. For feedbacks and innovative concepts, write to us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Prospects for Sri Lankan scientific community to engage in research carried out by CERN

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Minister of Science, Technology & Research, Susil Premajayantha who visited the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) 10 May 2016, has agreed to enhance collaboration between CERN and Sri Lanka, through the development of a network of scientific community of Sri Lankan scientists and researchers, who could remain engaged with the research activity carried out by CERN  - the most prominent particle physics research institute in the world which is best known for its flagship discovery of the ‘Higgs-Boson” in 2012. It has been suggested that a ‘network’ of scientists with an organizational structure could be formed within Sri Lanka, with one institute serving as the nucleus in collaborations with CERN. It was suggested that the suitable scientists to be members of such a ‘network’ can be identified with the help of CERN, through national science institutions such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Arthur C. Clarke Institute, 7 science faculties in Universities etc.
 
The cooperation between Sri Lanka and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) was formally initiated on 25 June 2015, following the signing of an ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) Agreement between Sri Lanka‘s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha and the then Director General of CERN, Prof. Rolf-Dieter Heuer at the CERN Headquarters in Geneva. Following this formalization of relations, 2 Sri Lankan undergraduate students will for the first time join the CERN Summer Student Programme in June 2016, while it has also enabled Sri Lankan teachers to apply to participate in the CERN High School Physics Teachers Programme. Also, Sri Lanka and CERN will explore possibilities for Masters and PhD students to participate in the research activities of CERN in the fields of Physics, Engineering or Computing.
 

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SRI LANKA TO CHAIR ‘ABU DHABI DIALOGUE’ AMONG ASIAN COUNTRIES OF LABOUR ORIGIN AND DESTINATION

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Sri Lanka has been unanimously elected to be the next Chair-in-Office of the 17 member ‘Abu Dhabi Dialogue’ (ADD) among Asian Countries of Labour Origin and Destination. 

Senior Officials representing member governments of the ADD at a meeting on 11- 12 May 2016 in Dubai, agreed to Sri Lanka’s proposal to host a meeting of Senior officials and the 4th Ministerial consultation in Colombo in January 2017. The Ministers responsible for Foreign Employment of the ADD countries will attend the Colombo Meeting. Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam are members of the ADD.

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Sri Lanka is moving towards a knowledge-based society through Science and Technology Development

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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.’

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Sri Lanka calls for collective efforts to strengthen the international law with regard to nuclear weapons

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Referring to the arguments made by some that “nuclear weapons are not illegal as per se and that the UN Charter has not excluded the possibility of using nuclear weapons in self – defense”, Sri Lanka said that such “existing lacuna in international law for not explicitly prohibiting nuclear weapons should not be taken as a cover to legitimize nuclear weapons, instead we should take it as a catalyst to work collectively in order to close the gaps and strengthen the international law.”

Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya made these remarks on 11th May 2016 at the second session of the Open – Ended Working Group (OEWG) on Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations, held in Geneva from 2-13 May 2016. She further added that a ‘step –by –step’ approach with an undefined ‘final stage’ tends to lose the momentum, and that any “undue delays in taking proactive actions or having to wait until a minimum threshold point is fulfilled by all nuclear possessing States, compromises the rights of States who are not relying on nuclear weapons for their security, and are being subjected to unfair risk of nuclear weapon detonations, accidental or intentional.”

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Sri Lanka first South Asian state to become a party to the Budapest Convention

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Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha has said, by becoming a State party to the Budapest Cyber Crime Convention from 1st September 2015, Sri Lanka has demonstrated its strong commitment towards harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing law enforcement and judicial cooperation among nations in combating cyber crimes. 
 
Addressing the High Level Policy Dialogue of the WSIS Forum held in Geneva 2 – 6 May 2016, he said, Sri Lanka was the first South Asian state to do so, which has enabled that Sri Lanka is safer for international investments and trade using digital infrastructure. 

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WIPO commends Sri Lanka for concrete deliverables under IP Action Plan

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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.

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Sri Lankan inventors win 2 Gold, 3 Silver and 2 Bronze Medals at the 44th International Inventors Exhibition in Geneva

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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.

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Sri Lanka integrating IP into national policy formulation with special emphasis on innovation

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Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said a IP system has a key role to play in supporting innovation and technology, which are essential components of sustainable development. 
 
Ambassador Aryasinha made this observation to the 17th Session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) at the World Intellectual Property Organization on 11th April 2016 in Geneva.
 

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Sri Lanka says Lethal Autonomous Weapons would undermine regional and global stability

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Sri Lanka has cautioned that the potential military advantages of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) would risk proliferation and thereby lower the threshold of the rules of warfare, undermining regional as well as global stability. Sri Lanka also alerted on the risk of non-state actors gaining access to such weapons and the potential breach of cyber security in the autonomous technology used in weapons systems. 
 
Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, made these observations during an intervention by Sri Lanka at a five day Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) within the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) which commenced yesterday (11 April) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. LAWS also commonly known as 'Killer Robots', is being broadly categorized as an emerging type of autonomous technology with potential use in lethal weapons systems, that will once activated, have the ability to select, engage, and use force at targets, without any human intervention. 
 

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High Level Delegation Visits WEF as follow-up to Davos

25 march 2016 wef group

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.

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Government of Sri Lanka takes note of the Report by the SR on Minority Issues and welcomes her visit to Sri Lanka

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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.

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Sri Lanka – Switzerland signs agreement for regular political dialogue and cooperation

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Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Federal Councillor and the Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland Mr. Didier Burkhalter on Thursday (03.03.2016) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on ‘Foreign Office Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation’, in Bern the capital of Switzerland.  The agreement would   facilitate a more stronger and regular dialogue between Sri Lanka and Switzerland.  The MoU was signed at the conclusion of an official visit to Switzerland, which was noted to be the first by a Sri Lankan Foreign Minister to Bern in 30 years. Ministers also discussed on the possibility of entering into a comprehensive partnership agreement on migration between the two countries, and agreed to pursue the proposal through technical committees from both sides. 
 
Welcoming Minister Samaraweera in Bern, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, recalled his visit to Sri Lanka March 2015, shortly after the Presidential elections.  He affirmed Switzerland’s continued cooperation and assistance to Sri Lanka both for the ongoing activities, as well as in new areas, including in providing expertise to the process of developing the proposed models of reconciliation   by the Government of Sri Lanka. 
 

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Sri Lanka announces readiness to become a State Party to the Ottawa Convention

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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.

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Remarks by Hon. Mangala Samaraweera Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka 20th Meeting of the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies

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Remarks by
Hon. Mangala Samaraweera
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka
 
20th Meeting of the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies
Geneva, 2 March 2016
 
Recent developments in Sri Lanka
 
Secretary General
Excellencies
Ladies and Gentlemen
 
•It is an honour to be invited to the Community of Democracies, since my distinguished predecessor Lakshman Kadirgamar addressed the Inaugural Ministerial Conference of the Community in Warsaw in June 2000. 
 
•As you all know, democracy in its modern form began to take root in my country over a century ago when the basic forms of participatory democracy were introduced by the colonial government at the time. These systems evolved until, in 1931, Universal Adult Franchise was introduced in Sri Lanka, long before many other countries in the world. In 1948, with Sri Lanka becoming Independent, our Parliament was established. 
 

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The 68th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence Day celebrated in Geneva

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The 68th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence was celebrated at an event organized by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva on 6 February 2016 (Saturday) at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) New Building. Over 250 members of the Sri Lankan community attended the event.
  
Addressing the gathering, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, Charge d’Affaires a.i. said this solemn event was a celebration of Sri Lankan identity and the rich ethno-religious diversity that all Sri Lankans share. She noted that the Independence Day this year was celebrated at a time when the national unity government under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, “has presented to the world a Sri Lanka that is seeking to be a prosperous and peaceful nation, with equal opportunities for all its peoples, irrespective of their cast, creed or ethnicity”. Mrs. Jayasuriya, also highlighted the contribution made by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva through  actively engaging with a wide range of UN and international agencies, on human rights, trade, migration, disarmament, sustainable development, intellectual property, scientific research, environment and humanitarian work, over the last year, accruing tangible benefits to Sri Lanka. In this context she commended the Sri Lankan experts who have worked and are working in these organizations for their dedication as well as for their assistance to Sri Lanka over the years, and recalling Ambassador Aryasinha’s call on expatriate Sri Lankans and organizations to help in making the 'Declaration of Peace' pledge a reality abroad in practical ways she invited the overseas Sri Lankans and their associations to continue their good efforts to promote peace, prosperity and harmony in Sri Lanka.
   

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Sri Lanka ratifies the Employment Policy Convention No. 122

3jan2016 ilo ratification


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.

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Sri Lanka has embarked on a great mission towards achieving reconciliation - PM

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Over 2,000 world leaders and economic specialists, including Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe participated at the inaugural ceremony of the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland on Wednesday (20).
 
It is the first time in history that a Sri Lankan leader attended the World Economic Forum on a special invitation.
 

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Sri Lanka expresses commitment to protect endangered wildlife species

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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.

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Sri Lanka selected for WIPO Project on Intellectual Property, Tourism and Culture

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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.

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