President calls for Development Financing, Debt Relief | Daily News
Address to UN General Assembly

President calls for Development Financing, Debt Relief

All Sovereign States must be treated equitably
Home grown mechanism for peace and reconciliation
Proposes COVID Knowledge Exchange Hub in Colombo
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addressing the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York yesterday.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addressing the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York yesterday.

It is vital that more initiatives including development financing and debt relief be adopted through international mechanisms to support developing nations and help them emerge from the present uncertain situation caused by the pandemic, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa stated yesterday.

Addressing the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, President Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka welcomes the support of the international community as it engages in the task of reviving its economy and carrying out its national development programme. “It is the Government’s firm intention to build a prosperous, stable and secure future for all Sri Lankans, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or gender,” the President told the UN General Assembly.

“If, in keeping with the theme of our General Debate today, we are to truly build resilience through hope, we must all strive towards the common good.

“It is the role of the United Nations to facilitate this by treating all Sovereign States, irrespective of size or strength, equitably, and with due respect for their institutions and their heritage,” the President added.

“We are ready to engage with all domestic stakeholders, and to obtain the support of our international partners and the United Nations, in the process of rebuilding the Nation. However, history has shown that lasting results can only be achieved through home-grown institutions reflecting the aspirations of the people,” President Rajapaksa stated in his well-received remarks to world leaders.

“Fostering greater accountability, restorative justice, and meaningful reconciliation through domestic institutions is essential to achieve lasting peace. So too is ensuring more equitable participation in the fruits of economic development,” the President added.

Referring to COVID-19, for which he proposed to set up a Knowledge sharing hub in Colombo, the President said: “The economic impact of the pandemic has been especially severe on developing countries. This has placed the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals at considerable risk.”

He noted that Sri Lanka has suffered greatly due to the pandemic. In addition to the tragic loss of life, our economy has been deeply affected. The lockdowns, together with general movement restrictions, reduced international travel, and slower global growth have affected nearly all sectors of our economy. 

“In addition to their immediate impact, these economic repercussions of the pandemic have limited the fiscal space available to implement our development programmes.”

“Sri Lanka also benefitted greatly from financial and material support provided by bilateral and multilateral donors to manage the pandemic. I thank these nations and institutions for their generosity. The increased global cooperation visible during this on-going crisis is greatly encouraging.”

The President pointed out that the International Community must recognise that the challenges surrounding production, distribution, deployment and acceptance of vaccines must be overcome urgently if the spread of dangerous new virus strains is to be prevented. “Ensuring that everyone, everywhere, is vaccinated is the best way out of the pandemic.”

“As devastating as the consequences of the pandemic have been to humanity, the world faces the even greater challenge of climate change in the decades to come. As emphasised in the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the unprecedented effect of human activity on the health of the planet is deeply worrying.”

The President said: “Because of its impact on soil fertility, biodiversity, waterways and health, my Government completely banned the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, and weedicides earlier this year. Production and adoption of organic fertiliser, as well as investments into organic agriculture, are being incentivised. Sri Lanka recognises the urgent need to reduce use of fossil fuels and support decarbonisation.

Our energy policy seeks to increase the contribution of renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydropower to 70% of our national energy needs by 2030.

We intend to make full use of geostrategic location and our robust institutions, strong social infrastructure, and skilled workforce, to attract investment and broaden trade relationships.

Terrorism is a global challenge that requires international cooperation, especially on matters such as intelligence sharing, if it is to be overcome.

Violence robbed Sri Lanka of thousands of lives and decades of prosperity in the past half century. My Government is committed to ensuring that such violence never takes place in Sri Lanka again. We are therefore acting to address the core issues behind it.” 

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