President Sirisena's address to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Conference
Since its inception, the United Nations Organization has always striven to make human life more rational, more meaningful and more prosperous. As world leaders, it is our responsibility and duty to build such a world.
The Government of Sri Lanka fully supports the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals and targets that have been adopted by this Assembly.
Accordingly, I declare that the Government of Sri Lanka will act with determination as a pioneer of eco-sensitive civilization that is emerging in the 21st century.
Sustainable development encapsulates the equilibrium between social and economic development and environmental protection. The Government of Sri Lanka anticipates achieving these goals fully by 2030.
In that respect, we will work towards the provision of basic needs of the people, progressive alleviation of poverty, elimination of all forms of discrimination and inequalities, and establish a society based on social justice and human security.
Parallel to this, while emphasizing on the protection of natural resources, we will also formulate a state policy on resource consumption based on the sustainable capacity of the environment.
We will strive to ensure that the relevant policy framework would be implemented within an institutional structure based on the principles of good governance espoused by my Government. Special attention will also be given to the concept of environmental good governance, as an integrated part of the good governance policies.
We will ensure the participation in these efforts, not only of the State sector, but the civil society and the business sector, as well.
Sustainable Development cannot be achieved by a single country alone. Our strategy will therefore envisage a framework for cooperation between the United Nations, regional organizations and other states.
Sri Lanka will be fully committed to dealing with the thirteenth Sustainable Development Goal relating to Climatic Change. We will strive to minimize risks of possible environmental hazards. I firmly believe that a proper study is required to ascertain how climate change aggravates Sri Lanka’s contemporary development challenges such as poverty alleviation, food security, increasing aging population and natural disasters. Mr. Chairman,
In conclusion, I wish to affirm that in the preparation of development policies for Sri Lanka as an aspiring upper middle income country, our special attention is focused on poverty alleviation (SDG 01), achieving food security (SDG 02), energy (SDG 7), education (SDG 04), minimizing income disparity (SDG 10) and urban development (SDG 11).
Sri Lanka’s rich history, dating back beyond 2,500 years provides us with inspiration and strength in this endeavor. I like to conclude with an ancient Pali blessing that also adorns the preamble to the Constitution of Sri Lanka:
Devo vassatu kalena
Sassa-sampatti hetu cha
Phito bhavatu loko cha
Raja bhavatu dhammiko
May the rains fall in due season (Environmental balance)
May the harvest be bountiful (Economic Prosperity)
May the world prosper
May the Ruler be righteous(Good Governance)
This indicates that even many centuries ago, our ancestors possessed the wisdom and awareness of the Sustainable Development Triangle. As inheritors of this traditional knowledge and influenced by their ancient wisdom which will be adapted to meet the requirements of the modern era, Sri Lanka stands prepared to meet challenges successfully and march forward gloriously in the 21st century.
May the Noble Triple Gem bless you.