Apr 20, London: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena says the main concern of Sri Lanka, being an island nation, is to achieve a stainable future for the benefit of future generations.
"Being an Island Nation, Sri Lanka has a special interest in upholding a sustainable future for our land, jungles, rivers and oceans, for the benefit of future generations," the President said delivering a speech on Thursday at the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Session.
The President noted that Asia is bound to emerge as the economic powerhouse of the world and when this economic boom happens in the Asian Region Sri Lanka should capitalize on the location-specific advantages and position itself as a maritime hub as the island is geographically situated in a strategic location where the busy East-West shipping route passes.
"Our oceans should benefit our people to assist in alleviating poverty, generate employment and promote equity and sustainable development. This is the way to bring in a stable and sustainable future," he said.
The President said extending Sri Lanka's support to the Clean Ocean Alliance, proposed by the United Kingdom is part of the island's commitment towards this end. And the country has joined the international community in similar endeavors, for example Climate Change.
"In this context, we welcome the adoption of the 'Commonwealth Blue Charter' in our joint efforts to ensure that the Oceans are a shared responsibility and the common heritage of mankind," he said.
The President said Sri Lanka is pleased to have the opportunity to serve as a 'Blue Charter Champion' and remains firmly committed to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. "These are tools to promote sustainable future," he added.
President Sirisena noted that his government, with the aim of mitigating the environmental impact caused by the excessive use of polythene and plastic, banned the use and manufacture of polythene products of 20 microns or less.
Highlighting that a Blue-Green Development Strategy for Sri Lanka was unveiled in 2016 and several other programs and projects to develop water-ways and river basins to keep the environment from pollution were launched by the Presidential Secretariat, the President said the government aims to implement Blue-Green initiatives to encourage low-emission economic development.
He emphasized that oceanic and marine resources will be used in a sustainable manner and organic agricultural practices and clean renewable energy will be promoted.
"Our common goal of a sustainable future which leaves no one behind needs to be pursued sincerely and vigorously, so that we may rise and grow together. The Commonwealth provides a unique platform to realize these ideals for mutual benefit. We in the Commonwealth should commit for these goals as this is an important area of securing a sustainable future," the President said in conclusion.