Nov 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka reiterated the call of the Group of 77 for adequate funding for development initiatives, enabling the developing countries to overcome the multifaceted challenges that hinder the achievement of the SDGs amidst the current global situation due to the pandemic.
Issuing a statement for the 44th Annual Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena noted that the unprecedented consequences arising from the current health crisis has spilled over to economies, as reflected globally by exacerbating the vulnerabilities in trade, tourism, investment, and employment, and Especially, developing countries are facing an additional burden.
In this context, the Minister recalled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s call to the international community at the Financing for Development Conference, for debt relief and to adopt fiscal policies to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
The Forty-Fourth Annual Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77 was held virtually on Thursday (12 November), chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.
The interactive dialogue was held on the theme "Major priority issues and the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the obstacles it poses to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and achievement of the SDGs".
In a video statement, Minister Gunawardena highlighted the strong mandate given by the people of Sri Lanka to the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa both at the presidential election and the general election, for his Vision for Prosperity and Splendor that gives confidence to Sri Lanka to commit further to the goals of the G-77.
He noted that Sri Lanka’s commitment to achieve the SDGs was reflected in the appointment of a Working Group to study the current status of Sri Lanka’s implementation and progress of the SDGs.
Sri Lanka’s Presidential Task Force in charge of Economic Revival and Poverty Eradication operates with the objective of creating a production economy promoting local industries. The Government has granted financial relief to over six million families and vulnerable groups and established a COVID – 19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund. We underscore the priority of making available a vaccine for COVID-19 to all.
The Foreign Minister further underscored the platform provided by the Group to developing countries in articulating and promoting collective interests on all major international economic issues within the UN system and in promoting South-South cooperation for development.
“Poverty remains a great obstacle for the development of the Members States and we share the commitment of this Group to eradicate poverty in all its forms,” he said.
He also recalled the original contribution of Sri Lanka's Economists, led by Dr. Gamani Corea, former Secretary General of UNCTAD, in mobilizing support for South-South cooperation.
Minister Gunawardena congratulated the President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, of Guyana for his stewardship of the Group, who made the key note address. Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly and António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations also addressed the Meeting.