Private sector contribution key to achieve Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainable Development Council (SDC), in partnership with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) is looking at advancing private sector action for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Sri Lanka through the development of an actionable strategy for promoting inclusive and sustainable business practices. The strategy has been developed following a collaborative, cross-sectoral and cross-agency consultative process. Inclusive and Sustainable Businesses (ISBs) are purpose-driven enterprises that deliberately seek positive change in communities and the environment. ISBs use market-based approaches to achieve positive social and environmental impacts, while ensuring their own commercial sustainability. A Forum was convened in Colombo on Wednesday (27) by SDC and ESCAP to discuss the proposed strategy to promote ISBs for sustainable development in Sri Lanka and was attended by representatives from Government, private sector, development partner agencies, and civil society organisations.
The proposed strategy presented by the Director General of SDC, Chamindry Saparamadu contained a coherent set of actions to support ISBs in Sri Lanka.
Industries Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana emphasized the need to pay special attention to enabling decent and inclusive work conditions to marginalized communities in the plantation sector as well as those living in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country while Finance State Minister Shehan Semasinghe highlighted the current challenges in accessing concessionary financing for small and medium enterprises which is a hindrance to their development. The State Minister further highlighted the Government’s plans with regard to capital market development in tandem with the ongoing debt restructuring process. President’s Senior Advisor on Climate Change, Ruwan Wijewardene, said the pivotal role the private sector can play in developing a green economy and supporting environmental sustainability.
Environment Ministry Secretary Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Industries Ministry Secretary Thilaka Jayasundera, Director General BOI Renuka Weerakoon, UN Resident Coordinator for Sri Lanka Marc-Andre Franche, Chief Representative of JAICA Sri Lanka Tetsuya YAMADA, Manager-FIG South Asia of International Finance Corporation Joon Young Park, President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) Keerthi Gunawardena, Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce Vice Chairperson Gayani De Alwis, Chairman, SLASSCOM Jehan Perinpanayagam, Vice President (MSME) of DFCC Bank Chandana Wanigasena, Executive Director of UN Global Compact Network Sri Lanka, Rathika de Silva, Director-Business Development, Selyn Handlooms Selyna Pieris and other officials from UN agencies also spoke.
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