“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,” he said addressing the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially severe on developing countries which has placed the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals at considerable risk, said President.
President Rajapaksa said that due to this 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 this uncertain situation.
“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. Tourism, one of Sri Lanka’s highest foreign exchange earners and a sector that supports nearly 14% of the population, has been devastated.
In addition to Tourism, small and medium businesses in many other sectors, received Government support through interest moratoriums and other financial sector interventions. Despite these, through the adoption of the Colombo Declaration on Sustainable Nitrogen Management, which seeks to halve nitrogen waste by 2030, Sri Lanka has also contributed to global efforts to reduce environmental pollution. Sustainability is a cornerstone of Sri Lanka’s national policy framework.
“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. I appreciate the encouragement received from many global institutions and nations for our efforts to create a more sustainable agriculture in Sri Lanka. We have also banned single use plastics to support ecological conservation. 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.”
The President stressed that despite Sri Lanka being a developing nation; it has been very successful in its vaccination program.