President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says Sri Lanka, as a nation with rich, philosophical heritage shaped by the teachings of Lord Buddha, fully understands the importance of balancing ecological concerns with human needs.
His remarks came during the High-level Thematic Debate of the United Nations General Assembly 76th session on “Delivering Climate Action: for People, Planet & Prosperity” called by UNGA President Abdulla Shahid on Tuesday (October 26).
“We are at a critical time in human history,” President Rajapaksa said stressing the need to address climate change urgently and decisively. To have an accumulative effect, all countries must come together to do this, he added.
The President pointed out that as a developing, tropical island nation, Sri Lanka is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world. “Our rich, philosophical heritage, shaped by the teachings of Lord Buddha, has instilled in us the importance of balancing ecological concerns with human needs.”
He said, internationally, Sri Lanka is proud to be a co-lead of the energy compact for ‘No New Coal Power.’
“Sri Lanka also leads the action group on mangrove ecosystems and livelihoods under the Commonwealth Blue Charter initiative. Additionally, the Colombo Declaration on Sustainable Nitrogen Management seeks to have nitrogen waste by 2030.”
Sri Lanka has ensured that its domestic policy framework has a focus on sustainability and to give effect to this, the country is taking to limit overuse of artificial fertilizers, thereby addressing health concerns as well as helping reduced nitrogen waste, the President told the debate.
Explaining Sri Lanka’s efforts to promote the use of sustainable energy, President Rajapaksa said the country’s nationally determined contributions targets achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
“On the energy side, we aim to increase the contribution of renewable energy sources to 70 per cent of national energy needs by 2030. We are also working towards enhancing national forest cover.”
To achieve these laudable objectives, Sri Lanka welcomes assistance through technology transfers, skills development, investments and financing support for our sustainable development agenda, he added.
President Rajapaksa went on to call on developed nations to fulfill their commitment to help the planet heal.
“Developing countries need meaningful multilateral and bilateral support to implement climate change mitigation, and adoption activities. This will create new opportunities for green growth that enhances future prosperity. The time to act is now,” he said in his concluding remarks. – ada derana