High Commission of Sri Lanka in India

President's message on the SAARC Charter Day PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

It is a great pleasure for me, as the current Chair of SAARC, to extend warm greetings and best wishes of the Government and people of Sri Lanka to the Governments and people of South Asia on the occasion of the commemoration of the SAARC Charter Day. 

Twenty-four years ago, our nations came together to establish SAARC with the conviction that regional cooperation among countries of South Asia is mutually beneficial, desirable and necessary for promoting the welfare and improving the quality of life of the peoples of the region. The then leaders of South Asia believed that in an increasingly interdependent world, the objectives of peace, freedom, social justice and economic prosperity are best achieved in our region by fostering mutual understanding, good neighbourly relations and meaningful cooperation among Member States which are bound by ties of history and culture.   

Since the establishment of SAARC with that noble conviction, our Association has developed and matured steadily over the years with a decisive shift in focus in its third decade, towards implementation.   

It is heartening to see increasing interaction between the people of our region. It is in recognition of the importance of this aspect to the regional integration process that the Fifteenth SAARC Summit was held in Colombo in 2008, under the theme Partnership for Growth for Our People.   

The underlying theme of the Mahinda Chintana Policy Statement of 2005 is the importance of collective self-reliance for the achievement of socio-economic development. Especially in the context of the current global economic crisis, the promotion and strengthening of collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia which is enshrined in our Charter as one of SAARC’s objectives, assumes greater significance.  The four Agreements signed during the Fifteenth SAARC Summit in Colombo last year, namely the Protocol of Accession of Afghanistan to the Agreement on SAFTA, Agreement on the Establishment of the South Asian Regional Standards Organisation, the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and the Charter of the SAARC Development Fund, along with the adoption of the Statement on Food Security were important steps in this process.   

Since the Summit, there has been further continued progress. The SAARC Food Bank is now fully operational. Project based development through the SAARC Development Fund is progressing well and the Secretariat of the Fund is to be established shortly in Bhutan. Our regional resolve and commitment to work together to address our problems in a regional-specific framework continues to gather momentum. This is manifest in the SAARC Ministerial Statement on Global Economic Crisis and the SAARC Ministerial Declaration on Cooperation in Combating Terrorism adopted by the SAARC Council of Ministers in February 2009. During Sri Lanka’s Chairmanship of SAARC, the Ministers of SAARC Member States dealing with the subjects of Energy, Higher Education, Transport, Parliamentary Affairs, Children’s issues, and Science and Technology held meetings in Colombo, enabling important decisions to be taken in specific areas of common interest.  During the same period, the Ministers of Agriculture, Finance and Environment also met in other SAARC capitals.   

While reaffirming Sri Lanka’s firm commitment to SAARC and its objectives, I remain confident of the determination of the Governments and peoples of our region towards fostering the stronger cooperation that is essential for peace, freedom, social justice and economic prosperity in South Asia. 

 

Mahinda Rajapaksa

President of Sri Lanka

 

 
Prime Minister's message on the SAARC Charter Day PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

It gives me great pleasure to extend greetings on the twenty-fourth anniversary of the signing of the Charter that established the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.   

SAARC reflects the determination of the Governments and peoples of South Asia to work together towards finding solutions to their common problems in a spirit of amity and cooperation based on mutual respect, equity and shared benefits.

Since its establishment in 1985, SAARC has moved forward steadily and into the core areas of trade, economic cooperation and poverty alleviation that are vital for peace, security and development in our region.   

It is said that just as much as our shared past, it is the allure of a common future of progress that now beckons and binds SAARC together. The SAARC Charter Day provides an occasion to recall the contribution made by the founders of our Association and to re-dedicate ourselves to furthering the common goals and objectives that we have set for ourselves.   

I wish to avail myself of this opportunity to reiterate Sri Lanka’s strong commitment to working towards greater regional cooperation through SAARC. 

  

Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
 
Foreign Minister's message on the SAARC Charter Day PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

I am delighted to issue a message to commemorate SAARC Charter Day. It is noteworthy that during the last twenty-four years of its existence, SAARC has moved forward steadily from a declaratory to an implementation stage, with considerable progress in realizing several of the important objectives set out in the Charter. 

As current Chair of the Council of Ministers, I welcome the steady focus that has been directed towards implementing the decisions reached by our Heads of State or Government in the Fifteenth Summit Declaration and the Colombo Statement on Food Security. Since assuming the Chair of SAARC, Sri Lanka had the privilege of hosting six SAARC Ministerial Meetings, namely the Third Meeting of SAARC Energy Ministers in January 2009; Conference of SAARC Ministers of Parliamentary Affairs in February 2009; the First Meeting of SAARC Education/Higher Education Ministers in March 2009; the Fourth SAARC Ministerial Conference on Children in July 2009; the Second Meeting of SAARC Ministers of Transport also in July 2009; and the Second Meeting of SAARC Ministers of Science and Technology in November 2009. This heightened activity in SAARC at a high political level complemented by meetings and activities at technical and official level, is an indication of our ever strengthening resolve to pursue our common goals and objectives.   

We are currently witnessing an increase in intra-regional trade under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and I hope that, especially in the context of the current Global Economic Crisis, trade linkages in South Asia would continue to improve, complemented by trade friendly customs and standards regimes that we are currently striving towards.  

The initiation of the SAARC Development Fund that will finance projects in our region through its social, economic and infrastructure windows is an important step in our collective effort to ensure that the decisions we take have a positive impact on the lives of our people. The South Asian University which is scheduled to commence its first academic session next year is another important project that our Organization is engaged in as it marks its Twenty-fourth Anniversary.   

The Fifteenth SAARC Summit acknowledged the ongoing contribution of Science and Technology including cutting edge technology in information and bio-technology in improving the quality of life of the people of our region. It is heartening to witness the initiatives taken by Member States since the Fifteenth Summit to strengthen intra-regional cooperation in Science and Technology through two high-level ministerial meetings held in New Delhi and in Colombo and the adoption of the SAARC Action Plan on Science and Technology.   

While our Member States actively pursue regional integration through SAARC, it is also necessary to ensure that we succeed in the elimination of the scourge of terrorism in our region, so that growth and development achieves its full potential in an atmosphere of peace and security.   

The observance of the SAARC Charter Day will I am sure, further consolidate our unity of purpose, which seeks to work together for the peace and prosperity of the peoples of our region.

   

Rohitha Bogollagama, M.P. 

Minister of Foreign Affairs

 

 
Sri Lanka Elected to United Nations Migrant Workers Committee PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

Sri Lanka's candidate, Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam was re-elected to the UN Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW), to serve a four-year term, until the end of year 2013, at the election held in New York on 3rd December 2009. The election was held at the Fourth Meeting of the States Parties to the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. 

The Committee, as its main responsibility, monitors the implementation of the Convention and it is the most comprehensive international instrument that deals with the rights of migrant workers. The Convention is an important component of the core international human rights treaties in the UN Human Rights Treaty System. It came into force in the year 2003,and as of today, forty-one countries have become Party to the Convention.   

Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam was elected as the first Chairman of the Migrant Workers Committee in year 2003. In addition to Sri Lanka, candidates presented by the Philippines, Guatemala, Turkey, Ecuador, Mali, Jamaica, Senegal and Azerbaijan, were also elected as members of the Committee. With the election of these nine members, the Migrant Workers Committee (CMW) now comprises a total of 14 elected members, who are experts on human rights. 

  

Ministry of Foreign Affairs  
Colombo
08th December 2009
 
Second Meeting of SAARC Ministers of Science & Technology held in Colombo PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 18:30

The Second Meeting of the SAARC Ministers of Science & Technology which was chaired by the Minister of Science & Technology of Sri Lanka, Prof. Tissa Vitarana, was held in Colombo on 24th November 2009.   

The Ministerial meeting was attended by Ministers of Science and Technology from SAARC countries namely, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan.

In his inaugural address, Minister Vitarana emphasized the need to further promote cooperation in the area of Science and Technology within the SAARC to achieve socio – economic development in South Asia.  

Delivering a message from the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Hon. Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, the Secretary to the Prime Minister, Mr. Mahinda Bandusena, stated that the application of science and technology would enable value added products to be developed from the agricultural produce of South Asian countries. Mr. Ghulam Dastgir, Director, SAARC Secretariat, also addressed the Inaugural Session.   

The Second Meeting of SAARC Ministers of Science & Technology reviewed the progress in the implementation of the decisions of its First Meeting held in New Delhi in September 2008.  The Meeting also considered the Report of the Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Technical Committee on Science & Technology and the Report of the Third Meeting of the SAARC Working Group on Biotechnology. The Meeting reviewed the implementation of the SAARC Action Plan on Science & Technology and underscored the need for expediting the harmonization of standards within SARSO under SAFTA. The Meeting also considered the matters connected to funding modalities to undertake science & technology programmes and projects under the implementation of the SAARC Action Plan on Science & Technology, Programme of Cooperation, SAARC Industrial Research and Development Initiatives, “Science Caravan”, the format/framework of the SAARC Science and Technology web portal, Sri Lanka Nanoscience Institute to  serve as a SAARC Institute for Nano Technology, a SAARC mechanism on intellectual property rights etc.   

The visiitng Ministers from the SAARC countries called on H. E the President on 25th November 2009 and held a detailed discussion on future endavours of the SRRAC in the fields of Science & Technology.  

The Ministerial Meeting was preceded by the Meeting of Senior Officials held on 23 November 2009. The Meeting of Senior Officials was chaired by Ms. M.B.A. Ekanayake, Secretary, Ministry of Science & Technology of Sri Lanka. 

    

Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
Colombo  
25th November 2009
 


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