The Sunday Leader

Lanka A Model For Others, Says UN

The United Nations (UN) says Sri Lanka has served as an important model for other countries in terms of demonstrating the importance of policies such as free-education and free-health for promoting human development.

Subinay Nandy, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka said that Sri Lanka’s recent renewed emphasis on upholding human rights and the rule of law, whilst addressing lingering inequalities and promoting peace, mean that the newly proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – which explicitly address these issues – fit well with local priorities, and Sri Lanka’s aspirations and unfolding development vision.

Nandy was speaking at the launch of the Millennium Development Goals Country Report 2014 for Sri Lanka at an event graced by Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs, Dr Harsha De Silva, last week.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a set of eight goals agreed by world leaders in 2000 to be achieved before the end date in 2015. The eight MDGs range from halving extreme poverty rates to promoting gender equality and providing universal primary education.

As countries near the end target date in September 2015, governments around the world are reviewing their progress towards achieving the MDGs in the last 15 years.

The MDG Country Report is the third MDG review report produced by Sri Lanka. It is also the first report that covers the entire country, allowing comparison across the 25 districts and providing policy makers with information to identify and support regions lagging behind. It also analyses achievements and thematic areas requiring further attention.

Speaking at the launch event, Dr Harsha De Silva said: “The government of Sri Lanka understands the need in building bridges, in integrating our society, and in Sri Lanka being a country of Sri Lankans. I hope that we can make further progress in integrating the differences within communities.

We have to ensure that in our market framework there is social goodwill and economic justice. That is what we mean by a social market economy.”

The Report, which was prepared by the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka, is a joint publication by the Government of Sri Lanka and the United Nations in Sri Lanka.

Its findings show that Sri Lanka has performed well against the MDGs overall, having already achieved or being on-track to achieve the majority of the goals and indicators.

Highlighting Sri Lanka’s MDG performance, Nandy, stated, “The findings in the report make a strong case for Sri Lanka to be a leading and credible actor in the global deliberations around the development agenda for post-2015. Sri Lanka’s long history of investment in health, education and poverty alleviation programmes, has translated into robust performance against the MDGs, and Sri Lanka has many lessons to share”.

Looking to the future, the report also highlights certain areas that require additional focus such as Women’s Empowerment, Nutrition, Climate Change and Regional Disparities and these were discussed during a panel discussion on ‘Priorities Moving Forward’.

The panel discussion took place with the participation of Alain Sibenaler – UNFPA Representative, Dr Suren Batagoda – Secretary of the Ministry of Power and Energy, Ms Una McCauley – UNICEF Representative, Dr Shanthi Goonewardena – Director, Nutrition Coordination Division, Ministry of Health, and Ms Shanthi Sachithanandam – CEO, Viluthu.


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