Statement by H.E. Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
of Sri Lanka to the United Nations

Commission on Sustainable Development 19th Session
11th  May, 2011, New York

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that I present a brief statement at the 19th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSD19).
As we rapidly approach Rio+20, the outcomes of CSD19 will be crucial to accelerate the discussions on sustainable development.

Mr Chairman,

Since the Rio Conference in 1992, many new initiatives have been undertaken at various levels, globally, regionally and locally, to attain sustainable development. At the same time, many problems that challenged us at Rio still remain unresolved, while new problems  continue to emerge. Climate Change is a classic example.

Many opportunities to address the challenges in adapting, up-scaling and mainstreaming sustainable development aspects in the human development process have not been used effectively and efficiently largely due to the absence of a global environmental governance system which could ensure the equitable sharing of the shrinking global environmental space within which developing countries must meet their human development targets.  The balancing of human development and the available environmental space are a critical challenge to all of us. 

Mr Chairman,

It is important to underline the attainment of SCP practices which contribute to the efforts of developing countries to accelerate their human development process while realising social goals, in particular poverty alleviation.

In the context of Sri Lanka, a major challenge that we are facing today in the path to sustainable development is, “Accelerating economic development and ensuring that the benefits of the development filter down to all our people while maintaining the carrying capacities of natural ecosystems”. In a post conflict phase, where development is a priority, this becomes a crucial challenge.  Although the contribution of Sri Lanka to  global environmental degradation is negligible, we nevertheless, must confront the negative impacts of global environmental degradation largely caused by others.  Additional resources, must be allocated to implement adaptation strategies to address these negative impacts which create enormous pressures on our socio-economic development initiatives.     

While facing these challenges, the government has taken several significant steps to ensure the greening of the economy by adopting a range of national policies in line with the goals of sustainable consumption and production. A National Green (Haritha) Lanka program has been developed under the direction of H.E. the President to monitor the overall progress of the program by the President’s office. 

Mr Chairman,

However, in the light of rapid globalisation and the multiple global challenges confronting humanity, no single country can address these challenges in isolation.  There is an urgent need to establish an international environmental governance system, which would be responsive to the common but differentiated responsibilities and the respective capabilities of the global community.  Critical environmental problems must be addressed based on scientific evidence within the framework of sustainable development. The serious collaboration of stakeholders, both at international and national levels, is essential to establish such a governance system that would be responsible for facilitating SCP practices both horizontally and vertically.

In this context I appeal to the delegates of CSD19 to agree to the following three key elements which are essential pre-requisites for developing countries to mainstream SCP practices in their national development processes.

(i) First, “the provision of sustainable and predictable funding sufficient for the implementation of all the clusters taken up at CSD19 and other related SCP programmes’. (We fully endorse the proposal made by G77 to establish a trust fund with multiple sources of funding for this purpose);

(ii) Second, ‘Access to and transfer of technology,  and building of national capacities and skills enabling decision making on technological issues at national level; and

(iii) A dedicated and sustainable ‘means of implementation’ to fulfil the needs of the developing countries to moving away from the Business as Usual practices used by the developed countries for their economic development.

Thank you.

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