Wednesday, 13 March 2013 12:20
11th March 2013
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, New York
The Commonwealth Day Reception was hosted on 11th March 2013 by Sri Lanka, Australia and the United Kingdom at the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York. The event was graced by the UN Secretary General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon.
Heads of Missions and other diplomats from the Commonwealth family attended the event. A number of senior UN officials, including theUNDP Administrator, USG for Peacekeeping Operations, the USG for Disarmament Affairs, the Spokesperson for the Secretary General and the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict were also present.
The Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, H.E. Dr. Palitha Kohona welcoming the gathering said that the Commonwealth must strive to bring tangible benefits to its member states.“In the long run, it is tangible benefits that will keep us together. Although ideas and values are important, tangible benefits will be the glue that will bind us together as a family”.He also highlighted the challenges of “youth empowerment, women’s issues and trade and labor liberalization”.
The Permanent Representative of Australia, H.E. Mr. Gary Quinlan, during his address said that the Commonwealth is a powerful mechanism, and is distinct from any other organization. “While a common history unites us, it is the Commonwealth’s distinct desire to uphold democracy, human rights, and the rule of law that guides us”. “The Commonwealth comprises of 54 member states, of which, only 4 are developed countries. The rest are still developing”. He reminded us of the critical disparities between the developed and developing Commonwealth.
The message from Her Majesty the Queen was read out by H.E. Sir Mark Justin Lyall Grant, the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom. In her message she said that “the heart of the Commonwealth lies in the striving of individuals and communities to achieve great goals”.