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SL’s global SDG ranking improved despite pandemic: Foreign Secretary

Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage noted that Sri Lanka has improved in its global rank for the implementation of the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by seven positions, according to the Sustainable Development Report 2021, and is now ranked 87th out of 165 countries, despite the challenges posed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Delivering the keynote address at the fifth South Asia Forum on Sustainable Development Goals in Colombo, he highlighted the priority attached to the SDGs by the Government and said that Sri Lanka has set its own national development targets, driven by its global level of ambition.

Prof. Colombage said that Sri Lanka, taking into account the national context, priorities, and circumstances in its endeavours to achieve the SDGs, has established dedicated platforms to accelerate progress in areas that require more focused interventions and co-ordinated action.

The Foreign Secretary pointed out that the socioeconomic impacts of Covid-19 will be the greatest challenge for the South Asia region in achieving progress towards the SDGs, and accordingly, ensuring adequate and sustained financing for development would be a challenge.

Noting that Sri Lanka is rebuilding its economy after the pandemic, the Foreign Secretary re-affirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to remaining engaged and fostering international co-operation with a view to find transformative pathways to achieve sustainable development.

The forum was co-organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission’s (UNESCAP) South and South West Asia Office, the Sustainable Development Council of Sri Lanka, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the theme “Building back better from Covid-19 while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda”.

Held as the first international event in Sri Lanka during the pandemic, it was attended by 36 delegates from six countries, officials of the UNESCAP South and South-West Asia Office, UN officials in Sri Lanka, government officials, civil society, think-tanks, experts, and other stakeholders.

The forum paved the way to enhance understanding of key challenges and opportunities in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Regional Roadmap to support and complement the sub-regional agenda through sharing of experiences and knowledge, the Foreign Ministry said.