2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations on 24 October 1945, and the 60th anniversary of Sri Lanka becoming a member-state of the UN on 14 December 1955.
To celebrate these milestones, the United Nations in Sri Lanka in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will deliver a public outreach campaign. The campaign logo and tagline, ‘Our UN. අපේ UN. எங்கள் UN.’ (‘Our UN. Apey UN. Engal UN.’) were officially launched by the Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Chitranganee Wagiswara and the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Subinay Nandy, at an event held earlier this week.
The campaign, ‘Our UN. අපේ UN. எங்கள் UN.’, will run through the year, with the objective of increasing public awareness of Sri Lanka’s significant contribution to the UN system over the last 60 years.
Speaking in Parliament recently, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, acknowledged the long-standing partnership between Sri Lanka and the UN. He stated, “For much of Sri Lanka’s history since Independence, Sri Lanka was considered as an important member of the international community including in the United Nations. Having joined the UN on 14 December 1955, Sri Lanka has contributed in many ways to the UN system including its norm setting process. Just five years since becoming a Member, Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, was elected as a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council. Many distinguished Sri Lankans have held important positions in the UN and its agencies. They have chaired important conferences including on the Law of the Sea and presided over the General Assembly as well as the Security Council.”
Since Independence, Sri Lanka has held a diplomatic profile quite disproportionate to its geographic or demographic attributes and several Sri Lankans have held important positions in the UN system. Policies adopted by successive governments in Sri Lanka such as free-health, free-education and housing policies, have not only helped Sri Lanka’s development progress, but have also influenced global policy.
Speaking at the campaign launch, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Subinay Nandy, highlighted Sri Lanka’s noteworthy contribution to the UN system. He stated, “Sri Lanka has produced three Under-Secretary-Generals, a Vice President of the General Assembly, a Vice President of the International Court of Justice, and many other high-level positions that have influenced global policy and thought-leadership. Similarly, thousands of Sri Lankan citizens over the decades have contributed to UN peacekeeping efforts, including those currently deployed to important missions in Haiti, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. At the same time, 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.”
While the campaign reflects Sri Lanka’s significant contribution to the UN system, it also celebrates the long-standing and continuing partnership between the UN and Sri Lanka.