In marking the 69th United Nations Day, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reaffirmed the United Nations’ commitment to empowering the marginalized and vulnerable. With less than 500 days until the 2015 end date for the Millennium Development Goals, he also noted in his message that the UN MDGs have inspired the most successful anti-poverty campaign ever. (Watch full video message here)
Here in Sri Lanka, the United Nations marked the day with Government counterparts and development partners with an MDG themed event in the UN Compound.
Speaking at the event, as the Chief Guest, Honourable Minister of External Affairs Professor G.L Peiris, said: “The UN is needed now more than it has ever been needed before.” Recognizing this, he also reflected on the UN-Sri Lanka relationship stating: “Since 1951, Sri Lanka has been actively engaging with the UN system in a variety of ways. I assure you that the government of Sri Lanka is committed to working with the UN and will continue to engage constructively over the years to come.”
Welcoming invitees to the UN compound, Mr. Subinay Nandy, UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka said, “While this year marks 69 years since the United Nations was established, this year also marks 59 years of our continued and strengthened partnership with Sri Lanka. We see this long-standing partnership as an affirmation of the common values and the shared vision that unite all of us in supporting the people of this beautiful country.”
Mr. Nandy also stated that, “The UN stands ready to continue exploring ways of working together to promote reconciliation and peaceful co-existence among communities”.
Dr. Saman Kelegama, Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies, shared some more of the highlights from the draft 2014 MDG Country Report that is currently being finalized with the UN and Government. He noted that: “Overall, Sri Lanka is in a very strong position. Of the 44 indicators that are relevant for Sri Lanka, 26 have clear targets and current data shows that Sri Lanka has already achieved 13 of them and is on track to achieve 11 others”.
During the event, the 100 short-listed entries from a photography competition that was held under the theme “My Sri Lanka, My Future” were displayed. The competition invited the public, through social media, to submit photographs pertaining to the 8 MDGs in Sri Lanka, and the six winners were presented with awards.
The event was also attended by senior government officials, heads and representatives of diplomatic missions, humanitarian and development partners, staff of the United Nations, media personnel, and in the afternoon students from over 15 schools visited the exhibition and met with UN staff.