President ratifies Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Thursday, 22 September 2016 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

President Maithripala Sirisena handed over the instruments pertaining to entry into force of Paris Agreement on Climate Change to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday (21) at the United Nations General Assembly, being held in New York.

Following that, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the Paris Agreement has galvanised engagement of the United Nations’ engagement in fighting climate change at the highest level.

US Secretary of State John Kerry described this ratification as a landmark event that lays a solid foundation for the climate-resilient transformations of the global economy.

The Paris Agreement was opened for signature on 22 April at a high-level signature ceremony convened by the Secretary General in New York. At that ceremony, 174 States and the European Union signed the agreement and 15 states also deposited their instruments of ratification.

Currently, there are 185 signatories to the Paris Agreement.  Of these, 61States have also deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval accounting in total for 47.78% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.


US Millennium Challenge Corporation to assist Sri Lanka


The United States Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has selected Sri Lanka for its Threshold Programme, under which assistance will be provided for selected projects. The MCC Chief Executive Officer, Dana J Hyde called on President Maithripala Sirisena on 20 September at the Loews Regency Hotel and stated that MCC team is already in Sri Lanka for the preparation of a feasibility report, which will be presented to the MCC Board of Directors in December 2016.

The Board will, then, decide on the projects to be implemented in Sri Lanka, she said. The CEO added that the MCC will assist several projects to assist the realisation of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

President Sirisena thanked the MCC for selecting Sri Lanka for assisting under the Threshold Programme and recalled that the US has been assisting Sri Lanka for several decades starting with the help provided for preparation of a Feasibility Report for Mahaweli Hydro Electric project as early as in 1950s. “Today it is Sri Lanka’s biggest multipurpose project,” he said.

Hyde congratulated for the achievements of the Government during the last one-and-a-half year period and said that the world recognises the tremendous achievements made by the Government. 

Ministers Arjuna Ranatunge and Gayantha Karunathilake, Deputy Minister Ajith Perera and Permanent Representative Rohan Perera and Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam also participated in the discussion.



Sirisena, Indian FM discuss fisheries crisis, delayed Indian projects in New York


President Maithripala Sirisena held talks with Indian External Affairs Minister M.J. Akbar in New York yesterday, only days after his Government unilaterally scrapped the Sampur coal power project that was to be constructed as part of a joint venture with a publicly-owned Indian energy firm.  

Meeting on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly Sessions at the UN Headquarters in Manhattan, President Sirisena and the Indian External Affairs Minister discussed delays in Indo-Lanka joint ventures, the Palk Bay fishing crisis and terrorism, according to the Presidential Media Division (PMD).

Minister Akbar referred to delays in starting some joint ventures between India and Sri Lanka during the meeting, and pointed out the need to expedite those projects, the media division said, without going into specifics. 

President Sirisena had noted that he was continuously examining the progress of the proposed projects. It is not clear if the controversial Sampur coal power plant was one of the projects under discussion at the New York meeting. Last week the Government informed the Supreme Court that it would not go ahead with the coal power project in Sampur, following protests by environmentalists and residents in the area. The Indian High Commission in Colombo said last week that the Government of Sri Lanka was yet to give the Indian Government official intimation of the decision. 

President Sirisena and Minister Akbar also discussed the Palk Bay fishing crisis during the meeting. President Sirisena had told the Indian Minister that the two Governments had to look at it as a human issue and whenever fishermen were arrested for illegally crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line, the respective Governments must release them as soon as possible, the media division said. 

He added that the Government of Sri Lanka and the fishermen of the Northern Province were concerned about the long-term damage caused to the environment and sea resources – in an apparent reference to illegal bottom trawling by Indian fishing vessels poaching in Sri Lankan seas. 

President Sirisena reiterated therefore that an early solution should be found in consultation with the fishing community and urged the Indian Government’s assistance with resolving the issue, the media division said.(DB)