Rotary Club of Colombo West celebrates 75th anniversary of United Nations

Saturday, 8 February 2020 00:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Rotary Club of Colombo West celebrated 75 years of the United Nations and invited Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Hanaa Singer to be the Chief Guest and speak on the topic of ‘Celebrating 75 years – UN’s role in building the future we want’. Singer leads the UN Country Team of 22 Resident and Non-Resident UN Agencies. 

Singer has close to three decades of experience with the UN, working across development and humanitarian contexts at various senior management and strategic leadership roles. She explained, “The stories of the Rotary and the United Nations are intertwined. From our very first meetings in 1945 to the ground-breaking Declaration of Human Rights shortly after our founding, our pathways are built upon shared principles and ideals. In fact, it is the principles of Rotarians that influenced the content of the Declaration of Human Rights with your 1940 resolution signed in Havana Cuba that enshrined ‘freedom, justice, truth, sanctity of the pledged word and respect for human rights’ as your guiding light.” “Today I am here to speak about international partnerships and there is none more impactful than that of the United Nations and the Rotary and its results for people and planet. For example, your commitment to ending polio is one of the main reasons that the disease is almost eradicated worldwide – and in Sri Lanka, your dedication and perseverance has helped to keep Sri Lanka polio-free. Led by the Rotary, UNICEF and WHO, and with the help of private sector and citizens around the world, we can say that polio is almost a disease of the past.” 

“Today the UN is working with the global community to address the challenges of the world through the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda that includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG Agenda is constantly adapting and evolving to meet new challenges. The SDGs are a collective roadmap to address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.” 

“All of you would agree with me that none of the issues covered in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda can be addressed in isolation – they require strong partnerships, with governments, the private sector, civil society, and within the UN system. Multi-stakeholder partnerships are required to effectively address the societal challenges we face today. Therefore, I encourage all of you to bring together, through your networks, multiple stakeholders such as civil society and the business community towards addressing the key developmental challenges Sri Lanka faces today. I know Rotarians to be a very determined and tenacious group of people with a heart for service and working within very influential positions across various sectors in Sri Lanka.”

“Many of Sri Lanka’s development challenges are multi-faceted and require the input of multiple sections of society to understand, develop solutions and deliver results. Partnerships, across sectors, are vital to address major issues such as health and nutrition, education, women’s empowerment, employment, environment and infrastructure.”

“The Sri Lankan Government has taken an important first step by promising to align its development agenda with the SDGs. We as the United Nations are working with them on a number of areas, to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs.”

“This year is doubly important for the partnerships of the United Nations. 2020 is not just the 75th year of the UN, but it also marks the beginning of the Decade of Action. With only 10 years left to achieve the Global Goals by 2030 – the UN is urgently calling on everyone to step up action. Because everybody has a contribution to make. To end poverty, protect our planet, and build fair and equal societies, we need to go farther, go faster, together.”

“The Decade of Action calls on governments, businesses, civil society and individuals everywhere to create an unstoppable force to reach the Goals by 2030. 

Which is why this year, during the 75th year of the United Nations we are launching the biggest-ever global conversation on the role of global cooperation in building the future we want.”

“And as I close today, I want you to know that the United Nations in Sri Lanka is with you and that it is together that we make the largest impact. When we move together, realising our ambitions and using smart unique innovations, we can deliver extraordinary results. It is together that we will build the future we want.” 

Rotary which commenced in 1905, is a worldwide organisation whose membership now exceeds 1.25 million in over 200 countries with the motto of ‘Service above self’, and in Sri Lanka itself, has more than 1,400 Rotarians in 70 Rotary Clubs. The Rotary Club of Colombo West, one of the largest clubs in Sri Lanka, with nearly 100 members is actively involved in community service projects across the country.