Colombo, 20 December 2021 (TDI): On 15 December, the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Gamini Lakshman Peiris met Kanni Wignaraja during her official visit to Sri Lanka.

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Wignaraja is the United Nations Assistant-Secretary-General (ASG) as well as the Assistant Administrator and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.

The objective of her trip was to gain a deeper understanding of the country’s needs and priorities. In addition, she also intended to explore potential avenues of support from UNDP to Sri Lanka.


Minister Peiris told the ASG about Sri Lanka’s most current achievements and milestones with relation to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Simultaneously, he also mentioned the practical steps taken to combat the socio-economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Peiris remarked on UNDP’s involvement in Sri Lanka for five decades in performing development-affiliated activities. He expressed appreciation to the UN organization for extending continuous assistance to Sri Lanka and its people.

Furthermore, the Minister also highlighted the need for both sides to intensify cooperation in multiple facets to achieve their common objectives. There was a specific focus on SDGs and their significance to both parties.

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Peiris further talked about recent developments made in domestic processes in Sri Lanka. He brought up the topics of human rights and reconciliation, including the proposed revisions to the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Additionally, he also expressed the Sri Lankan Government’s dedication to making substantial progress in this regard.

Left to right: Robert Juhkam, UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka; Kanni Wignaraja; G. L. Peiris; Jayanath Colombage, Foreign Secretary Admiral of Sri Lanka

On the other hand, ASG Wignaraja noted that the economy of Sri Lanka has persevered despite the setbacks of the Covid-19 pandemic. She expressed hope that it would regain its former status and bounce back whilst following ethical economic principles.

Also, the ASG commented on Sri Lanka’s vast natural resources and suggested that preserving the environment would boost the tourism industry. In consequence, this would also enhance economic growth. She further expressed UNDP’s commitment to assisting the nation in achieving SDGs.