President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, addressing the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity, on Wednesday, stressed that Sri Lanka was firmly committed to protecting the two UNESCO Natural Heritage Sites: the Central Highlands, and the Sinharaja Rain Forest Reserve and the six sites recognised under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
President Rajapaksa told the virtual gathering held under the theme of ‘Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development’, “Protect and sustainably manage these natural assets that contribute to our unique and rich biodiversity” that as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Sri Lanka endorsed the Commonwealth Blue Charter in 2018 and as such “we will champion the Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Group on Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihoods”.
He said Sri Lanka was home to two UNESCO Natural Heritage Sites: the Central Highlands, and the Sinharaja Rain Forest Reserve. “We are also proud of our six sites recognized under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.”
He added: “There is a critical need for a transformational change in the relationship between nature and people and contemporary global environmental governance.”
The President said the Sri Lankan kings believed that the ruler was never the owner of the land; he was merely its caretaker on behalf of his people and all the living beings.
“This is the very principle that my government has adopted in our development agenda said the President while stressing as mere trustees of this planet and its resources we must resolve to protect what is in our trust and pass it to future generations as best as we could.”
The Summit will highlight the crisis facing humanity from the degradation of biodiversity and the urgent need to accelerate action on biodiversity for sustainable development.
It will provide an opportunity for Heads of State and Government and other leaders to raise ambition for the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2021.
Emphasising that the concept of biodiversity must be at the very core of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, President Rajapaksa stressed that in spite of the rapid decline in biodiversity globally, over the recent decades, Sri Lanka had been deeply committed to upholding the overarching spirit of the Convention on Biodiversity.
“There is a critical need for a transformational change in the relationship between nature and people and contemporary global environmental governance.”
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
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