Newly appointed United Nations Resident Representative Marc-Andre’ Franche expressed appreciation over Sri Lanka’s economic recovery from an unprecedented crisis last two years and assured continuous support for the development process.
He said this when he called on Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Temple Trees on September 1.
He said that Sri Lanka is heading back in right direction, but cautioned that the next couple of years will be very difficult for not only Sri Lanka but most of the countries due to global economic downturn.
The Prime Minister said several steps have been taken to increase food production and ensure food security. “We also plan to diversify exports as in the long run we have to, not only be self-sufficient in food, but also increase foreign exchange earnings through exports,” he said.
The Prime Minister also briefed the UN representative about the steps taken for solving the grievances of the people who suffered due to 3 decades of conflict. He pointed out that over 95% of the lands in North and East taken over during the conflict has been returned to the owners, land mines were removed so that the farmers could cultivate their lands, LTTE detainees have been released and fisheries livelihoods have returned to normalcy.
UN Representative Franche thanked Sri Lanka for the valuable services rendered by Sri Lankans who served in the UN system over the decades. He acknowledged that the Office of Missing Persons and other institutions have made a remarkable progress in their work and request to take steps to speed up the remaining work.
Prime Minister Gunawardena thanked the United nations for the support given to Sri Lanka and expressed confidence that the Resident Representative would take it to a higher level.
The discussions also covered Sri Lanka’ s development programmes related to Sustainable Development Goals, green economy, social cohesion and social protection.
Secretary to the Prime Minister, Anura Dissanayake also took part in the discussion.
Prime Minister’s Media