Participating at the Our Ocean Conference 2016, at the invitation of the US Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, on 15 September, outlined several commitments by Sri Lanka to protect oceans around Sri Lanka and beyond.
The Minister said that Sri Lanka is perhaps one of the few countries in the world where the Head of State himself holds the portfolio of Environment, given its vital importance for the country and to ensure that Sri Lanka plays its part in dealing with issues relating to climate change and environment in a responsible manner, both locally and in a global context.
The Conference being held at the US State Department on 15-16 September is attended by representatives of approximately 100 countries including Heads of State and Government, Ministers, officials, academia, NGO community, leaders from the public and private sector and young people.
This was the third in the series of Conferences on Our Ocean, held with the objective of calling the world’s attention to the challenge of protecting oceans and mobilizing countries to make commitments in this respect.
The Conference which was inaugurated by the US Secretary of State was addressed by the US President Barack Obama as well.
Foreign Minister Samaraweera joined a panel of speakers at the Conference, comprising the Presidents of Micronesia and Mauritius, Vice President of Panama, and Ministers of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas and Madagascar on the theme ‘Global Ocean Leadership’, moderated by US Senator Brian Schatz from Hawaii.
Outlining commitments made by Sri Lanka under the themes – Marine Protected Areas, Marine Pollution, Sustainable Fisheries, and Climate and Ocean, the Minister called for the discontinuation and banning of all fishing methods that harm marine eco-systems, worldwide, in particular, bottom trawling.