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UNDP to support SL in achieving its Sustainable Development Goals

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Representatives of the United Nations Development Program said that Sri Lanka will be supported in achieving the country’s Sustainable Development Goals.

They stated this during a recent discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat about adding sustainable development goals to budgeting.

The discussion was chaired by President’s Senior Adviser on Climate Change Mr Ruwan Wijewardena and President’s Adviser on Environment and Sustainable Finance Professor Ananda Malavitantri, representing the United Nations Development Program, its Resident Representative Azusa Kubota, Budget Consultant, Adviser Asif Shah, Integration Specialist Ms Dulani Sirisena and Afraa Mohamed, Policy, Research and Engagement Assistant, were present at the discussion.

The rationale for integrating sustainable development goals into public financial management systems was discussed at length and the main benefits of development goals and budgeting were also discussed.

Attention was also paid to providing an effective basis for budget decisions with improved data to reduce fiscal space and fiscal gaps, assist government and donor negotiations by introducing efficient mechanisms to protect social sector spending, identify funding gaps and under-resource priorities to support effective targeting of resources.

Further, promoting policy coherence and assisting in getting more value for money from public investments, raising public awareness of government actions by ensuring transparency in public financial allocations to achieve sustainable development goals, benefits such as providing a proper system for resource mobilization, and identifying priorities in the annual budget through sustainable development goals/climate/gender-based budget targets, were also discussed at length.

In addition, the practical problems arising within that process and how to prevent those problems were also extensively examined in this discussion.

Representing the Sustainable Development Council, Director General Chamindri Saparamdu and Assistant Director Nadika Amarasinghe, Presidential Coordinating Secretary Rajitha Abeygunasekara and Director Sajana Suriyaarachchi also participated in this discussion.

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Fire breaks out in workers’ living quarters near Colombo Port

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A fire has reportedly broken out in the living quarters of highway access road workers near the Colombo Port.

The Colombo Fire Brigade said it has dispatched four fire trucks to assist in extinguishing the flames.

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President Wickremesinghe meets Elon Musk to discuss starlink implementation in Sri Lanka

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has met with billionaire and investor Elon Musk on the sidelines of the 10th World Water Forum High-Level Meeting being held in Indonesia.

During the meeting, Wickremesinghe and Musk discussed the implementation of ‘Starlink’ in Sri Lanka.

It was emphasized that Sri Lanka is committed to expediting the application process to connect the country to the global Starlink network, according to the President’s Media Division (PMD).

Minister Jeevan Thondaman, accompanying the President on his two-day visit to Indonesia, tweeted: “President and Elon discussed Sri Lanka’s recovery, economic potential, and new opportunities for investment. Great to have two visionary leaders come together for Sri Lanka.”

Elon Musk arrived in Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on Sunday to launch Starlink satellite internet service in the world’s largest archipelago nation.

The billionaire head of Tesla and SpaceX, and owner of social platform X, arrived by private jet on the idyllic “island of the gods,” renowned for its tropical beaches, terraced rice paddies, mystical temples, and colorful spiritual offerings.

Musk is slated to launch the service alongside Indonesian President Joko Widodo in a ceremony later Sunday at a public health clinic in Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali. 

Musk will also sign an agreement to enhance connectivity in the country’s health and education sectors.

During his first in-person visit to Bali, Musk is also scheduled to participate in the 10th World Water Forum, which seeks to address global water and sanitation challenges.

–With agencies inputs

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Senior diplomat to oversee Sri Lankan embassy in Russia

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It is reported that the government has planned to send a senior officer of the foreign service to the Sri Lankan embassy in Russia until a new ambassador is appointed due to the lack of an ambassador.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Taraka Balasuriya has told the media that the absence of an ambassador is just a gap in the work procedure, and based on the current situation in Russia, a senior official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be directed to supervise its affairs.

He emphasized that a retired foreign service senior is being sent and the lack of an ambassador is not a major problem.

The Minister further stated that there is already a senior Foreign Service officer there, and given the urgent need, a very senior Foreign Service officer is being sent not because the officer currently in Russia is inadequate.

Mr. Balasuriya has stressed that this is being done to strengthen the operation and that the work will be done according to the normal protocol.

However, even though an ambassador has been appointed to Russia, Mr. Balasuriya has made arrangements not to reveal who it is to the media.

The former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation, Prof. Janitha A. Liyanage, was given three extensions, and she ended her service at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Moscow on April 29.

At present, Counsellor Ruvini K. Munidasa serves as the Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy.

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