President’s Senior Adviser on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Mr. Sagala Ratnayake said sustainable economic development goals cannot be accomplished without taking steps to mitigate climate change.
He said this while participating in the 10,000 sapling planting program organized by the LEO Youth Vision 2048 Club and the LEO Club at the Royal College, Colombo yesterday (23rd).
This program was organized in view of President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s birthday, which is today (24), and the required plants were distributed to the main schools of the Colombo District.
LEO members, including Senula Dilana, President of LEO Youth Vision 2048, coordinated this program.
Additionally, Mr. Sagala Ratnayake emphasized the importance of working with understanding and commitment to mitigate climate change, as it contributes to economic development.
Expressing his views, Mr. Sagala Ratnayake said;
Respected Minister of Education,
I extend my gratitude to you for extending an invitation to me to partake in this event. This hall and stage hold many fond memories for me. Despite the passage of time, I have lost count of the number of occasions I have graced this stage. During my time as a student at Royal College, I actively engaged in various extracurricular activities, including sports, and held positions such as prefect and head prefect. These experiences proved invaluable to me.
The experience provided me with substantial fortitude for my political endeavours, and I believe it has the capability to allure more admirable individuals. Observing enthusiastic young students aspiring to hold the position of head prefect delighted me. I aspire for these students to progress in their educational pursuits, eventually ascending to positions of prominence within society and, ultimately, assume the mantle of leadership for the nation.
We have had a few great days as Royalists. We won the Royal-Thomian match on Saturday. Then as a Nation on Monday we were given the great news that we are no longer a bankrupt state that we are now coming out of it.
IMF Executive Board approved Sri Lanka’s program under the Extended Fund Facility. Many people think we will get a lot of money with the IMF program. More than the money that we are going to get, it comes in the form of a loan which you’ll have to repay in over a long period of time at very concessional rates.
But more than that, it is the stamp of confidence that the international community has given us. The IMF includes a lot of countries, including Sri Lanka will also members of it. But it’s a very stringent program many countries have been trying for over any year, maybe even as much as two, but still not been able to achieve it. Coming out of this economic crisis that came along with COVID and in some countries, the economy was mismanaged beyond COVID, which led to many countries going down like us. But we are the first to come out. We have a long way to go as well.
What is important is that we get our policies right and our economic framework right. We must make it easy for people to come and invest in Sri Lanka, for Sri Lankans to invest in Sri Lanka, the confidence must be there that it is a level playing field that it is a transparent field out there that gives any investor the confidence that is required to come and transact in Sri Lanka. It’s only with investments like that that we can improve our economy and make it a better tomorrow for the generations like you.
What we are doing now, we are doing for you. It won’t be for many of us in this first role. What we build on the foundation we build now, you all will build on further and you all will reap the benefits. So it is important you understand it. It is important that you participate in it; you read about it, you get interested in it and you get involved in it. One of the most important components of coming out of this is also what you are trying to do today as the Leos coordinated by the Leos of Royal College; you’re going to plant 10,000 trees.
I must say thank you to you, because you have chosen an important day, the 24th of April, to signify our honourable President’s birthday. Climate change is going to play a major role in our future. if we do not pay attention to it, if you don’t make a conscious effort to come out of it. Economic development or resurgence is going to be temporary. It’s going to be very difficult. It’s not going to be sustainable. There’s not going to be anything for the future generations. So it is very important. I won’t go into great length about it.
Climate change also means economic support. There are a lot of people out there in the world who are very committed to climate change and they encourage it and they supported financially. It’s now a financial tool as much as all the other financial tools like bonds and various things that we’ve heard about in the past few months along with this financial crisis we had. It’s going to be a very important tool that a country like Sri Lanka can really capitalize on.
So I’m grateful that the youth, the leaders have taken this on. Please push it harder. I think it’s important. We’ve had from time to time as society develops, as the country develops, we’ve had various extracurricular committees, societies coming up at schools like Royal. I remember we had the Buddhist brotherhoods and the Interact clubs, but then we had the Computer Society coming up later on as IT came in. Climate change is another important thing.
It’s something that you can add to your extracurricular activities, not just at Royal but at all schools. So with that thought in mind, with a final word to say thank you again, Leo, Senula and the team, all the leaders from the other schools that have joined this program. Thank you very much. And thank you very much, Royal College, for spearheading this and also for having me at this very important event.
I wish you all the very best. It’s your future that we all working for, so please join it and help us.
Minister of Education Susil Premjayant, Principal of Colombo Royal College Mr. R.M. Rathnayake, staff members and the students including the Head Prefect Kavisha Ratnayake were present on this occasion.
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