The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, has pledged full support to Sri Lanka as the country faces various challenges.
Speaking during a lecture in Sri Lanka, the Secretary-General emphasized the Commonwealth’s role as a collective of 56 countries working together to support its member states in navigating the complex global pressures of spiralling costs, energy shortages, and the effects of climate change.
She further highlighted the Commonwealth’s shared values of peace, justice, tolerance, respect, and solidarity, as well as its role as an international champion for small and vulnerable states, as qualities that will help it remain strong in the current global climate.
The Secretary-General was in Sri Lanka to attend celebration events for the 75th Independence Day in Colombo, and gave a lecture at the Geopolitical Cartographer on the Commonwealth’s role in facing “Polycrisis” – the term given to the current set of linked factors causing global instability.
The President of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, also attended the lecture and gave a speech as a patron of the organisation.
Sri Lanka, a founding member of the Commonwealth, has been heavily involved in the Commonwealth Secretariat’s work on climate and ocean-related issues. It is a lead member and champion of the Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Group on Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihood and is also a member of several other Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Groups.
Sri Lanka was involved in the first pilot of the Coastal Risk Rapid Assessments, a project aimed at measuring a nation’s climate and ocean-based risk level to inform policy and decisive action.
Officials from Sri Lanka also participated in the Blue Charter virtual training courses offered by the Commonwealth Secretariat on the topic of policy considerations for a sustainable blue economy.
2023 is a significant year for the Commonwealth as it marks the Commonwealth Year of Peace, the Commonwealth Year of Youth, and the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Commonwealth Charter – the shared values that enshrine the purpose and mission of the Commonwealth.
As the Secretary-General emphasized, the Commonwealth is a family of nations and it is the responsibility of all members to ensure that its values shape the choices made in the face of profound global challenges. Sri Lanka is not simply part of this work but central to it, and the Commonwealth Secretariat’s full support will go a long way in helping the country navigate its challenges.