Upon been elected as the Chair by acclamation, and opening the sixth session of the Committee on Social Development (CSD) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), which was held at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok from 20 to 21 October 2020, Ambassador and the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UNESCAP, Samantha K. Jayasuriya, told the UN CSD that the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic proved the need for social protection than ever before.
The focused theme of the Committee was on social protection, and further addressing the forum, Ambassador Jayasuriya reminded that despite the fact that, governments from across the region has taken concerted measures to address and cushion the socio-economic fallout from the pandemic, as we continue to tread unknown and uncertain grounds in the context of COVID 19, the Committee on Social Development can provide an opportunity to forge ways to strengthen social protection as a key instrument for building resilience.
The Committee endorsed the two priority documents; namely; the ‘Action Plan to strengthen the regional cooperation on social protection in Asia and the Pacific’ and the ‘Asia Pacific indicator framework for monitoring progress towards the implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), and the commitments contained in the Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development’.
Making an intervention under agenda item 02, Assistant Permanent Representative, Saritha Ranatunga highlighted the significant progress achieved by Sri Lanka in guaranteeing social protection and welfare of the citizens by providing universal access to health care and education as well as social benefits for the elderly citizens, differently abled and other vulnerable groups. She also highlighted the steadfast resilient actions taken by the Government of Sri Lanka for the welfare of over six million vulnerable families during the COVID 19 pandemic, and other mitigation activities to control the spread of COVID 19, including the setting up of the ‘COVID – 19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund’. Sri Lanka emphasized on the importance of realization of the action plan on social protection, and creating a dynamic regional platform for peer learning, and to share experience, as useful tools.
Director (Planning) M. Ramamoorthy of the State Ministry of Samurdhi, House Hold Economy, Microfinance, Self Employment and Business Development and , Assistant Director of the Sustainable Development Council, Sri Lanka, Ms. Nadeeka Amarasinghe joined the forum from Colombo via online. Participants representing Member States, International Organization and Civil Society Organizations attended the meeting in person at the UNCC, Bangkok, as well as via video conferencing.
Embassy and the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UNESCAP