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Friday June 14th, 2024

Climate change: Sri Lanka president proposes debt relief for tropical countries

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickrmesinghe speaking at a Belt & Road event in China has proposed debt relief, access to concessional loans and additional funding through multinational organisations as part of a dedicated programme to support tropical countries in addressing future climate change challenges.

Addressing a high-level conference in Beijing on Wednesday October 18 titled ‘Green silk road for harmony with nature’ in conjunction with the third Belt and Road Initiative International forum, Wickremesinghe said 80 percent of the world’s endemic plants and 50 percent of all coral reefs and mangroves are located in tropical regions.

One significant challenge impeding global efforts to combat climate change, said Wickremesinghe, is the widespread economic crises afflicting many countries. These crises have rendered participation in climate change mitigation an exceedingly intricate and daunting task.

Noting that the most effective approach is for the entire global community to unite and collaboratively seek solutions to this pressing issue, Wickremesinghe made three proposals.

“Firstly, offering debt relief to low-income countries can significantly alleviate their economic burdens and enable them to actively participate in climate change mitigation efforts. Secondly, providing access to concessional loans for high-income countries can facilitate their engagement in sustainable practices. Lastly, we should consider channelling additional funding through multilateral organisations, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, to support climate-related initiatives,” he said.

“It’s worth noting that there are 150 tropical countries, with 88 of them participating in the Belt and Road initiative. This tropical region encompasses 40 percent of the world’s total land area and is home to 40 percent of the global population. In light of this, I would like to express my gratitude to the Republic of China, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, for organising this conference, recognising environmental concerns as a fundamental aspect of sustainable development,” he said.

China is the biggest bilateral lender to Sri Lanka, which is still grappling with an unprecedented currency crisis. On October 12, it was announced that Sri Lanka and the Exim Bank of China have agreed on key principles to restructure 4.2 billion US dollars in loans.

Sri Lanka, said Wickremesinghe, is also actively working towards the establishment of an international university focused on climate change, capitalising on this “unique ecological context”.

The conference was chaired by Vice President of China Han Zheng. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and leaders from other participating countries also spoke at the event.

President Wickremesinghe said the proposed university aims to “lay the groundwork for conducting relevant research and implementing protective measures to address the pressing global crises of climate change, environmental pollution and biodiversity destruction”.

A statement from the president’s media division (PMD) quoted Wickremesinghe as “strongly advocating for immediate action in these areas”.

“Through this university, we have set three primary objectives. First and foremost, our focus is on researching measures for collective security and the common good. Secondly, we aim to foster knowledge sharing among the global community. Lastly, we are committed to providing practical education.

“To mitigate the impacts of climate change, this institution delves into a comprehensive array of strategies across diverse fields, encompassing rigorous research, structural reforms within relevant organisations, international cooperation, community engagement and more. It serves as a valuable source of knowledge, research and solutions aimed at limiting global warming to a level of 1.5 degrees C. In this endeavour, the university assumes a pivotal role in the battle against climate change,” he said.

“During the Asia-Pacific Belt and Road High-Level Summit in 2021, Sri Lanka wholeheartedly endorsed the Green Silk Road initiative and our commitment to supporting this initiative remains steadfast,” he added. (Colombo/Oct19/2023)

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Sri Lanka opposition leader proposes Grama Rajya system in addition to 13A

Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa (r) – File photo

ECONOMYNEXT — Sri Lanka opposition leader Sajith Premadasa has proposed devolving power to the village level through a Grama Rajya system in addition to implementing the 13th amendment to the constitution.

Speaking at an event in Jaffna on on Wednesday June 12, Premadasa said all provinces will benefit from the 13th amendment.

“Whatever one’s ethnicity, religion, status or region, this country has citizens of equal level. They’re all Sri Lankan citizens.

“There is no division or grouping.  As we give you and every other province what you should be given through the 13th amendment, we must implement a Grama Rajya system,” Premadasa said, addressing a crowd of school children and other attendees.

Premadasa’s assurance of implementing the 13th amendment has already drawn some protest in the south.

A collective of civil society organisations held a protest outside the office of the leader of the opposition in Colombo on Thursday June 12.

Calling itself the ‘Coalition Against Partition of Sri Lanka’, the group carrying national flags marched up to the opposition leader’s office Thursday June 13 morning and demonstrated against the full implementation of the 13th amendment.

“We arrived here today to hand over a missive against devolving police powers, land powers and judicial powers. If Mr Premadasa is inside, come outside,” Jamuni Kamantha Thushara, Chairman of the Citizen’s Movement Against Fraud, Corruption, and Waste, was seen declaring at the site.

“First of all, tell us what we stand to achieve by dividing and giving away the north and east,” said another protestor, warning against bringing the 13th amendment “anywhere here (paththa palaathe)”.

A police officer at the scene the protestors that a secretary to the opposition leader was ready to accept their letter.

“In Kilonochchi, he says the 13th amendment will be implemented. The votes in the north are going to be decisive this election. To win those votes, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sajith and Anura Kumara Dissanayake all say they will implement the 13th. We will not allow this country to be divided into nine pieces,” said Thushara.

Ven Balangoda Kassapa Thero, who was arrested on June 06 during a protest against the new Electricity Act, was also seen at Thursday’s protest. The Buddhist monk requested for a debate with Premadasa on the matter of the 13th amendment. (Colombo/Jun12/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes flat at 303.85/95 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed broadly flat at 303.85/95 to the US dollar on Thursday, from 303.80/304.00 to the dollar the previous day, dealers said. Bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.00/30 percent, down from 10.20/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.10.2027 closed at 10.60/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 11.00/15 percent, down from 11.15/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 11.80/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 11.85/12.05 percent, down from 11.90/12.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed stable at 11.95/12.15 percent. (Colombo/Jun13/2024)

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Sri Lanka sells Rs295bn in 2027 to 2031 bonds

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has sold 295 billion rupees in 2027, 2029 and 2031 bonds, data from the state debt office showed.

The debt office sold an offered 60 billion rupees of 15 October 2027 at an average yield of 10.30 percent.

All offered 125 billion rupees of 15 September 2029 bonds were sold at 11.00 percent.

All 110 billion rupees offered of 01 December 2031 bonds were sold at 12.00 percent. (Colombo/May13/2024)

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