President’s vision for a sustainable nation by 2030 | Sunday Observer

President’s vision for a sustainable nation by 2030

President Maithripala Sirisena
President Maithripala Sirisena

President Maithripala Sirisena is a leader with a vision for our nation. In September 2015, he stood in front of the world leaders at the General Assembly of the United Nations and pledged to provide leadership for Sri Lanka to take the first steps necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030.

Scientific Committee

Fulfilling his pledge, the President appointed an Expert Committee on January 2, 2017, chaired by Prof. Mohan Munasinghe to recommend a sustainable development path for the nation. It was the first time a President of Sri Lanka has appointed an independent Scientific Committee to produce such a comprehensive and strategic national document. The first draft of the “Sustainable Sri Lanka Vision and Strategic Path” report was handed over to the President on August 6 ,2018.

In Sri Lanka, we have a Cabinet Minister to ensure that the country’s growth is sustainable. We have also passed one of the first Acts of Parliament in the world on sustainable development, which provides for the appointment of the Sustainable Development Council, which has now been established. Also, Sri Lanka is the first country in the world to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee on Sustainable Development. All of these initiatives have been taken under the visionary leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and they make our nation truly equipped to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Issuing a message for the first draft report, the President emphasises that for this report to be a truly consensual national vision, it needs to be owned by the people, politicians of different parties, civil society and the business community. And for this, he has given all stakeholders the opportunity to comment, criticise and provide constructive feedback on the document by launching the National Sustainability Discourse.

The Presidential Expert Committee, via the first draft report has striven to interpret the vision which President Sirisena outlined. In that vision, by 2030, Sri Lanka will become a sustainable, upper middle-income Indian Ocean hub, with a prosperous, competitive and advanced economy, a green and flourishing environment, and an inclusive, harmonious, peaceful and just society.

The first draft report under the visionary guidelines provided by the President is a strategic document. It sets out Sri Lanka’s current profile and status, key issues and opportunities relating to sustainable development, future priorities and targets, and new initiatives and options to achieve ambitious goals by 2030. The report is done in a simple and clear manner so anyone from any level of society can understand it and provide their feedback.

Core framework

Prof. Munasinghe with his team of experts after thorough research has identified, that the core framework is a sustainable development triangle based on economic, social and environmental dimensions. The report identifies the balanced inclusive green growth (BIGG) path that will facilitate the national transition from “Conventional Sri Lanka 2018” to “Sustainable Sri Lanka 2030”. The BIGG path is illustrated by three snapshots in time, identifying targets to be achieved in 2020, 2025 and 2030. They have also identified that to achieve this vision, we as a nation will need to transform our values, mindsets, institutions, behaviours, processes, methods, tools, technologies, projects and policies.

The report further highlights that our sustainable development plan is people oriented and open to socio-economic systems, which is based on democratic and pluralistic institutions; able to protect our ethical values, heritage and environment; built on respect for freedom, justice, equal opportunities and human rights. Also, it is inspired by the ennobling elements of our rich past, all major stakeholder groups (government, private sector and civil society), need to cooperate effectively within this framework.

The President believes that this report will continue to provide strategic guidance to all governments up to 2030. He does not wish the report to be helpful and to be used during his time as the President only, but he wishes that it will be used throughout till 2030 and will also inspire in the future such reports and visions. President Sirisena is a humble leader who does not wish to be recognised for such initiatives but his wish for the nation is to continue to prosper under all leaders. We as a nation are blessed by and must appreciate such leadership.