A strong political will is needed for endorsing the draft Right to Development criteria and operational sub-criteria, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said.
“A strong political will is needed to finalise the process of considering, revising, and ultimately endorsing the draft Right to Development criteria and operational sub-criteria, towards the elaboration of a coherent set of standards on this intrinsic right,” he said.
Addressing the 14th session of the UN Open-ended Intergovernmental working group on the Right to Development at the UN in Geneva on May 13, Aryasinha said: “With the world struggling through multiple crises, a renewed international commitment toward sustainable development at RIO+20, and the post-2015 development agenda upon us, the effective implementation of the Right to Development is required now, more than ever before”.
Ambassador Aryasinha noted that “the Declaration on the right to development clearly defines development as a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and political process, which aims at the constant improvement of the well-being of the entire population, and of all individuals on the basis of their active, free and meaningful participation in development, and in the fair distribution of benefits resulting therefrom; and it is this comprehension, that has led the development process within Sri Lanka, with a emphasised focus on equity and sustainability.
“Sri Lanka has constantly taken steps to implement the right to development nationally. As a result our literacy rate of 90 percent has been maintained since the early 1980’s.
Our rural economy has undergone an imperative transformation, with more and more people and families receiving access to electricity, IT and mobile connectivity, and further benefiting from the development of the rural and agricultural road network and vast infrastructure development. “Healthcare remains free to the populace, and focus on the enhancement of national health capacities, has taken the forefront with Rs 3 billion allocated this year alone to combat non-communicable diseases”.
He said: “However, while there could be numerous examples of national initiatives from countries such as Sri Lanka in the implementation of this intrinsic right, national responsibility alone as we know, is insufficient. Within the right to development’s individual and collective levels, within its multidimensional and global character, the international aspect, is to be considered on par with the national.
“It remains evident that in order for us to effectively remove the obstacles, and achieve a conducive environment that provides for the implementation of this inalienable right, international cooperation, including effective partnerships for development, are essential.
“Sri Lanka further notes the importance of mainstreaming the right to development in the policies and operational activities of the UN and its specialised agencies, programmes and funds, as well as international financial and multilateral trading systems, as ‘indispensable in achieving the right to development and preventing discriminatory treatment arising from political or other non-economic considerations, in addressing the issues of concern to developing countries.”