President Ranil calls for restructuring global fiscal system in UNGA speech
Posted on September 21st, 2023

Courtesy Adaderana

Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday, President Ranil Wickremesinghe pledged to lead Sri Lanka towards sustainable growth, ensuring peace and prosperity for all, with the support of both the nation and the international community.

He stated this while delivering his address during the General Debate of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

President Ranil Wickremesinghe told the UNGA that currently, there is a stark contrast with the 2030 promise, as poverty and hunger levels are at multi-decade highs. 

Neutral nations like Sri Lanka in the global South find themselves caught between shifting global power dynamics, he further said. 

Wickremesinghe said that crises like climate change and pandemics are hampering smaller indebted countries like Sri Lanka from advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate efforts. 

Global power conflicts are adding economic uncertainty, disrupting supply chains and causing inflation, food, and energy insecurity worldwide, he said.

The President said Sri Lanka is grappling with an unprecedented economic crisis. To put it in perspective, the cost of World War II in today’s USD would be $4 trillion and the Marshall Plan $150 billion, he said. 

Restructuring the global fiscal system is crucial, as failure in this endeavour could jeopardize efforts to combat climate change and attain the SDGs, the Sri Lankan President emphasized. 

President Wickremesinghe further said that adverse climate impacts affect clean energy, food security, water, and farmers’ livelihoods in Sri Lanka, straining their fiscal recovery from last year’s economic crisis. 

As a climate-vulnerable, debt-ridden nation, the need for climate finance is urgent, he said, adding that despite promises, wealthy countries are falling short on their commitments.

He also said the composition of the UN Security Council must be expanded to be representative of current global diversity and decision-making. 

He said in parallel, the role of the UNGA must be strengthened and requested that the permanent members engage in a credible dialogue which will lead to a unified approach to combat these threats ahead of the next sessions.

The President urged the UN member states to find new ways of working together despite the increasing mistrust that has permeated international relations. 

This, he said, can be achieved through the willingness of the permanent members to work together in solidarity with the developing world.

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