Daily Archives: July 18, 2006
Considered by many in the diplomatic community to be the front-runner, the former Under Secretary-General for disarmament knows how to navigate the UN inside out," notes the Foreign Policy Journal.
UN’S TOP POST: The present Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan will complete his second five year term on December 2006. The hunt is on for the successor to Annan to take over the most high profile diplomatic position in the world to provide leadership to 191 nations. We are living in tense times.
There are wars going on around the world, high profile stand-offs and grandstanting between nations amid bitter disputes.
Public opinion has been badly dented as a result of corruption and sex scandals, questions are being asked: Is the United Nations value for money? Who will have the strength of character and leadership to spearhead the reform agenda at the UN?
Come December this year, the United Nations Security Council will recommend a candidate to the UN General Assembly of nations.
The reality is that the five permanent members of the United Nations – United States, Great Britain, Russia, China and France will choose Annan’s successor via a secret ballot. So who is it going to be? Have the five permanent members made up their minds? Who will occupy the hot seat?
According to the latest news reports China has declared that the next UN Secretary General should come from Asia.
Chinese Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao said that, “Asian people haven’t taken the important post for 34 years and Asia is the most populous continent. We think the next Secretary-General should be picked from Asian nations.”
Other reports quoted the US Ambassador John Bolton saying; ‘We don’t believe that the next Secretary General will need to be a strong administrator, someone who is committed to reforming the United Nations.
Sri Lanka has formally declared their candidate Jayantha Dhanapala the experienced diplomat and former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs 1998-2003. Ambassador Dhanapala was President of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference.
He joined the Foreign Service of Sri Lanka in 1965 and his diplomatic tour of duty included London, Beijing, Washington DC and New Delhi.
The Government of Sri Lanka appointed him ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva in 1984. He left the Sri Lankan Foreign Service to head the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).
Jayantha Dhanapala re-joined the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry as Additional Secretary before taking up the position of Ambassador to the United States.
He has served as Commissioner in UNSCOM with distinction and as the Head of the Special Group visiting the Presidential Sites in Iraq. He was a member of the 1996 Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
Integrity and character
It was during his tenure as Under-Secretary General of the United Nations that I met Sri Lanka’s distinguished diplomat at the UN Headquarters in New York when I attended a UN Conference on Civil Conflict, organise by UNs.
Dhanapala was always welcoming, ever the consummate diplomat. He was regarded as a first rate diplomat and administrator in New York.
During that trip to the US I had the opportunity of meeting several Ambassadors to the UN and they spoke highly of him. Jayantha Dhanapala is known as a man of integrity and character.
He was born on December 30th in 1938 and was educated at Trinity College Kandy. He proved to be an all rounder even in his school days and was awarded the Ryde Gold Medal for the best all-round student in 1956. He went on to represent his country with great distinction.
Jayantha brought honour to the land of his birth when he served with the United Nations. In 2004 he was appointed as Secretary-General of the Peace Secretariat for the Co-ordinating of the Peace Process.
He resigned from this position recently. He is a diplomat who is very much at ease with himself and with others Dhanapala has gravitas. Dhanapala is a ‘people person’ a man of our times who has handled some hugely complex issues at the United Nations. He has a track record of proven (diplomatic) success.
Jayantha Dhanapala has got what it takes to lead the United Nations; the ball is now in the court of the five permanent members of the UN. by Ivan Corea
UNESCO is to declare the historic Seruwawila Temple as a World Heritage site shortly. The government has made the preliminary discussion with UNESCO on inclusion of the Seruwawila Templeamong the world heritage sites. The project is based upon the initiative taken by the Minister M. Najeeb Abdul Majeed, the Minister of Co-operative Development and Deputy Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils.
This initiative was taken upon the request by the Chief Priest, Ven. Seruwila Sangarakitti Thero and the Patron of the Board of Trustee, Ven. Munwatte Mettarama Thero.
The discussion on the project was taken place recently under the chairmanship of Minister Majeed. The chief, priest of the temple, Ven Sangarrakkitti, in his speech, emphasised the importance of declaring the temple as a World Heritage through UNESCO due to its archeological importance.
Minister also stressed upon the archeological value of the Temple when he addressed the gathering. He added that the Temple has been associating with every community, Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim in the area, and that the Temple has been helpful them through several community development programmes.
A working committee, headed by the secretary of the Minister of Cultural Affaires and National Heritage was formed to work out the project report which would be forwarded to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
The final report of the project is to be finalized in one and half months at the direction of the minister. -DGI
Thousands of Colombo Port workers demanding rectification of their salary anomalies staging a lunch-hour picket opposite the Ports Authority Office in the Fort yesterday. Pic by Manoj Ratnayake
The Sri Lanka Ports Authority has suffered losses amounting more than Rs. 470 million during the past five days due to the work to rule campaign launched by its employees who are demanding the rectification of their salaries, officials said.
They said the SLPA was also forced to pay Rs. eight million to Hanjin Shipping as demurrage due to the ongoing trade union action.
A large number of Port workers who took part in a lunch hour picket yesterday said they were determined to go ahead with their work to rule campaign until their demands were met.
Port Employees General Union Convener Chandrasiri Mahagamage told the Daily Mirror the discussions held between union representatives and the three-member committee appointed by the Ministry did not produce results.
“We will be meeting again today to reach a final solution and if that fails we might give up the go- slow campaign and launch a full scale strike,” Mr. Mahagamage said however adding that he hoped today’s talks would produce positive results.
He said though the committee had inquired as to why the port employees were seeking a salary hike despite being entitled to attractive salary scales and allowances, only about 25% of the 14,000 workforce were entitled to such salaries.
The unions sought President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s intervention to settle the issue which is causing heavy losses to the SLPA. -Daily Mirror By Gagani Weerakoon
SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility (SEDF) and the Rain forest Ecolodge Ltd (REC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work jointly to develop the Eco lodge project, a first of its kind in Sri Lanka.
The signing took place last week at Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Under the MOU, SEDF will provide REC with technical assistance on SME supply chain linkage, ISO and Green Globe certification as well as marketing services. Those are some of the key elements for developing this pioneering greenfield eco tourism project.
Gilles Galludec, Country Manager, IFC Sri Lanka Maldives and Program Manager SEDF Sri Lanka Maldives signed on behalf of SEDF while Prema Cooray Chairman of Rain Forest Ecolodge Ltd signed on behalf of REC. Hemantha Ratnayake CEO of REC and several other officers of REC and IFC – SEDF were also present at the signing ceremony. Mr. Galludec said “IFC-SEDF is pleased to partner such a promising project to turn the face of Sri Lankan tourism and to be recognized as a destination for sustainable, differentiated, and high value tourism.” He further stated that “it fits in perfectly with the IFC model of developing environmental and social sustainability projects”.
REC is a unique partnership amongst key stake holders of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. To position Sri Lanka in the ecotourism market, REC is being developed as a benchmark eco lodge and biodiversity reserve located in a privately managed forest bordering Sinharaja Rainforest. This best practice model will establish standards for ecotourism development to be replicated by the tourism industry in Sri Lanka. The project will also demonstrate the commercial viability of environmental tourism.
SEDF Sri Lanka Maldives is a multi-donor funded facility managed and operated by International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and funded by IFC and the Governments of Norway and the Netherlands. SEDF Sri Lanka Maldives has been set up with the objective of promoting the growth of SMEs in Sri Lanka and The Maldives. SEDF will provide SMEs with increased access to finance and quality business development Services. SEDF also get involved in value addition to firms and the creation of an enabling business environment. -Daily Mirror
UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will today present the much-awaited proposals on party political reforms to the Political Affairs Committee meeting.
Among the highlights of the proposals are several new posts created for greater power sharing arrangements at the highest level.
UNP Assistant General Secretary Tissa Attananayake told the Daily Mirror yesterday there would be no change in the party leadership.
However, there would be a delegation of responsibilities among the leaders.
In a change of position the present district leader’s post will be replaced by district presidents. Posts of district secretaries too have been created.
The UNP has already appointed presidents for most districts such as Kandy, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Galle and Kurunegala.
Lakshman Kiriella has been appointed President for Kandy, Vajira Abeywardane for Galle , Gamini Jayawickrama Perera for Kurunegala, Earl Gunasekara for Polonnaruwa, P. Harison for Anuradhapura and Ranjith Aluvihare for Matale. Sajith Premadasa is the district president for Hambantota.
However, the party is yet to appoint district presidents for Matara, Nuwara-Eliya, Colombo and Badulla. A number of new organizers are expected to be appointed to a number of electorates.
Meanwhile, the UNP will launch a three-month programme to re-organize the party starting from the 60th Convention scheduled for September 6. -Daily Mirror By Kelum Bandara