Sri Lanka endeavors to be a truly Independent Nation - Ranjith Soysa spokesperson for Global Sri Lankan Forum
February 4th, 2017, marks the 69th year of Sri Lankan independence. It is an important day in Sri Lanka and a day that is important for the Sri Lankans in the diaspora. Sri Lankan diaspora is spread all over the world and maintains strong, social, cultural and economic ties with Sri Lanka. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze views of the Sri Lankan diaspora living abroad. International Sri Lankan diaspora organisation, the Global Sri Lankan Forum (GSLF) is one of the largest and most influential diaspora forums spread across eight countries. Given the upcoming 69th Independence Day of Sri Lanka and increasing interest in the Sri Lankan diaspora, the Diplomatic Society Global Editor Srimal Fernando in an exclusive interview engages Global Sri Lankan Forum (GSLF)'s Australian based spokesperson, Ranjith Soysa.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane hosts a Back-to-School campaign
19 January 2017
South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane hosted a Back-to-School campaign at St Paul and Tshipinare Primary Schools in Tha-ba Nchu in the Free State.
Due to the decline in formal employment and consequent increase in unemployment, most learners in the area are from disadvantaged families.
The campaign is envisaged to affirm the values society puts on the success of every child by offering them encouragement. The campaign is important for children, as this conscientises them to take cognisance of the people supporting them. It is hoped that this will motivate and teach them that it is important to care for others.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane was accompanied by Heads of Mission who also donated items to the school.
Everyone is counted and everyone counts
18 January 2017
UN World Data Forum wraps up with launch of Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data
The inaugural United Nations World Data Forum concluded on 18 January 2017 with the launch of a global plan for better data to improve people’s lives, and new ideas and solutions to boost the collaboration, resources and policies needed to put it into action.
The Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data, which will be adopted by countries at the UN Statistical Commission when it meets in March of this year, was prepared with inputs from the global statistical community and data experts from a wider range of stakeholders.
“The UN World Data Forum is the perfect place to launch the Action Plan and get all the major players behind it,” said UN Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo at a press conference. “To implement the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and build a better future for people everywhere, it is essential to have accurate, reliable, timely and disaggregated data.”
SA conveys openness to do business at WEF
20 January 2017
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has concluded his visit to Davos where he participated in the World Economic Forum (WEF), conveying to the international community South Africa’s openness to do business.
The Deputy President also stressed the country’s status as a preferred destination for investment.
The delegation highlighted that South Africa remains focused on pursuing a path to faster, inclusive and job-creating economic growth.
It also highlighted that government, business and labour have made significant progress in pursuing economic reforms; South Africa’s strong institutions, stable macroeconomic environment, developed financial markets and strategic position provide a solid platform for stronger growth.
United Nations declares 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has approved the adoption of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The resolution, adopted on 4 December, recognizes “the importance of international tourism, and particularly of the designation of an international year of sustainable tourism for development, in fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and in bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world”.
“The declaration by the UN of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is a unique opportunity to advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental, while raising awareness of the true dimensions of a sector which is often undervalued” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “As the lead UN agency for this initiative, UNWTO is very much looking forward to proceeding with the organization and implementation of the International Year, in collaboration with Governments, relevant organizations of the UN system, other international and regional organizations and all other relevant stakeholders”, he added.
April as Sri Lankan Heritage Month in Canada
17 January 2017
In a series of interviews The Diplomatic Society Global Editor Srimal Fernando began interviewing notable South Asians living in Canada. As of 2011, South Asian Canadians constitute almost 5 percent of the Canadian population, being the largest visible minority in Canada. In the changing strategic atmosphere, Canada is playing a constructive role in the economic development of the South Asian countries and has emerged a key promoter of economic cooperation in the region. Today 300,000 Sri Lankan descendants are estimated to live in Canada.
Photo: Association Event (ex Cultural / Campaign Photo)
For this month’s edition we introduce you to two Sri Lankan community leaders, Chaminda Wijesinghe, President of the Sri Lanka Canada Association of Ottawa (SLCAO ) and Anura Ferdinand, immediate past President of the Sri Lanka Canada Association of Ottawa (SLCAO ) who have taken up the mantle of campaigning and promoting "April as a Sri Lankan Heritage Month in Canada" on behalf of their Association.
Mamabolo of South Africa as Acting Joint Special Representative for Darfur
12 January 2017
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced today the appointment of Jeremiah Nyamane Kingsley Mamabolo of South Africa as Acting Joint Special Representative for Darfur and Head of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
Mr. Mamabolo succeeds Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi of Nigeria, to whom the Secretary-General and the Commission Chairperson are grateful for his service during his tenure with UNAMID.
Mr. Mamabolo brings to the position first-hand experience in dealing with the situation in Darfur, as well as expertise from his distinguished career in the diplomatic service. Since 2016, he has been serving UNAMID as Deputy Joint Special Representative for Pillar I, overseeing political, human rights, and legal aspects of the Mission’s activities. From 2013 to 2016, he served as Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during which he also acted as Chair of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China. In 2009, he was appointed High Commissioner of South Africa to Nigeria.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s Visit to Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania, Republic of Congo and Nigeria
12 January 2017
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is paying official visits to the Republic of Madagascar, the Republic of Zambia, the United Republic of Tanzania, the Republic of Congo and the Federal Republic of Nigeria from January 7 to 12. The foreign minister's first trip of every year usually takes him to Africa, a practice that has been in existence for over two decades, already establishing itself as a fine diplomatic tradition.
The main purpose of Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit is to further explore with countries concerned on how to implement the major consensus reached between Chinese President Xi Jinping and African leaders as well as the outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), against the backdrop of new changes emerging in international political and economic situations and new challenges turning up in African countries so as to assist Africa's rejuvenation and development, boost the upgrading of China-Africa cooperation and contribute to solidarity and common development among developing countries.
The 12th AU-EU Human Rights Dialogue
Brussels, Belgium, 10 January 2017
The 12th AU-EU Human Rights Dialogue was concluded today in Brussels, Belgium. The Dialogue was led by the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr Aisha L. Abdullahi and the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Mr Stavros Lambrinidis.
The AU participants included Hon. Justice Sylvain Ore President of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, Hon. Prof. Benyam Dawit Mezmur, Chairperson of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Hon. Maya Sahil-Fadel, Commissioner of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Mr. Omar Faruk Osman, Chairperson for Political Affairs Cluster of ECOSOCC, as well as other AU staff working on human rights-related issues. On the EU side the participants included Mr. Koen Vervaeke Managing Director for Africa, Ms. Lotte Knudsen, Managing Director for Human Rights, Amb. Mara Marinaki EEAS Principal Advisor on Gender Issues, Mrs. Kristin de Peyron, Head of Division, Pan-African Affairs, as well as EU staff working on human rights-related issues.
The AU-EU Human Rights Dialogue is held annually in pursuance of the decision of the 6th EU-Africa Ministerial Troika Meeting in Vienna that was confirmed at the subsequent 7th meeting in Brazzaville. The Dialogue avail the platform for regular sharing of experience on issues related to Human Rights, Democratic Principles and the Rule of Law in Africa and in Europe, with a view to overcoming the challenges and consolidating the achievements, as well as enhancing coordination on Human Rights issues in multilateral fora, such as the Human Rights Council.
Condolences to Germany following former Federal President Herzog’s death
11 January 2017
The President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Jacob Zuma, has on behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa conveyed a message of condolences to the Government and the people of Germany following the passing on of former Federal President Roman Herzog.
President Zuma recalled that former President Herzog, who died aged 82, was the first German President to be elected into office following Germany's reunification, having previously also distinguished himself as the President of Germany’s Constitutional Court from 1987 until his historic election as President of Germany.
President Zuma noted that former President Herzog will also be remembered in South Africa for his support for our country’s own transition after 1994, especially also during the highly successful State Visit by former President Nelson Mandela to Germany in May 1996 and President Herzog’s return State Visit to South Africa in March 1998.
African Union Commission to enhance the proposed options for CFTA negotiations modalities
Nairobi, Kenya – 09 January 2017.
African Union Commission (AUC) Experts in Trade related issues are currently brainstorming in Nairobi, Kenya, within the framework of the 7th meeting of Continental Free Trade Area Continental Task force (CFTA-CTF) which kicked off on 9th to 14th January 2017.
The objective of the 7th meeting of the CFTA-CTF is to conduct a diagnostic analysis of the proposed options for CFTA negotiations modalities and to prepare the zero draft text for consideration by the Chief Negotiators.
The Forum will take into account the first aspiration of the of Agenda 2063 for a continental market with the free movement of persons, capital, goods and services, which is crucial for deepening economic integration, and promoting agricultural development and food security, as well as industrialization and structural economic change. It’s also focused on Africa's Regional Integration Program to boost Intra-African Trade and the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by the indicative date of 2017.