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At the invitation of the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the President of France Emmanuel Macron, President, Maithripala Sirisena was in New Delhi, on a two day visit to participate at the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance, which was held on 11th March 2018. 

Addressing the Plenary Session of the Founding Conference on 11th March 2018 at the Rashtrapathy Bhavan, President Maithripala Sirisena expressed confidence that the International Solar Alliance (ISA) would showcase the desire of its member countries to bring about solutions to create a greener, cleaner and a healthy environment for the people globally. He further noted that the deliberations of the Conference will navigate the joint efforts of the countries in the Alliance towards practical cooperation and expressed the hope that the rest of the global community will join the Alliance. 

He highlighted several initiatives taken by Sri Lanka such as a national commitment to reduce 4 per cent of greenhouse gases without any conditions and 16 per cent of greenhouse gases by 2030, development of an ambitious target to establish the use of 100 per cent renewable power by 2050. The programme “Suriya Bala Sangramaya”, (a Battle of Solar Power) aims to produce 1000 Mega Watt by 2025 targeting low Income families and the development of 1 Mega Watt to 10 Mega Watt capacity solar power plants to assist Small and Medium Level entrepreneurs. 

President Sirisena met with the Indian President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 10th March. Welcoming the Sri Lankan President, President Kovind said that President Sirisena has played a stellar role in Sri Lanka’s active re-engagement with the world and his leadership has been reassuring for India and the region and beyond. Commending the environment-friendly measures initiated by Sri Lanka, he appreciated the Sri Lankan President’s vision on ensuring economic development with environmental sustainability and praised Sri Lanka’s ‘Surya Bala Sangramaya’ initiative in the solar energy sector. He further said, India and Sri Lanka must promote greater progress in trade, commerce, connectivity and development cooperation. India shares Sri Lanka’s emphasis on areas such as power, renewable energy, ocean resources, organic agricultural practices, port and airport facilities, he added. At the meeting President of Sri Lanka invited President Kovind to visit Sri Lanka at a mutually convenient date. 

President Sirisena also held bilateral talks with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. President Sirisena thanked the Indian Government for extending a Line of Credit o USD $ 100 million for major solar power expansion projects. USD 50 million will be allocated for roof top solar power projects for low income families, while the second, USD $ 50 million is for the establishment of roof top solar power projects in hospitals, schools, technical colleges and other government establishments to promote solar power in the country. 

During the meeting, Prime Minister Modi recalled that during the past few years the relations between the two countries was further strengthened and it is important that the future relations focus on economic relations between the two countries. Prime Minister Modi stated that he appreciated the long term vision of President Sirisena. The two leaders discussed the Progress of the on going economic projects. 

On the sidelines of the Conference on 11th March, the President also met with Erik Solheim who was one-time Norway’s Minister of International Development, and acted as the main facilitator of the peace process in Sri Lanka, who is presently the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. During this meeting, issues relating to the environmental conservation, weather and climate change and marine pollution were discussed. The President apprised Minister Solheim regarding the specially designed programmes and steps that have been implemented to control the use of plastic and explained that this has negatively impacted on the coastal marine belt in Sri Lanka and also on the excavation of soil for construction activities, which was also an issue. He invited Mr. Solheim to introduce technological alternatives and proposals to mitigate this situation in Sri Lanka. 

The International Solar Alliance initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on 30 November 2015 by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande. 121 countries between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn qualify to be members of the International Solar Alliance. The Founding Conference in New Delhi was attended by over 23 Heads of State and Heads of Government from countries who have signed and ratified the Agreement together with more than 500 participants dignitaries from the United Nations, Multilateral Development Banks, global funds / financial institutions, energy-related institutions, corporate sector, and civil society. The main objective of the International Solar Alliance is to enable better harnessing of solar energy as an alternative energy source, and to address the specific solar technology deployment needs, of solar resource rich countries. 

The Minister of Transport & Civil Aviation, Nimal Siripala De Silva, Secretary Foreign Affairs, Prasad Kariyawasam, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in India, Chitranganee Wagiswara and Senior Officials of the High Commission attended the meetings with the President during the visit.

 

 

Sri Lanka High Commission
New Delhi
 
12th March 2018

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