President delivers inaugural speech at FAO confab

Published : 12:02 am  July 17, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (148) reads | 

Life-1-11

 

By Sandun A. Jayasekera 

Forests provide many socio-economic benefits which are basic human needs, President Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday while delivering the inaugural speech at the opening ceremony of the 24th sessions of the Committee on Forestry of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome. 


President Sirisena went onto say that the ‘Committee on Forestry’ was a great platform for forestry experts to share knowledge, discuss, debate and take decisions for a progressing global forestry sector. “The agenda ahead of you is very comprehensive and challenging,” he told the international gathering. 


He said more than 50 per cent of Sri Lankan soil was covered with forests two centuries ago and now the total dense forest cover was estimated at 29.7 per cent. He explained the programmes initiated by the government to enhance it to 32 per cent. “Sri Lanka is highly committed to conserve its existing forest cover and enhance it to 32 per cent by adopting better practices. More than 50 per cent of forest cover was lost due to deforestation. This has caused severe environmental hazards in the country. It has affected rainfall patterns and soil erosion. Reforestation has been the responsibility of the Forest Department. With the coordination of many other government ministries, local government institutions and cooperative societies, we have commenced a project to plant five million trees by 2020. Currently, Sri  Lanka has approximately 4.3 million schoolchildren. We are commencing a project under the sponsorship of the government to encourage schoolchildren to plant at least one tree in their home gardens, school premises or wherever possible. We will financially support plant growth,” President Sirisena said.   


He expressed gratitude to FAO for assisting Sri  Lanka and its people, especially during times of national disasters. He also thanked the FAO Director General for inviting him to address the distinguished gathering. 


President Sirisena arrived at the Fiumicino International Airport in Rome last Sunday to attend the 24th session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO) and the 6th World Forest Week organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations which began yesterday. He will undertake a tour to Georgia from today to Thursday (17-19) to attend the Open Government Partnership Global Summit.   

 

 

  • He expressed gratitude to FAO for assisting Sri  Lanka and its people, especially during times of national disasters. He also thanked the FAO Director General for inviting him to address the distinguished gathering