UN in Sri Lanka celebrating the Vesak Festival

Vesak lanterns

Vesak day globally marked as United Nations Observance Day. The United Nations by creating specail observances promotes international awareness and action on various themes, topics and social issues. With the adoption of the UN resolution 554/115, moved by Lakshman Kadirgarmar the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister in 1999, Vesak Day is now internationally accorded as a United Nations Observance Day.

The Buddha Rashmi Pooja, the National Vesak Festival illuminated Colombo once again in commemoration of the Vesak Poya that falls in May . During a period of seven days starting from 21st May 2016, the Gangaramaya Temple together with the Presidential Secretariat facilitated the festival, transforming a zone earmarked as the ‘Vesak Kalapaya’ for this principal Buddhist event of the Annual Calendar, signifying the Birth, Enlightenment and Passing of Lord Buddha.

Hence Accepting the invitation of the Prime Ministers Office, UN in Sri Lanka displayed the UN Secretary Generals Message with a Vesak lantern highlighting the SDGs in this Vesak Zone. Thousands of people visited Colombo to see the Vesak Zones during these days.

SDG Vesak lanterns


UN iLibrary_logo-1The United Nations iLibrary
(http://www.un-ilibrary.org/) was launched in February 2016 by the Sales and Marketing Section, Outreach Division, DPI. It is the first comprehensive global search, discovery, and dissemination platform for digital content created by the United Nations, providing librarians, information specialists, scholars, policy makers and the general public with a single online destination for seamlessly accessing knowledge products created by the United Nations Secretariat, and its funds and programs.
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We invite you to visit the platform (http://www.un-ilibrary.org/) peruse the content, and use it for your own needs to access information.
The United Nations iLibrary offers a wide range of content for all
types of users. It is primarily designed for:
• Academic Institutions
• Libraries
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• Corporations
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• Non-governmental Organizations

By the end of 2016 the United Nations iLibrary will hold
more than 3,000 publications in all official languages of the
United Nations: English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese
and Arabic as well as bi-lingual and tri-lingual publications.
These publications have been authored by the United Nations
departments such as DESA, OHCHR and DPI, and agencies,
funds and programs such as UNDP, ECLAC and UNFPA.


World Poetry Day : 21 March

“By paying tribute to the men and women whose only instrument is free speech, who imagine and act, UNESCO recognizes in poetry its value as a symbol of the human spirit’s creativity. By giving form and words to that which has none – such as the unfathomable beauty that surrounds us, the immense suffering and misery of the world – poetry contributes to the expansion of our common humanity, helping to increase its strength, solidarity and self-awareness.”
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO unesco iMAGE

Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings.

Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.

In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.

A decision to proclaim 21 March as World Poetry Day was adopted during UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999.

One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

The observance of World Poetry Day is also meant to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity.
UNIC Colombo invites you to tweet up your mindpoem twitter

Poem gender image
In the inky dusk of yesterday-
purple dust of twilight time,
While wondering near the house gate
noticed a white little car
Parked closed by on the main road
Was shaking .
Then a little more, and some more
Now vigorously.
“A car to shake while sitting at idle?
Absolutely stupid thing to see.
Then it occurred to me –something has gone wrong terribly.
Heard a “thup – thump”-followed by a scream.
Then the car propelled-giving a convulsive leap forward
At the same time- stopped with squeaking brakes
Now just in front of me.
Allow me to share what I witnessed.
Venus and Mars –responding to one another.
Mars on Fire!
Venus on Ice.
It reminded me whether I thought of it
When preaching on the Day of Women, just passed,
On Gender based violence that
which hormones are most influential
in the success and failure of relationships?
Gender sym @
– Hiranthi Gunawardena, UNIC Colombo


Int;Day of Forest image 2016International Day of Forests-UN 21Mar-2
In this first year of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the International Day of Forests focuses on their role in supporting water systems… Investing in forests is an insurance policy for the planet.” Secretary General-UN
IDF pic 5 (Sri Lanka Community Forestry programme : http://www.lk.undp.org/content/srilanka/en/home/operations/projects/environment_and_energy/sri-lanka-community-forestry-programme)
Forests pivotal to new post-2015 development agenda “To build a sustainable, climate-resilient future for all, we must invest in our world’s forests”, says Ban Ki-moon,
UN Secretary-General

Theme for 2016: Forests and water
BAK TREE FOR ELYXforests and water
IDF water
Bakmitiyawa, Ampara/Kirindi Ella, Sri Lanka.Forest besuty
Sinharaja-rainforest-1442247490(Sinharaja Rain Forest in Sri Lanka)
This global celebration of forests provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests.
Forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood.
Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. They also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities.
Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Celebrating forests and water
Every year on the International Day of Forests UN celebrates the ways in which forests and trees sustain and protect people. This year UN is raising awareness of how forests are key to the planet’s supply of freshwater, which is essential for life.

Did you know?
• Forested watersheds and wetlands supply 75 percent of the world’s accessible freshwater
• About one-third of the world’s largest cities obtain a significant proportion of their drinking water directly from forested protected areas
• Nearly 80 percent of the world’s population – 8 out of 10 people – is exposed to high levels of threat to water security
• Improved water resource management can show considerable economic gains
• Forests act as natural water filters
• Climate change is altering forests role in water flows and the availability of water resources
• Forests have a crucial role in building and strengthening resilience

Beauty of Forests

The Crooked Forest, is a grove of oddly-shaped pine trees located outside Nowe Czarnowo, West Pomerania, Poland. This grove of approximately 400 pines was planted around 1930, when its location was still within the German province of Pomerania. Wikipedia.
Sagano Bamboo Forest, Japan – A magnificent Bamboo forest in the district of Arashiyama, west to Kyoto, Japan.

Japanese delegation of NPO 2050 led by Former UN Assistant Secretary General Mr. Kitatani met with the UN family

Jap1UNIC Colombo kicked off an awareness session on “Introduction to UN in Sri Lanka” arranged for a Japanese delegation of NPO 2050 led by Former UN Assistant Secretary General Mr. Kitatani from Japan.


The UN Agency work was shared by Mr. Donglin Li, Representative, ILO, Mr. Jorn Sorenson, Resident Representative a.i., UNDP, Mr. Alain Sibenaler, Representative, UNFPA, Mr. Juan Fenandez, Senior Human Rights Ad visor, OHCHR , Dr. Wijeratne Darmasiree, Assistant Representative, FAO and Ms. Zoe Keeler, Transition and Coordination Specialist, RCO. Japanese Delegates donated some gifts to be given to the underprivileged in Sri Lanka. Ms. Akiko Abe, International Specialist/ Reconciliation and Development Support Officer  ,UNV organized the session and the study tour for the delegation.Some UN Colleagues also were present to welcome the international group.

“Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” UNIC COLOMBO CELEBRATIONS ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2016

IWD2016_Banner_StepItUpMarch8March_RLB_0689_675x450 iwd 50-50 SINHALAAAAAAAAAAAAsdg CIRCLEIWD 2016- signing the attendance sheet.png (Revised)
UNIC Colombo joined hands with some members of the Students’ Union of the Sri Lanka Law College to celebrate the Day at the Sri Lanka Women’s Development Services Cooperative Society Ltd.(WOMEN’S COOP) http://www.slwb.org/ together with a part of its membership (office-bearers of Women’s Coop Branches) on 04 March 2016 at its Auditorium in Colombo 8.
Under the theme “Planet 50-50 by 2030 – Set it up for Gender Equality”, several segments on UN 4U and under SDG Goal 5, Legislation available in Sri Lanka for Women ans Girls’ protection and to empower them. This was handled by Mrs. Jeewa Niriella, a Senior Lecturer of the faculty of Law, University of Colombo and the team of students, Sachinda Dulanjana, Mahesh Bandara, Sachini Zoysa, Raneela Senadheera and Mockshi Silva of the Students’ Union of the Sri Lanka Law College. UNIC distributed an information booklet prepared by UNIC based on the Beijing Platform for Action which was found very useful by the participants. The Centre was blessed with able assistance of Sonal, the intern of UNIC and also a student of the Law College in the organization of the event.
IWD Booklet imageImage of the Booklet
IWD JeewaIWD MaheshIWE Sachinda
IWD 2016 law student's addressIWD 2016 Law students addressig the gathering cross section of participants
IWD 2016 Law students showIWD another photo 2IWD Another photo 3
IWD another photo 4IWD Another photo 5
Women’s Bank is a Cooperative Society. It is a self-reliant membership organization built, owned and operated exclusively by the poor women in Sri Lanka. It is engaged in a mission to put the resources, ideas and support of its own members to raise their socio-economic and cultural status on the principle of self-help and mutual help without depending on never ending chain of government and external support.

It was registered in December 1991 under the Co-operative Societies Law No.5 of Sri Lanka as ‘Colombo District Women’s Thrift and Credit Co-operative Society Ltd’ consolidating 22 women’s groups consisting of 250 members that have been promoted by the Praja Sahayaka Sewaya (PSS) – Community Assistance Service, a community based NGO with financial support that PSS has received from UNICEF, UNCHS / DANIDA, The Royal Netherlands Embassy and NORAD. This was popularly known as Women’s Bank, both locally and internationally.

IWD Womens Bank logo
Sri Lanka Women’s Development Service Cooperative Society Ltd. (Women’s Bank)
151/13, E Zone, Seevali Pura Borella,Colombo 8
+94 11 268 1355
+94 11 287 3250
Mr. nandasiri Mr. Nandasiri Gamage, the Inventor of the Bank RupaMrs. Rupa Manel Silva, President of the Bank
About the Bank, a member says: “Normally, the fishermen don’t save,” said lresha Fernando, a Women’s Co-op member since 2004 whose husband regularly spends weeks out at sea. “But then the co-op came to us, and they helped us solve our problems. We love the co-op. They have given us new hopes.”Unique fishing style (stilt) in southern Sri Lanka

UNIC Colombo extends its best wishes to the Women’s COOP to achieve its targets fully in the near future!!


ICNB image for web

INCB Annual Report Launch for the web

By Mahinda Aluthgedara- Dinamina
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is the independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body for the implementation of the United Nations international drug control conventions. It was established in 1968 in accordance with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961. It had predecessors under the former drug control treaties as far back as the time of the League of Nations.

Based on its activities, INCB publishes an annual report that is submitted to ECOSOC through the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the drug control situation in various parts of the world. As an impartial body, INCB tries to identify and predict dangerous trends and suggests necessary measures to be taken. In its Annual Report, the Board makes recommendations to Governments and international organizations for improving the global drug control situation.

INCB Report imageINCB Precursors
While the main launch press conference was held in Berlin, Germany, by Mr. Werner Sipp, President of the INCB on Wednesday, 2 March, the Colombo launch took place on the 3rd March 2016 at 10.00 a.m. at the Auditorium of the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board as arranged by the United Nations Information Centre, Colombo, together with the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board, Sri Lanka with a media briefing.
INCb picture 1

Media Support

Daily News – http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=2016/03/04/local/sl-becoming-popular-transit-point-heroin-trafficking

The Island – http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=141389

Lanka awash with narcotics
March 3, 2016, 9:51 pm

by Maheesha Mudugamuwa – The Island

Narcotics continue to be smuggled into Sri Lanka on a large scale via sea routes from South India and from Pakistan according to the annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

The INCB annual report was launched in Colombo yesterday by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Colombo in collaboration with the National Dangerous Drugs Control
It states that heroin is smuggled into the country in sea containers and fishing boats. Other than along the established sea routes, trafficking of drugs into Sri Lanka by air, largely through Colombo International airport, has been a regular occurrence. In recent years, the majority of the heroin seized at the airport has been found on those arriving from Pakistan. They use various methods, including ingestion and concealment in body cavities and various kinds of equipment and luggage.

However in 2014, 313 kilos of heroin were seized in Sri Lanka and it was a decrease of about 11 percent compared with the previous year and 19, 644 kilos of cannabis from India were seized. The cannabis seizures decreased by 76 percent compared with 2013, the report reveals.

SL becoming a popular transit point for heroin trafficking
By Nushka Nafeel/Daily News- MAR 04, 2016

Sri Lanka is becoming a popular transit point for heroin trafficking, National Dangerous Drugs (NDDCB) Chairman Prof. Ravindra Fernando said. Trafficking of heroin into Sri Lanka has seen a steady increase,
revealed the International Narcotics Control Board for 2015, United Nations report. The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in collaboration with the National Dangerous Drugs (NDDCB) launched the annual report at the NDDCB yesterday. The global launch of the report will take place in Berlin on March 2. “Though Sri Lanka is being used as a transit point, the usage of heroin within the country has not increased,” NDDCB Director General R.Gamage said.
He further said even though the authorities were able to curb heroin usage, there are around 40, 000 to 50,000 addicts countrywide. The report revealed that the main trafficking routes were by sea, from southern India (for Indian heroin) and from Pakistan (for Afghan heroin). Heroin is smuggled into Sri Lanka in sea containers and fishing boats. Around 313 Kg of heroin was seized, a decrease of about 11 percent when compared to the previous year.

According to INCB, cannabis and heroin are the major illicit drugs of abuse in Sri Lanka. Cannabis was illicitly cultivated in the country at an estimated land area of nearly 500 ha in 2014. In addition no cannabis resin production has been reported in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka had nearly 55,000 heroin addicts and 200,000 cannabis addicts, NDDCB Chairman Prof. Ravindra Fernando said. He, however, said that the exact numbers of drug addicts couldn’t be stated and the number of addicts was collected via Police.

Prof. Fernando said that Sri Lanka had become a key centre for the drug trade as it was used as a transit hub by countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.

NDDCB Director General K. Gamage said the total drug users in Sri Lanka had not changed during the last 30 years.

Gamage said that majority of heroin addicts were over 30 years old.

He said preventive and awareness programmes were conducted by the board and other relevant government and non-governmental agencies to raise the awareness of the community regarding the drug menace.

Further, drug treatment and rehabilitation programmes were also conducted by the NDDCB and other relevant government and non governmental agencies for reduction of drug demand while the Law Enforcement agencies were actively taking steps to reduce the drug supply, the DG claimed.

Worldwide Launches
Berlin – Germany (main launch)
2 March 2016, 11:00 am (CET)
By: Werner Sipp, President of the International Narcotics Control Board
International Labour Organization (ILO) Berlin, (Third floor), Karlplatz 7, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Contact: Arne Molfenter, United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC), Landline: +49 228 815 2773, molfenter@un.org
ICNB PResident

Accra – Ghana
2 March 2016, 10:30 am (local time)
By: Douglas Bani, Ministry of Interior
UNIC Accra Resource Centre, Accra
Contact: Cynthia Prah, Email: prah@un.org / Regional Rockson, Email: adjoaaidoo@live.com
Bogota – Colombia
2 March 2016, 9:00 am (local time)
By: Francisco E. Thoumi, INCB Board member
Calle 100 No. 8A-55, Piso 10, Edificio World Trade Center – Torre C, Bogota 2
Contact: Renata Ruiz, Email: Renata.ruiz@unodc.org, Tel.: +57 1 646 70 00 / Liliana Garavito, Email: garavitol@un.org, Tel.: +57 1 257 60 44 108
Cairo – Egypt
2 March 2016, 11:00 am (local time)
By: Ahmed Samak, INCB Board member and Masood Karimipour, UNODC Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa
UNIC Cairo – 1 Osiris Street – Garden City, Egypt – unic.cairo@unic.org
Colombo – Sri Lanka
3 March 2016, 10:00 am (local time)
Auditorium of the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board, Sri Lanka Tel: 00 94 11 2868793 Fax ; 00 94 11 2868791 http://colombo.unic.org ; and http://www.nddcb.gov.lk/
Dakar – Senegal
2 March 2016, 11:00 am (GMT)
By: Erik Van der Veen, Coordinator of the UNODC Sahel Programme
“Capitaine Mbaye Diagne” room of UNIC in Dakar, Parcelle N°20 Route du King Fahd (ex. Méridien Président) en face Hôtel le LITTORAL DAKAR – SENEGAL telephone: (221) 33 869- 99 11 / 12 email: unic.dakar@unic.org
Jakarta – Indonesia
3 March 2016, 10:00 am – 12.30 pm (local time)
By: Sri Suryawati, INCB Board member
Papua Room, Menara Thamrin Building, 7th Floor, Jl. M.H. Thamrin kav.3, Jakarta, Indonesia
Contact: Tel.: +62 21 398 310 11/13 Email: vlastimil.samek@unic.org
Kathmandu – Nepal
3 March 2016, 10:00 am (local time)
By: Phanindra Mani Pokharel, Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs
UN Conference Hall, UN House, Harihar Bhawan, Lalitpur
Contact: shah2@un.org or binija.goperma@unodc.org
La Paz – Bolivia
2 March 2016, 10:00 am (local time)
By: Antonino De Leo, UNODC Representative in Bolivia
La Paz, United Nations Building
Contact: Tel.: +591-2-2624444, Email: hqj98@unodc.org
Mexico City – Mexico
2 March 2016, 10:30 am (local time)
By: Alejandro Mohar, INCB Board member
UN Building. Mario Molina room
Contact: Victor Aguirre, Tel.: +52 55 3762 0183, Email: victor.aguirre@unodc.org / Mariana Castro, Tel.: +52 55 40 00 97 28
Webcast: www.cinu.mx/webcast
New Delhi – India
2 March 2016, 3:30 pm (IST) which is 11:00 am (CET)
By: Jagjit Pavadia, INCB Board member
The Lalit, Barakhamba Avenue, Cannought Place, New Delhi, India
Additional Reports:
Availability of Internationally Controlled Drugs: Ensuring Adequate Access for Medical and Scientific Purposes

Press Releases:
The international drug control treaties do not mandate a “war on drugs”, says INCB Report
INCB calls on countries to ensure worldwide medical access to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances
International Narcotics Control Board reiterates importance of full and balanced implementation of the three international drug control conventions

UN Study Circle of the Richmond College organized a Leadership Training Workshop

UN Association (UNA) Study Circle of the Richmond College, Galle organized a day long leadership programme for the students of the school and some under-resourced neighbouring schools on 7th February 2016 at school premises for 150 students.

Prof. Lakshman Marashinge, President of the UNA and some members of the Executive Committee of the organization participated the event. Mrs. Kumari Wickramasinghe, UNIC Officer In Charge a.i., delivered a lecture based on Sustainable Development Goals and the work of the United Nations . Mr Mahesh Jayasinghe, UNA Executive Committee Member, spoke on the communication skills for better leadership. Video clips were shown on good health. Team building activities were conducted during the day. Members of the Richmond’s School UN Study Circle performed several cultural items. Mr. Achala Welarathne, The Secretary of the Study Circle delivered the vote of thanks.

The students were happy to learn on the new global development agenda and in the opinion that by organizing such activities as the members of the UN Study Circles, they gain knowledge and skills to improve their lives.

UNIC COLOMBO congratulates UNDP on its 50th Anniversary

UNDP at 50 years 1st imageUNDP is born

UNDP is born
UNDP is born in 1966, as a merger of the Expanded Programme and the UN Special Fund. UN Secretary General U Thant says the new organization puts the United Nations on the “front-line of a global war on want.” UNDP’s work is organized into four geographic regions.
UNDP at 50 years
UNDP Image of Havoliange
Haoliang Xu, the Assistant Administrator, and Director of Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, says that:

” It has been said that ‘you are only as good as your last success.’
As the United Nations Development Programme marks its 50th anniversary at the end of this month, we are forging ahead in that spirit, and not resting on our achievements.
But the incredible results we have accomplished across the world and especially in Asia and the Pacific are testimonials of an organization dedicated to the best in development.
Over the last five decades, UNDP has created shared history, credibility, and trust with governments. The bond is strong because often UNDP was the partner who helped to translate ambitious reform ideas into concrete, actionable plans that produced tangible results.
From creating a development plan for Singapore to supporting the growth of tourism in Thailand, from the introduction of the
sustainable development concept in China, to the Doi Moi reforms in Vietnam, UNDP has worked with governments to build a better future for their peoples and brought about remarkable progress.
But today Asia and the Pacific is a very different region.
Aid represented 13.5 percent of the total financial inflows in Asia-Pacific in 1990. By 2012, it had fallen to 3.4 percent. Now domestic revenues and private financial flows dwarf Overseas Development Assistance.
New specialized and more flexible players have entered the development space and UNDP is now one among many agencies and mechanisms for channeling support.
In 2016, UNDP is well-placed to provide high quality development support that can transform countries just as we did in Singapore in the 1960s.

As the development landscape evolves we too have transformed ourselves to meet challenging demands. It allows us to focus on the needs of governments in Asia and the Pacific. For instance:

o preparing effective sustainable development strategies based on decades of piloting, implementing and evaluating different approaches;
o designing innovative solutions for implementation and scaling up;
o blending international and domestic, public and private funding;
o creating multi-stakeholder partnerships;
o exporting successful solutions to other countries facing similar challenges; and,
o coordinating UN’s implementation of SDGs to ensure coherence and efficiency.

The challenge is that UNDP is still seen as a “donor” in many countries in the region. This perception creates obstacle for governments to co-finance programmes, which is one of the most effective paths to development success. Co-financing wholly engages the government, builds transparency, and fosters both knowledge sharing and accountability.
As Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung of Vietnam has said, UN agencies need to “update their operations to become the country’s development partners, instead of sponsors.”

In line with UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2014-17, our ambition is to remain as “heart and soul” of the UN development system, to provide high quality support that can lead to acceleration of progress on national and global development goals.

We will continue to foster an environment for innovation, strengthen our capacity in the areas of youth, employment, urbanization, migration, technology transfer, climate adaptation and mitigation, and ramp up our support on disaster preparedness.” (

Over 50 years we have helped bring about dramatic progress across Asia and the Pacific, hopefully by 2030 we will have helped countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. (End)

UNDP 50th anniversary image
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