World Accreditation Day is celebrated on 9th June by the accreditation community worldwide, and in 2021, the theme was declared by the International Accreditation Bodies as ‘Accreditation: Supporting the Implementation of SDGs’. The Sri Lanka Accreditation Board (SLAB) and the Sustainable Development Council of Sri Lanka (SDCSL) in partnership with SLYCAN Trust conducted a virtual forum on "SDGs: National Commitment and Accreditation" as the national event to commemorate World Accreditation Day. This forum created a platform for partner organizations to share their achievements, challenges, and insights for future actions needed to reach Sri Lankan SDG targets with the support of accreditation. The aim of the forum was to support the implementation of SDGs with the participation of different stakeholders and find new directions that have to be taken to achieve SDG targets.
The event opened with Hon. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s message: “Sri Lanka has begun its transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society. Even with the challenges imposed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Government is making concrete efforts to make progress towards achieving the SDGs. Our National Policy Framework ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor’ is a comprehensive and holistic development framework that has effectively integrated our global SDG commitments. The three core areas; economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection are all addressed in the national policy framework and all institutions must work towards achieving these objectives.”
Attending the event in person, the Hon. Minister of Trade, Mr. Bandula Gunawardena, said that the “government has formed an inter-ministerial steering committee to guide the SDG implementation process in Sri Lanka by mobilising various government agencies around SDGs whilst ensuring and facilitating integrated approaches towards implementation. We must all collaborate together to ensure that the accreditation process produces high-quality, environmentally sound results that benefit both people and the planet. We are convinced that this partnership will assist key public and private agencies in achieving this goal, accelerating Sri Lanka's progress toward sustainable development.”
Attending the event, the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Sri Lanka Accreditation Board, Dr. Sampath Wahala, stated: “The theme of this discussion is timely and important. Accreditation is providing technical and operational underpinnings required for the functioning of developed and developing societies. In addition accreditation is promoting policy goals such as food safety, health and environmental protection, and industrial and infrastructure development.”
During the speech, SLYCAN Trust’s Executive Director, Ms. Vositha Wijenayake, mentioned that SLYCAN Trust is a non-profit think tank that focuses on the thematic areas of climate change, adaptation and resilience, sustainable development, environment conservation and restoration, social justice and animal welfare. She highlighted how economic sectors of countries and especially Sri Lanka will be impacted by COVID-19 and how sustainable development could be achieved while addressing the needs of resilience and climate friendly approaches.
During the event, speakers also focused on how the current pandemic situation affects achieving SDGs in the health sector, the role and future activities of the SDCSL as the national focal point, the contribution of the Ministry of Environment towards achieving SDG goals, and the foreign trade policy framework of Sri Lanka.
The event also saw the contribution of Ms. Chamindry Saparamadu, Director General of the Sri Lanka Sustainable Development Council; Dr. Sudath Dharmarathne, Deputy Director General of Laboratory Services of the Ministry of Health; Mr. Jagath Abeywarna, Director of the Department of Commerce; and Dr. Sugath Dharmakeerthi, Director of the National Ozone Unit.