UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said that genuine political will is essential for proper implementation of global agenda on climate change and environment protection. She said this when President Maithripala Sirisena assured the Sri Lanka government’s total commitment for protection of the environment.

President Sirisena, recalling the discussions he held with Madam Bokova when they met during the Paris Summit on Climate Change in December 2015 said that Sri Lanka is very concerned about global warming and expressed total commitment to protect and sustain the environment. He said this when the UNESCO Director General called on him at his official residence in Colombo yesterday (17th Aug.). Madam Bokova is currently visiting Sri Lanka on an invitation extended by President Sirisena.

She said that she was fortunate to visit magnificent heritage sites such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Kandy. She made a special mention about the beauty and greenery of Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and said it was a lovely testimony to green environment of this island-nation. She expressed happiness that the UNESCO could support restoration and preservation of the important cultural heritage sites of Sri Lanka.

The President thanked the UNESCO for the assistance provided to Sri Lanka for culture, education and science for a long period of time. He said that Sri Lanka has a strong relationship with the United Nations and described the steps taken by the government to improve cultural heritage sites. He said that the government has given priority to economic development and strengthening of reconciliation.

Madam Bokova said that the UN is highly pleased about the total commitment displayed by the government of President Sirisena for resolving pressing issues.
The President expressed appreciation over the tremendous service rendered by Madam Bokova as UNESCO Director General and wished her very best for her future endeavours.

Education Minister AkilaViraj Kariyawasam, Foreign Secretary Esala Weerakoon, Ambassador to France and UNESCO Permanent Representative Tilak Ranaviraja, officials from UNESCO, Paris and UNESCO, New Delhi offices and UNESCO Commission in Sri Lanka were present on this occasion.