Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris stated that the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) has a vital role to play and can render yeoman service under the current circumstances to all its Member and Observer States, when the Executive Director of CICA Kairat Sarybay paid a courtesy call on the Minister in New York.
Minister Peiris emphasized that the work of CICA should be guided by its common objectives with focus being on the major challenges faced by its membership. The Government of Sri Lanka is committed to support the organization and believes that CICA would be able to offer the world many useful insights. The Minister also highlighted that all 27 Member States have robust institutions and sharing experiences and expertise would be an advantage as the world endeavors to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, education, vocational training, environmental issues, mitigating rural poverty, value-added exports and renewable energy are areas that CICA could vigorously pursue, stated the Foreign Minister. On the environmental front, he acknowledged that economic development at the cost of the environment is not sustainable and outlined the steps taken by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to promote a green economy with the shift from chemical based fertilizers to organic ones. Minister Peiris also reiterated that while it is important for countries to increase their GDP, it should be done in a manner that ensures equitable distribution and that the benefits trickle down to all communities, in particular the rural communities.
Executive Director Sarybay briefed the Minister on the activities of CICA and outlined its plans to establish a Council of Eminent Persons and the arrangements being made for the Ministerial meeting in October 2021. He stated that CICA would do its utmost to build confidence among the Member States. He believed this would lead to greater dialogue and cooperation resulting in enhanced development and security in the region. He appreciated the leading role played by Sri Lanka in offering expertise, particularly in the tourism sector at senior officials meetings, interactive sessions and other activities organized by CICA.
The Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) was established in 1992 and is a multi-national forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. It is comprised of 27 Member States, 9 Observer States and 5 Observer organizations. Sri Lanka gained Observer status of CICA in 2012 and full membership in 2018.
21 September 2021