ASIA CO-OPERATION DIALOGUE HAS IMMENSE POTENTIAL TO MITIGATE GLOBAL ISSUES ̶ MINISTER G L PEIRIS AT KUWAIT MINISTERIAL MEETING
Minister G L Peiris, in his address at the Ministerial meeting, pointed out the immense potential of the area covered by the Asia Co-operation Dialogue to find practical solutions to global problems at this time.
He said that the 32 countries which are members of ACD should consider afresh their approach to sustainable growth in mutual co-operation in such areas as poverty alleviation, environmental protection, resilience of communities to natural disasters, development of renewable energy sources and, most importantly, widespread access to education, health and nutrition.
Minister Peiris said that the end of the conflict situation in Sri Lanka has proved a catalyst for economic and social resurgence. He continued; “We are investing heavily in infrastructure and information technology, and are moving to empower our rural population which constitutes the bedrock of our economy. We are also paying special attention to the tourism sector which can provide a powerful stimulus to growth and especially for creating sustainable employment”.
The Summit being held in Kuwait, he added, marks a new chapter of ACD and will be a good opportunity not only to consolidate past achievements but to shape future direction to meet the expectations of Asia as an emerging global growth centre.
He characterized the ACD as an appropriate forum to forge understanding and build bridges among diverse cultures, religious traditions and civilizational legacies. This Grouping, he said, is singularly well placed to promote dialogue on challenges arising from these diversities, and discover common ground to mitigate tensions.
Minister Peiris concluded: “Culture and connectivity are closely intertwined. In the past, we had the Silk Route that did not only physically link Asia together but also helped promote understanding, co-operation and tolerance among us. I believe that awareness of this shared heritage is essential to re-unite Asia and reinforce the objectives of ACD. The twenty first century is thus the time to reconnect past and present and to revive this ancient Silk Route, symbolising goodwill and co-operation, by all appropriate means ̶ economic, cultural and scientific.”