Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who also serves as minister of finance, was on Wednesday elected chair of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Governors for the year 2021/2022 during the bank’s 54th annual meeting held virtually, a statement from Rajapaksa’s office said.
During the meeting, Rajapaksa informed the fellow governors that amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, the time was now right for countries to reflect and re-group as this century was the Asian Century.
“Our region has faced many crises, but Asia is also known for its resilience. Therefore, it is not surprising that our region is leading the growth story of the world, even during the current pandemic,” Rajapaksa said.
He further said that “emerging Asia” had a responsibility to lead the world and must ensure sustainable practices that will make the environment resilient to climate change.
“Our policy solutions must be environmentally and socially sustainable. We must preserve our way of life for future generations. The need now is to collectively cooperate in addressing our common issues,” Rajapaksa said.
In addition, he said countries must reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and he believed the ADB must lead the way in supporting member countries to make the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
“We also believe the ADB must extend support to emerging Asia to have smarter, eco-sustainable cities. It should be a new approach to ensure that access to resources is better managed,” he said.
He also said countries must focus more on women empowerment and recognize the crucial role that women play in creating a just and equitable society.
Sri Lanka will host the 55th annual meeting of the ADB Board of Governors next year in Colombo.