Friday, April 19, 2024
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Driving sustainable investment: The crucial role of sustainable finance and private capital for Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka stands at a critical juncture, seeking avenues for sustainable development while positioning itself as a responsible global player. In this pursuit, sustainable finance and private capital have emerged as a transformative force, offering a unique opportunity to address pressing environmental and social challenges while driving economic growth.

By integrating sustainability principles into its financial systems and attracting private investments, Sri Lanka can unlock new avenues of investment, attract international capital, and create a resilient and inclusive economy.

The Sri Lanka SDG Investor Map, developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the strong collaboration of the Sustainable Development Council of Sri Lanka and the Board of Investment (BOI), provides tangible market intelligence on 15 investment opportunity areas across 5 key sectors that support Sri Lanka’s advancement towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 5 sectors – Healthcare, Renewable Energy, Food & Beverages, Consumer Goods, and Infrastructure – can attract private sector investment and mobilize global private capital towards SDG-aligned investments.

As a follow-up to the launch of the SDG Investor Map, a series of collaborative sector deep dive workshops were convened, aligned to the key Investment Opportunity Areas identified through the Map, engaging a broad group of private sector representatives, investors, policy makers and development partners.

Based on these consultations, a report highlighting ‘Sector insights, challenges and opportunities for mobilizing private capital towards SDG aligned investment opportunity areas’ was launched recently, with the participation of the State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe; the Director Generals of the Sustainable Development Council and BOI; other Government officials and development partner representatives.

Highlighting the ambition and Plans of the Government of Sri Lanka on relevant policy reforms, Minister Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Finance stated that “We are committed to creating a favorable investment climate through regulatory reforms, and attract foreign, and local investments, and facilitate investment opportunities that will generate, positive, social, and environmental impacts, to ensure financial returns. We will improve fiscal transparency, public financial management, introduce a stronger anti-corruption legal framework, and our anti-corruption reform will align Sri Lanka’s legal framework with international standards.”

The role of private capital and investment is more important, now more than ever, to support recovery, prevent regression and help re- accelerate towards a sustainable development trajectory for the country.

Setting the Stage for SDG based Investments in Sri Lanka, Chamindry Saparamadu, Director General, Sustainable Development Council of Sri Lanka stated “We must remain steadfast in our ambition to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but we must also act swiftly, employ intelligent strategies, make wise investments, strengthen global partnerships, and build upon our collective commitment to the SDGs. In this regard, the SDG Investor Platform plays a crucial role by providing investors with critical data, insights, and tools necessary to channel increased capital towards the SDGs. By doing so, it will assist Sri Lanka in unlocking vital financing required to overcome economic challenges and ultimately advance the well-being of both our people and the planet.”

In her remarks at the event, Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative, UNDP in Sri Lanka highlighted “Any investment will bring resources to the country, but we want them to be SDG-aligned to ensure sustainable, inclusive, and green growth for Sri Lanka. We want quality investments that create employment with dignity. Given that the Sri Lanka SDG Investor Map focuses on SDGs to bring in a strong impact narrative alongside commercial returns, there should be a strong emphasis on sustainability at the core underpinning all investment choices.”

Also speaking at the event, Renuka Weerakone, Director General, Sri Lanka Board of Investment noted, “It is our intention to explore and accept green funding opportunities to accelerate sustainable development projects in Sri Lanka. We firmly believe that by harnessing green finance mechanisms and capitalizing on sustainable investment opportunities, we can maximize the positive impact of our endeavors and we request the support and collaboration of UNDP in this regard. We firmly believe that investment and sustainable development are intimately linked, and by embracing this interconnection, we can unlock unprecedented opportunities for growth, innovation, and shared prosperity.”

 

-Sunday Island