Home » President Wickremesinghe Advocates for Science and Technology at G77 & China Summit

President Wickremesinghe Advocates for Science and Technology at G77 & China Summit


In a compelling address delivered at the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the G77 & China in Havana, Cuba, President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized the pivotal role of science, technology, and innovation in addressing the pressing development challenges faced by developing nations across the globe. The President’s Media Division reported on this remarkable speech.

Commencing his address, President Wickremesinghe commended Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez for hosting the Group of 77 plus China (G77+China) Summit in Havana, acknowledging Cuba’s historical role as a champion for the concerns and aspirations of developing nations in various multilateral forums.

President Wickremesinghe shed light on the unprecedented challenges confronting the global South, including the ongoing pandemic, climate change, and crises related to food, fertilizer, and energy. These challenges not only threaten the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but also exacerbate the global debt crisis.

Delving into the historical context of technological development, President Wickremesinghe highlighted how Europe’s advancements in the 15th century, such as gunpowder, cannons, and ocean-going ships, facilitated its conquest of other regions, ultimately leading to the technological disparities we observe today.

He emphasized that a new technological divide is emerging in the 21st century, necessitating the adoption of digitalization and cutting-edge technologies such as Big Data, IoT, AI, Blockchain, Biotechnology, and Genome Sequencing to bridge this gap.

President Wickremesinghe stressed the significance of an educated workforce equipped with knowledge and technological expertise to facilitate the much-needed transformations crucial for the development and progress of developing nations.

The President also outlined his government’s initiatives, including the evaluation of underperforming Science and Technology Research Institutes, the establishment of a Technology and Innovation Council, and a Digital Transformation Agency. Additionally, Sri Lanka plans to establish four new universities specializing in new technologies, with one resulting from technological collaboration between India and Sri Lanka—the International Climate University being the fifth.

Addressing the digital divide, President Wickremesinghe cited challenges such as limited access to expensive technology, inadequate digital skills and infrastructure, cultural and institutional barriers, and financial constraints. He called for effective cooperation mechanisms within the G77 and China, including the revitalization of the Consortium of Science & Technology & Innovation for the South (COSTIS) and member countries committing 1% of their GDP for R&D over a decade.

President Wickremesinghe underscored the importance of collaboration between governments and the private sector and proposed the creation of technological platforms in fields like digitalization, health, medication, AI, and renewable energy, taking inspiration from the European Union’s Technology & Innovation Platforms.

Highlighting the brain drain from the South to the North and the loss of educated manpower as a threat to the development of Science, Technology, and Innovation in the South, President Wickremesinghe called for compensation from the North for this loss. He also urged increased South-South cooperation and proposed a scheme akin to the Colombo Plan to enhance collaboration, exchange best practices, and develop policies harnessing the transformational potential of science, technology, and innovation.

In conclusion, President Wickremesinghe reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to supporting the new Havana Declaration and called for the collective voice of G77 and China to be heard in international forums. His address underscored the paramount importance of science, technology, and innovation in shaping the future of developing nations, marking a pivotal moment at the G77 and China Summit.


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