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    11 June 2010

    Re-issued as received

    Sri Lanka Model Developing Country, but Challenges in Industrial, Export Sectors Remain, Says UNIDO Director-General

    VIENNA/COLOMBO, 11 June (UN Information Service) - The Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Kandeh K. Yumkella, said today that even as a model developing country Sri Lanka still faces challenges in industrial and export growth.

    "Sri Lanka is seen as a model developing country," said Yumkella, who is on a three-day visit to the country. "In the industrial sector it has demonstrated the ability to compete globally in selected sectors. This is a sound platform to build upon. UNIDO has provided significant support to the industrial sector, international accreditation of laboratories which assisted Sri Lankan industry to compete globally. We are using the Sri Lankan capacity built as South-South training models."

    But according to Yumkella, Sri Lanka faces several challenges in industrial and export sectors due to stiff competition from countries in the region. "One key challenge is the logistic performance and infrastructure," said Yumkella.

    During his visit, Director-General Yumkella met President Mahinda Rajapakse, Prime Minister D.M. Jayarathna, the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiyutheen, and the Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Geethanjana Gunawardene.

    They discussed the industrialization of Sri Lanka especially in the Northern and Eastern provinces where the Government and UNIDO are jointly promoting small and medium industries to provide employment and economic empowerment to some 40,000 war widows. Technology transfer, value addition, developing renewable energy sources, youth employment and training were also on the agenda.

    He called for "an intelligent use of standards and labeling schemes", adding that the UNIDO initiated ISO energy-efficiency management system standard ISO 50001, as an emerging requirement to demonstrate enterprise-level energy efficiency.

    The Director-General delivered a keynote address at the Asia Pacific Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption, taking place in Colombo from 10 to 12 June, and participated in a panel discussion on Policy Directions and Capacity Building for Industry Growth at a workshop on Industrial Development Challenges in the 21st Century organized by the Ceylon National Chamber of Industries.

    After visiting a number of UNIDO-assisted projects in Sri Lanka that deal with trade capacity building and cleaner production, Yumkella said: "I was pleased to see that the institutions built under the projects are sustainable, have resulted in significant increase in revenue and moreover have led to South-South cooperation."

    UNIDO supports laboratories in Sri Lanka's Industrial Technology Institute and the Textile Training and Services Centre, which have provided training to countries in the region, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Maldives, Pakistan and Vietnam.

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    For more information, please contact:

    Ravindra Wickremasinghe
    UNIDO Communication
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-7776