Although the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), knowledge and awareness on them countrywide are almost nil. Recognising the need to enlighten Sri Lankans on the collection of these global goals, Ashan Perera, founder of youth-led volunteer movement ‘Road to Rights,’ came up
with the idea of introducing SDG Celebrity Ambassadors. The launch took place on December 15 at Independence Square.
“Celebrities have a huge fan-following and are able to disseminate knowledge of SDGs, advocate, inspire and empower people,” Mr. Perera said. Some Celebrity Ambassadors shared their thoughts on the goals they were advocating for.
Gender equality is achieved when genders respect and understand the uniqueness
Advocating for the SDG goal of gender equality, Dushyanth Weeraman expressed his enthusiasm in being a male advocating for gender equality as he felt gender equality was mistaken to be a feminist issue in the contemporary world. He said genders were unique to each other in many ways.
“Gender equality is not merely about equal pay or lifestyle. It stems from understanding, respecting and accepting each other’s unique characteristics,” he opined.
More than focusing on creating peace, we need to focus on creating strong institutions
- Danu Innasithamby
Advocating for the SDG goal of peace, justice and strong institutions, renowned media personality Danu Innasithamby said the way the UN had worded this goal was ironic.
“We should flip this over. If we have strong institutions, they lead to justice and justice eventually leads to peace,” he opined. He said many were focused on creating lasting peace but it was difficult to ensure lasting peace as there was a lack of strong institutions in place which led to degradation of justice.
“We need to underpin a robust platform by speaking up. Our sentiments will ensure the establishment of strong institutions that could uphold justice. Thus, we achieve lasting peace,” he said.
The rest of the SDG Celebrity Ambassadors present expressed their sentiments regarding the goals they advocated for and pledged to raise awareness on SDGs so that Sri Lanka would be able to achieve all 17 goals by 2030.
Our sentiments will ensure the establishment of strong institutions that could uphold justice. Thus, we achieve lasting peace
We can ignore reality but not its consequences
Recalling an incident where she went snorkelling and came across dead and bleached corals, Ornella Gunesekere advocating for the SDG goal of climate action said the ocean was becoming warmer which led to bleaching of corals.
“Greenhouse gas emission is a natural phenomenon but our activities are increasing it beyond acceptable levels. This leads to global warming, which is causing our land and sea to warm up thereby endangering life on land and earth,” she said.
She underscored that every human had to assume responsibility in minimising the adverse impacts of climate change as climate change occurred due to the collective harmful actions of humans.
“We need to think greener and smarter, produce biodegradable products and consume responsibly. We don’t have to go back on our advancements but ensure they are eco-friendly. We can ignore reality but not its consequences,” she said.
She underscored that every human had to assume responsibility in minimising the adverse impacts of climate change