‘Shilpa Sena’, a rolling exposition will be launched islandwide in July, geared towards bringing technological skills, knowledge and products to the public, at a time when the country embraces new and emerging technologies, Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said recently.The aim of the exposition is to bridge the technological divide in society while ensuring that no one will be left behind, as part of the government’s wider policy of achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, he said.
The Science, Technology and Research Minister was speaking at the High-Level Round Table on “The impact of rapid technological change on sustainable development” on May 14 while participating in the 22nd Session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) in Geneva. The theme of this year’s Commission was “The role of science, technology and innovation in empowering people and in ensuring inclusiveness and equality” and saw the participation of developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as developed countries.
Minister Senasinghe said nanotechnology, biotechnology, neurotechnology, 5G and the Internet of Things, personalised medicine, blue-green technologies, new energy, robotics and industrial automation, mechatronics, artificial intelligence (AI) and space tchnology have been identified as priority technology themes by the government. Highlighting the importance of the Blue–Green economy, he stated that the objective of this initiative is to utilise ocean resources through enhanced scientific knowledge while drawing from Sri Lanka’s rich heritage of indigenous knowledge.
At a bilateral meeting with, UNCTAD Division of Technology and Logistics Director Shamika Sirimanne on May 14, Minister Senasinghe outlined the various initiatives of the Ministry including the diffusion of science literacy among the public. As part of these initiatives, Vidatha Resource Centres - an islandwide network of science and technology centres - will be converted to technology transfer offices while more school students will be encouraged to follow STEM education.
The Science, Technology and Research Ministry will seek through private and public partnerships to increase the value addition of export products such as naturally occurring minerals in Sri Lanka including graphite, the Minister said. Tax rebates will be also provided for private companies and industries to encourage the setting up of partnerships with universities.
Sirimanne expressing her views on the programmes of the Science, Technology and Research Ministry, invited Sri Lanka to share these best practices with UNCTAD to disseminate among developing countries. During his visit to Geneva, Minister Senasinghe met with International Trade Centre Executive Director Arancha Gonzalez on May 17 at which the parties discussed the progress of ITC’s collaboration with Sri Lanka. The Minister sought ITC’s assistance on developing Sri Lanka’s expertise on quality control. Using technology to improve the processes would empower segments of societies, in particular women’s empowerment through improved economic conditions, Gonzalez said.
Minister Senasinghe briefed the ITC Executive Director of the many initiatives undertaken by his Ministry to link markets and innovation and the proposed projects to connect public institutions and private sector ensuring that both sides benefit.
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and other International Organizations Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Deputy Permanent Representative Samantha Jayasuriya, Minister Counsellor Shashika Somaratne, First Secretary (Commercial) Tharaka Botheju and Second Secretary Rajmi Manatunga were associated with Minister Senasinghe at the meetings