Following the Credential Ceremony Wijesekera met the President of the Czech Republic, Deputy Foreign Minister and Director of the Department of South Asia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chief of Protocol of the President Office and the Deputy Head of the Office of the President at the Brozik Room. The Director of the Political Department of the Foreign Ministry mentioned that Sri Lanka does not at present have Hony. Consul in Prague and urged that early steps be taken to appoint one.President Ziman also assured the Ambassador that the Czech Republic is favourable towards the European Union restoring the GSP concession to Sri Lanka. He also indicated interest in promoting cultural ties between the two countries particularly in the study of Buddhism. (Colombo Gazette) At the Discussion which followed President Miloz Ziman wanted his greetings conveyed to President Maithripala Sirisena and indicated that he hopes to visit Sri Lanka in the latter part of 2017 with a large business delegation in order to promote economic diplomacy. President of the Czech Republic Miloz Ziman has urged Sri Lanka to establish a Sri Lankan Embassy in Prague.Priyanee Wijesekera, Ambassador Designate of Sri Lanka to the Czech Republic presented her Credential to President Miloz Ziman at the office of the President in the Prague Castle. Ambassador Wijesekera acknowledged with appreciation the assistance given by the Czech Republic to Sri Lanka in the past.President Ziman also proposed that Sri Lanka should establish a Embassy in Prague particularly as there is much interest among Czech tourists in visiting Sri Lanka.
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“Public spaces are crucial for poor and vulnerable citizens,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement. “Improving access to them, and making them safe for women and girls, increases equity, promotes inclusion and combats discrimination.” “High-quality public spaces encourage people to communicate and collaborate with each other, and to participate in public life,” he continued. “Public spaces can also provide basic services, enhance connectivity, spawn economic activity and raise property values while generating municipal revenue.”But, said Mr. Ban, public spaces require careful collaboration among local authorities, local inhabitants and other actors.The Secretary-General also highlighted the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly goal 11, which aims to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” noting that the goal represented a “broad international consensus that recognizes sustainable urban development as a transformational approach.”The Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Joan Clos, noting the importance of the day’s theme, said in a statement that “the character of a city is defined by its streets and public spaces.”“Public space is a vital component of a prosperous city,” said Mr. Clos. “Well designed and managed public space is a key asset for a city’s functioning and has a positive impact on its economy, environment, safety, health, integration and connectivity.“The quality of life for people in cities is directly related to the state of its public spaces,” he continued. “Public space provides room for social and cultural interaction and can foster a sense of belonging and pride in an area. A public space that is open to all, regardless of ethnic origin, age or gender, provides a democratic forum for citizens and society.”Without adequate public space, cities can become increasingly segregated, noted Mr. Clos. “The result can be a polarized city where social tensions are likely to flare up and where crime and violence rises.”He added that World Habitat Day is being celebrated this year with a partnership between UN-Habitat and the ‘HeforShe’ initiative promoted by the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). The two UN agencies are aiming to promote the role of men and women in the creation of “gender-equal public spaces for all.”