Sri Lankas Ambassador elected to chair UNCTAD meeting

This conference was attended by over 200 delegates and experts from all over the world. Ambassdor Ravinatha Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and Mrs. Champika Malalgoda, Executive Director, Research and Policy Advocacy Department of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka represented Sri Lanka at this meeting.Ambassador Kumararatne, previously led the Asian Group of developing countries at WTO (the largest Group of Countries in the WTO) as Chair-person for 2016. Prior to taking his new assignment as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the WTO, Ambassador Kumararatne has served as Director General of Commerce of the Department of Commerce. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO) R D S Kumararatne has been unanimously elected to chair the Fifth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) key annual meeting the “High-level International Investment Agreements Conference on Investment, Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Productive Capacity – building and Sustainable Development” that is being held in Geneva from 09 – 11 October 2017. The meeting is devoted to discuss reforms of international investment agreements.As the Chair, Ambassador Kumararatne in his opening remarks highlighted the current financial gap of US Dollar 2.5 Trillion in meeting the sustainable development goals for developing countries and therefore the need for the best possible policies at national and international levels that can attract and channel investment to the countries, areas and vulnerable groups that are most in need of such investments. While appreciating the key role played by UNCTAD in taking up the discussions on international investment policies on sustainable development, Ambassador Kumararatne stated that the high level conference could be another milestone in the global policy debate on investment for sustainable development. The international dimension is, for many countries, a key component as there is a need for foreign investment to complement scarce domestic resources in many countries. read more

Flower arches trend is damaging the environment because many cheat with plastic

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The Chelsea Physic Garden and Saint Aymes have been contacted for comment. “I think any restaurant or eating establishment who prides itself on sourcing the best of seasonal, local sourced ethical food ingredients should offer the same level of importance and commitment to their interior and exterior flower displays.” Robbie Honey, a Florist at Robin Lucas Studio London wrote in a letter to The Telegraph: “When a restaurant has a fake “flower wall”, we can forgive its ignorance. But when the Chelsea Physic Garden, one of the oldest botanical establishments in the world, decorates its restaurant with one, it is more troubling. The trend for floral arches is damaging the environment, top florists and plant charities have said, as many are cheating with artificial flowers.Thousands of photographs on Instagram show diners proudly posing in front of plastic technicolour blooms outside London’s most fashionable cafes. Not only does the plastic plants confuse bees and butterflies in search of nectar, it encourages the manufacture of needless plastic products.London institutions including Selfridges and even the Chelsea Physic Garden restaurant are using the plastic alternatives.At the restaurant Aubaine in Selfridges, diners can eat underneath plastic wisteria year-round, and cult London cafe Saint Aymes even lets customers buy flower walls for their own homes, made of “handmade” peony heads. “We are blessed with four distinct seasons, each with its own botanical joys. Nobody wants to see wisteria “blooming” in July or fictional red and orange hydrangeas decorating a restaurant. These displays are not environmentally friendly and lack imagination.”Shane Connolly, a master at installations of living plants, added:  “The most thoughtful displays accept the constraints imposed by season and local provenance.”Dr Trevor Dines, the Botanical Specialist at plant charity Plantlife, said:  “There is nothing intrinsically wrong with representations of flowers that celebrate the beauty of our flora but we must never lose sight of just how fundamental real flowers are; bees, bugs and butterflies depend on living, breathing plants for their survival.”A Selfridges spokesperson said: “The wisteria display in question was installed in nearly 10 years ago and is a permanent feature. As part of our Project Ocean initiative launched in 2011, we are proactively tackling the issue of single-use plastics – this includes having removed all single use plastic water bottles and plastic carrier bags, as well as plastic straws from our food halls, concessions and restaurants and microbeads from all beauty products.” Jonathan Moseley, one of the UK’s top florists, is currently showing at the RHS Hampton Court festival.He said: “I agree that there has been a definite increase in the use of faux flowers to dress both interiors and exteriors of retail premises, most notably hotels and restaurants. I feel that this reflects a distinct dumbing down of the transient beauty of natural living plant materials.”As a British flower ambassador and a champion of seasonality, I feel that the escalating use of faux flowers degrades the importance of seasonal flowers and foliages and places these living natural jewels of nature in direct competition to manufactured, resilient and artificially colour enhanced fake flowers. read more