Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena was invited by the Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu to represent Sri Lanka at the Global Business Summit 2020 on 16 December 2020. The summit was co-hosted by the Governments of Estonia and the United Arab Emirates.
Addressing the Summit under e-Governance and Cyber Security, Foreign Minister Gunawardena highlighted that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has envisioned a people-centric and knowledge-driven new beginning for Sri Lanka, recognizing that the 21st Century was defined by knowledge and innovation. The Foreign Minister provided an overview of Sri Lanka’s digital government architecture designed to address the needs of multiple layers of customers whilst ensuring that such services were effective, transparent and corruption, free. He noted that work was already underway to develop the Unique Digital ID relating to biographic and biometric data, the centerpiece of a citizen- centric digital regime, earmarked for completion by mid – 2021. Services covered by e-governance would be in the education, health, transportation, immigration and emigration, registration of persons and companies, motor traffic, income tax and local government sectors. He also underlined that e-governance, e-commerce and e-medicine and such digitalization, would define the ‘New Normal’ in the post COVID-19 global landscape.
Highlighting that Sri Lanka was the first country in South Asia to become a state party to the Budapest Cybercrime Convention, Minister Gunawardena shared that the Sri Lanka Centre for Cyber Security (CERT) in consultation with ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) has issued mandatory Cyber Security Guidelines for Work From Home (WFH), as the transition had led to a surge in cyber-attacks, phishing scams and such malicious activity. CERT and ICTA continued to monitor and strengthen its Cyber Security eco system through international cooperation, while partnering with foreign governments and agencies to build capacity and create a competent cyber security workforce, both in the public and private sectors.
The Global Business Summit 2020 brought together Governments and businesses to find solutions to the complex global challenges induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Keynote addresses were made by co-hosts, Foreign ministers Urmas Reinsalu of Estonia and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyanof the United Arab Emirates, WHO Director General Dr. TedrosAdhanom Ghebreyesus, Rt. Hon. Tony Blair-Executive Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and former UK Prime Minister, among others. The virtual conference was viewed by around 30,000 worldwide, with the participation of high level dignitaries from Japan, Spain, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Hungary, Singapore, Poland and forty countries in total.
20 December 2020