Dr. Palitha Kohona - new Permanent Representative to UN
Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona will shortly assume duties as
the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, New
Dr. Palitha Kohona
Dr. Kohona before assuming the current position he was the Foreign
Secretary, Special Advisor on the Peace Process and Secretary-General of
the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) and was a
member of the Government delegation which participated in the Peace
Talks with the LTTE in 2006.
He has served as the Chief of the United Nations Treaty Section, New
He held this position since 1995. The Treaty Section is responsible
for discharging the Secretariat's mandate to register treaties under
Article 102 of the Charter and the depositary functions of the
Secretary-General for Multilateral Treaties e.g. The Land Mines
Convention, Kyoto Protocol, Bio-Safety Protocol, Treaties on Terrorism
and Organised Crime and Human Rights. The Treaty Section is the
custodian of over 500 multilateral treaties, covering the spectrum of
At the Treaty Section, Dr. Kohona implemented a major programme of
managerial changes, including a move to a highly computerized work
environment and significantly improved its performance and output
earning the UN21 Medal for superior management. He participated in many
sensitive multilateral negotiations on behalf of the UN Office of Legal
Affairs, combining his legal background with his experience as a
diplomat. He has continued to maintain a keen interest, particularly on
environment, terrorism and organized crime related issues. He led a UN
legal delegation to North Korea in 2005 at the invitation of the DPRK
Government at a time when tensions were running high. He was also a key
speaker at a seminar organized in Canberra by the Australian Joint
Parliamentary Committee on Treaties.
Prior to joining the UN, Dr. Kohona was with the Department of
Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia since 1983. Posted to Geneva in
1989, he chaired the negotiating group that developed the compliance
mechanism under the Montreal Protocol to the Convention on the Orzone
Layer. He was also closely involved in the negotiation of major
multilateral environmental agreements and in the Rio process.Back in
Australia in 1992, Dr. Kohona was attached to the Uruguay Round of Trade
Negotiations institutional mechanisms and dispute settlement unit and
subsequently headed the Trade and Investment Section of the Department.
Dr. Kohona, who hails from Matale, received his secondary education
in Sri Lanka at S. Thomas' College, Mt. Lavinia. He proceeded to obtain
a LL.B (Hons) at the University of Sri Lanka and a LL.M from the
Australian National University.
He obtained a Doctorate from Cambridge University, UK, for the thesis
- 'The Regulation of International Trade through Law,' subsequently
published by Kluwer, Netherlands. He is also an Attorney-at-Law.
His new appointment follows the retirement of M.G.S. Palihakkara.