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Sunday, 14 June 2015

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EUR 60m project to develop N & E

The European Union (EU), one of the largest providers of development assistance to Sri Lanka, has launched a EUR 60 million cooperation program, European Union Support to District Development Program (EU-SDDP), in Sri Lanka.

EU-SDDP is a five-year development cooperation program that was launched in 2012 to provide support to four districts in the North and the East, Vavuniya, Mannar, Batticaloa and Ampara. It also includes villages affected by the conflict in three other districts of Anuradhapura, Puttalam and Moneragala.


Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva and Head of Delegation of the European Union for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, David Dalley launch the SDDP website. Pic: Chinthaka Kumarasinghe

Sri Lanka is going through a period of transformation under the Government of President Maithripala Sirisena. The EU welcomes his commitment to improve human rights, good governance, reconciliation and economic inclusivity.

"We look forward to working closely with the Government on these and other issues," Ambassador of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, David Daly said.

"In our new EUR 30 million program to be launched later this year, we will focus on some very poor areas of the Central and Uva Provinces. Although Sri Lanka has performed well under the MDGs, there are still pockets of poverty which are multiples of national averages. This is a part of our multi-annual indicative program of EUR 210 million over the period of 2014-2020," he said.

"The SDDP website which we launched will help publicise the good work being done under the EUR 60 million program. It will help educate and hopefully inspire others," Daly said.

"Three decades of civil war in the Northern and the Eastern provinces had a devastating effect on the socio-economic fabric of the two provinces. The war resulted in the destruction of life and property, community and economic infrastructure, institutions of governance and large scale internal displacement and migration," the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Sri Lanka, Subinay Nandy said.

"The districts in these provinces and the adjacent districts were alienated from the overall development process of the country. Sri Lanka has shown remarkable resilience and strength in facing these challenges. However, considerable regional and sectoral disparities still remain in income, educational and health attainments," he said.

"There is thus a compelling need to bridge inter-district disparities and strengthen the economic, social and institutional foundations of the more impoverished and lagging districts to bring them in line with developmental objectives and targets articulated at national level," Nandy said.

The SDDP program supports poverty reduction and the provision of basic infrastructure and services for vulnerable groups. It supports local economic development while strengthening local governance. It adopts a comprehensive and holistic approach in realising its specific objectives.

The program will be implemented by five UN agencies such as, the UNDP, ILO, UNICEF, UNOPS and FAO and IFC with emphasis on gender equality, environment and youth.

The EU-SDDP will be a key contributor to Sri Lanka's journey towards bridging the regional disparities between the districts. The program is due to conclude in 2017.

- SJ

 

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