EU presents Euro 60 m district program including N&E

Eu-flag-vector-material2The European Union (EU) yesterday presented a Euro 60 million cooperation program to support four districts in the north and east to reduce poverty and improve infrastructure.

Titled the European Union Support to District Development Program (EU-SDDP), the project, which was begun in 2012 and will continue till 2017, focuses on three key result areas including poverty reduction, provision of basic infrastructure for vulnerable populations, support for local economic development and strengthening of local governance mechanisms.

“This year is designated as the European Union Year of Development. The EU together with its 28 member states gives more than half of all development aid globally and this field is truly important to us. EU assistance to Sri Lanka has evolved from humanitarian aid to traditional developmental aid over the years and our assistance has benefitted around a million people. I’m confident the EU-SDDP program will not only assist Sri Lanka but will do so in a more effective and sustainable manner,” said EU Ambassador David Daly.

The program also addresses local economic development by supporting entrepreneurship and expansion of existing businesses, improving the business environment and improving access to quality vocational training. Strengthening local governance also remains key, and activities focus mainly on capacity development in planning and policy implementation.

“The districts in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the adjacent districts were alienated from the overall development process of the country. There is a compelling need to bridge inter-district disparities and strengthen the economic, social and institutional foundations of impoverished and lagging districts to draw nearer to developmental objectives and targets articulated at the national level,” UNDP Resident Coordinator Subinay Nandy said at the gathering.
Under EU-SDDP poverty reduction and provision of basic infrastructure and services to vulnerable populations is to be achieved by five results; income generation, improving sustainable livelihoods, enhancing infrastructure offering services, providing access to quality social services and strengthening the capacity of local producers.
The highlight of the event was the launch of the EU-SDDP website. The website will feature a wide range of useful information including project progress updates as well as analysis and statistical information on the program.
“The website which we launch today will bring to the general public the very good work being done under the program. It will also help educate and hopefully inspire others,” Daly added.

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