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Dr Harsha de Silva and EU Ambassador David Daly launch the EUSDDP website

The European Union, one of the largest providers of development assistance to Sri Lanka, held a media conference in Colombo last week to present its EUR 60 million cooperation programme, titled European Union Support to District Development Programme (EU-SDDP).

EU-SDDP is a five-year development cooperation programme that started in 2012 with the aim to provide support to four districts in the North and East, namely Vavuniya, Mannar, Batticaloa and Ampara, and border villages affected by the conflict in three other districts, Anuradhapura, Puttalam and Moneragala.

With a total financial envelope of EUR 60 million, the programme focuses on the three key result areas – poverty reduction and provision of basic infrastructure and services for vulnerable populations, support for local economic development, and strengthening of local governance mechanisms.

Speaking on the occasion were Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs, Harsha de Silva and Subinay Nandy, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations and UNDP representative in Sri Lanka,

David Daly Ambassador of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and Ms Libuse Soukupova, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation, also attended the event along with other representatives from the Government and European Union, as well as the UN and IFC organisations implementing the programme.

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Daly said “2015 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 of great 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.

We have been helping rebuild lives and communities affected by the tsunami and the war; helping resettle IDPs; helping children get back to school; helping farmers manage their crops, and assisting people in improving their livelihoods. I am confident that the EU-SDDP programme will not only assist Sri Lanka but will do so in a more effective and sustainable manner”.

The highlight of the event was the launch of the EU-SDDP website (www.eu-sddp.lk). The website will feature a wide range of useful information including project progress updates as well as analyses and statistical information on the program.