6 Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Where we are?

Sri Lanka has made significant progress in poverty reduction. The Household Income and Expenditure survey (HIES) of 2011 indicated the national poverty rate had fallen from 15.2% in 2006 to 8.9% in 2010.  This reflected a significant reduction in poverty in all sectors:  urban (6.7 to 5.3%), rural (15.7 to 9.5%), and the tea plantation community (32 to 11.4%). The country is on course to attain the MDG target of halving poverty by 2015, though there are regional disparities across districts and sectors. In this regard attention is needed in war affected districts and districts with large estate populations, as well as the districts in the Uva Province.

The poor are getting less poor on average as indicated by the declining Poverty Gap Index. However, the Gini coefficient indices for household income and per capita expenditure have remained high indicating inequalities. The former stood at around 0.46 from 1990-1991 to 2006-2007, while the latter was around 0.40 before declining to 0.38. Sri Lanka could do better in achieving the targets under Goal 1 if, both social and economic infrastructure facilities improved further in the less developed regions.


UNDP's work in Sri Lanka

  • Women venture into new markets using local resources

    Mrs. Bernatheth is a 53 year old widow with three children living below an income of Rs. 3,200 per month. Although she has received government and donor support for the construction of her house destroyed during the war, she has been unable to complete the remaining construction work due to her low income. more

  • The new ice plant in Mullaitivu improves market penetration of local fishermen

    Mr. Arunraj, a 40 year old father of three, was displaced four times with his family since the 90’s and therefore, was forced into subsistence livelihoods and low income generating activities. With fishing being his main source of obtaining income, Mr. Arunraj struggled to restart his fishing activities soon after resettlement in 2010. He says, “I faced many challenges in marketing the fish.more

0.6 years
until 2015

1990 2015
Targets for MDG1
  1. Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
    • Proportion of population below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Poverty gap ratio
    • Share of poorest quintile in national consumption
  2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
    • Growth rate of GDP per person employed
    • Employment-to-population ratio
    • Proportion of employed people living below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Proportion of own-account and contributing family workers in total employment
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
    • Prevalence of underweight children under-five years of age
    • Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption