Japan grants US$ 5 million for Livelihood Development Programme

04 Mar 2008

Colombo, March 4, 2008 – The Government of Japan provided nearly US$ 5 million to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support “Livelihood Development Programme in Conflict-affected Areas in Sri Lanka.”  With this major contribution, Japan has yet again demonstrated its leadership role in supporting recovery efforts in Sri Lanka.

The funds will be channeled through UNDP’s Transition Recovery Programme, and will directly improve the lives of approximately 100,000 people living in the North and East. The Transition Recovery Programme has on-the-ground projects throughout Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka, delivering an integrated package of socio-economic support for communities affected by the conflict (internally displaced persons(IDPs), returnees and their host communities).

The Japanese Government assistance will support economic recovery through the revival and development of traditionally productive and alternative income generating livelihood activities as well as community related infrastructure through a package of inter-related activities utilizing a community oriented and integrated approach over a period of three years.

“This project is very important as it will directly support the livelihoods in the conflict-affected people which are urgently needed in these areas. We hope that this project will help to bring about normalcy to the lives of all communities including the returning IDPs and ensure their resettlement,” said the Japanese Ambassador, Mr. Kiyoshi Araki.

The livelihood development programme aims to support traditionally productive sectors that were damaged in the conflict, such as agriculture, fisheries, livestock and small industries; promote alternative income sources and related skills development for small groups or whole communities; construct livelihood-related community infrastructure, such as access and transport roads, marketing centres and water and sanitation systems; and promote social cohesion by strengthening community and individual empowerment and peace-building.

The project will also provide skills training in alternate livelihoods in order to promote alternative income sources and help to identify untapped markets and opportunities through an economic survey of the targeted areas. 

“The UNDP Transition Recovery Programme has received a major impetus with Japan’s contribution today,” said UNDP Country Director, Mr. Douglas Keh at the signing ceremony. “Unlike humanitarian aid, transition recovery support is meant to wean conflict-affected communities off of dependence on emergency aid and place them onto a track of self-sustaining livelihood. With Japan’s support today, thousands of families throughout the North and East are one step closer to having a normal life, free of dependence on the emergency aid.”

The livelihood development project will also place a strong emphasis on women beneficiaries where, the identification of needs will be based on a gender aggregated data. Further, alternative livelihood activities, infrastructure construction activities and skills training will be designed and developed to ensure women’s participation as well as empowerment.

The Signing of the Exchange of Notes between the Government of Japan and UNDP concerning the grant for this project took place at the Ministry of Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development in Colombo on March 4, 2008 between H.E. Mr. Kiyoshi Araki, Ambassador of Japan and Mr. Douglas Keh, UNDP Country Director. Mr. Neil Buhne, Resident Representative of UNDP and the Resident Coordinator of the UN, Mr. W. K. K. Kumarasiri, Secretary to the Ministry of Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development, Mr. M. S. Jayasinghe, Senior Advisor and other officials were also present at the occasion.