Jaffna, 6 June 2016: State Secretary of Norway Hon. Tore Hattrem and Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka H.E. Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther, accompanied by Resident Representative a.i. of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka, Mr. Peter Batchelor recently visited resettled communities in Valalai, Jaffna.
Speaking at the event, Hon. Tore Hattrem stated, ‘It is very important for people to return to their original land places and re- establish their lives. Therefore, the Norwegian Government has decided to financially support people to re-start the livelihood activities and promote the resettlement process.’ UNDP, under its third phase of the Northern Livelihood Development Programme, with funding of 4.1 million Norwegian Kroner (490,000 USD) has begun livelihood and community infrastructure assistance aimed at over 1,500 persons returning to their original land in the Kopay and Thelipallai Divisions.
UNDP’s overall aim under this initiative is to mobilize target communities to reactivate community based organizations/networks and engage in community development to provide the immediate recovery support. Towards this aim, in partnership with government and non-government partners UNDP has undertaken comprehensive needs assessment of the returnee families and prioritized their needs. The revitalizing of Community Based Organisations and supporting agriculture and fisheries based primary producers has been the prioritized needs addressed by UNDP, under its mandate of uplifting sustainable livelihoods. As part of the mission, Mr. Peter Batchelor also visited the Palaly North resettlement village and held discussions with the communities there, in the presence of the government officials. During the visit Mr. Batchelor reiterated UNDP’s commitment towards the Government’s resettlement process and the need to provide facilities in a timely manner to resettled families.
The Government of Norway is funding the Northern Livelihood Development Project, implemented by UNDP across the Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts to promote local economic development through enhanced market-based livelihood opportunities for communities. The Government of Norway continues to enhance the strong and longstanding partnership with the United Nations and is the second largest donor of UNDP Sri Lanka.