IFAD Asset Request Portlet

Asset Publisher

Statement by Sri Lanka to the Twenty-Eighth Session of the IFAD Governing Council

Mr. Chairman, President Båge, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman,

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Lennart Båge on his re-election as the President of IFAD. The Governing Council has recognized his valued performance in the past four years. We look forward to working even more closely with him in the coming years, as we have been doing for the past four years. Sri Lanka will assist President Båge in his endeavours, especially strengthening his efforts to fulfil the aspirations of the developing countries in this important donor agency.

Mr. Chairman,

Over the years since 1978, Sri Lanka has benefited much from assistance provided by IFAD through numerous practical projects. In keeping with IFAD's basic strategy towards agricultural development, these projects focused on assisting the marginalized groups of the society thus helping in reducing poverty.

We note with much appreciation that Sri Lanka was able to sign another loan agreement worth US$ 22 million with IFAD last December. This provides for the realization of IFAD's Dry Zone Livelihood Support Programme for Sri Lanka, which was approved by the Executive Board in September 2004.

The programme was originally meant to assist about 80,000 rural households in the districts of Anuradhapura, Badulla, Kurunegala and Moneragala in the dry zone. However, in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster, IFAD recommends increasing this programme by US$ 3 000 000 to be exclusively used to mitigate the effects of the tsunami in the coastal areas from Trincomalee in the East to Galle and Kalutara in the South. We warmly welcome this recommendation.

Mr. Chariman,

It is useful to keep in mind the effects of the tsunami on many fronts.

The fisheries sector of Sri Lanka is heavily affected with two thirds of the national fishing fleet destroyed. Support infrastructure was severely damaged too. Even though the immediate damage to the crops is relatively moderate, loss of crop lands and land productivity due to salinisation and destruction of irrigation infrastructure pose greater threat to the agricultural sector.

Now that the phase of immediate relief assistance is over, reconstruction and rebuilding have commenced. Although the destruction left by the December 26th disaster is enormous, the government of Sri Lanka together with the assistance of the international community have moved expeditiously to engage in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the livelihoods, infrastructure, fisheries and agriculture. We note with much gratitude not only the North-South cooperation that was forthcoming but South-South cooperation, especially with our regional partners in the aftermath.

We appreciate IFAD's proposal for a New Coastal Community Resources Management Programme worth US$ 30 million, which will be submitted to the Executive Board this September. This programme will target poor and distressed households in tsunami affected areas and will address both needs for recovery of assets and infrastructure. For this purpose, Sri Lanka is fully committed to facilitate the ongoing Need Assessment study conducted by a team from IFAD.

I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude towards the President and the dedicated staff of the Asia and Pacific division of IFAD for the prompt action taken to field a Tsunami Response Needs Assessment Mission in Sri Lanka. We hope that the recommendations of the Mission will be a catalyst to future IFAD operations in Sri Lanka.

In the present context, we look forward to working even closer with IFAD and our development partners in implementing our programmes to uplift the living conditions of the Sri Lankan people. We are also aware of the challenges arising from globalisation, such as the need to be competitive on cost, quality, and increased output, issues most developing countries are confronted with. We continue to devote our attention to overcoming these challenges with the assistance of IFAD and the international community.

Let us resolve to further shape and strengthen this important institution while finding practical ways and means to increase resources available to fulfil the needs and aspirations of the rural poor in all corners of the globe.

This will no doubt pave the way in bringing us closer to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Thank you very much.