The European Union (EU) has agreed to provide Euro 38 million (approximately Rs. 5,857 million) for the implementation of two programmes: Support to Integrated Rural Development in the Most Vulnerable Districts of the Central and Uva Provinces in Sri Lanka (Euro 30 Million) and Trade Related Assistance in Sri Lanka (Euro 8 million). The EU also agreed to provide technical assistance worth of Euro 5.7 million to National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB).

Integrated rural development is a priority for the EU in Sri Lanka, with support focusing on helping people to improve their lives. The Support to Integrated Rural Development in the Most Vulnerable Districts of the Central and Uva Provinces in Sri Lanka is implemented under the EU's Multi-annual Indicative Programme (MIP) 2014 - 2020.  The MIP country strategy has allocated up to Euro 210 million grant assistance for the 2014 - 2020 period as support for integrated rural development in Sri Lanka. MIP aims to improve the quality of life in rural areas through poverty reduction, social inclusion and reconciliation, economic development and good governance while helping to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources.

The Rural Development Programme in Central and Uva Provinces (Euro 30 Million) in particular hopes to improve livelihoods, household income levels, health, nutrition and  strengthen socio-economic service delivery by local authorities, community organisations and private institutions. All this will be achieved by improving  rural infrastructure, local business development, job creation and by invigorating the business environment. The programme will also set up sustainable water management systems that promote safe drinking water, hygiene and nutrition.

The Trade Related Assistance in Sri Lanka Programme (Euro 8 million) will design and implement a coherent strategy for export competitiveness that includes policies and regulatory reforms. The programme will also look at increasing trade competitiveness of Sri Lankan Small and Medium Enterprises in regional and EU markets, the regional integration process, the EU General System of Preferences (GSP+) scheme and trade negotiations.

The programme is implemented under the Asia Regional Multi-Annual Indicative Programme (ARMIP) 2014 - 2020. ARMIP is the EU's Regional Multi-Annual Indicative Programme for Asia which covers 19 countries in South and South-East Asia, including Sri Lanka. Grant assistance worth of Euro 889.5 million is allocated during the 2014 - 2020 period for the entire Asian region, to support regional integration, as aid to uprooted people and to promote a green economy.

In addition to the aforementioned, the EU will provide Euro 5.7 million worth of technical assistance to the NWSDB. This will be implemented by Agence Francaise de Developpement (French Development Agency - AFD). It complements the Sanitation and Hygiene Initiative for Towns Project (SHIFT Programme) which aims to develop collective sewerage system and sanitation solutions in Sri Lanka.The programme will analyse NWSDB requirements and capacity to expand into wastewater sector. This initiative will also look to develop the capacities of the NWSDB management and its wastewater / sewerage division's technical staff.

The two financing agreements pertaining to Support to Integrated Rural Development in the Most Vulnerable Districts of the Central and Uva Provinces in Sri Lanka and Trade Related Assistance in Sri Lanka, were signed by Dr. R. H. S. Samaratunge, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka while Mr. Neven Mimica, European Union Commissioner in charge for International Cooperation and Development signed on behalf of EU.

Mr.  Nicolas Fornage, Director for South Asia of AFD signed the Technical Assistance agreement.The event also witnessed the presence of Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Finance, H.E. Mr. Jean-Marin Schuh, Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and Mr.  Paul Godfrey - charge d'affaires of EU.

Ministry of Finance

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