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After the end of a 25-year ethnic conflict in 2009, Sri Lanka is ready to move forward on its long-term development plan to reduce poverty. The country ranks 97 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's 2011 human development index.
Pockets of deep poverty persist in the plantation areas in central Sri Lanka and in the former conflict areas in the east and north. Unemployment is high, especially among women and youth. Following the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009, approximately 270,000 civilians were displaced from their homes. The majority of these displaced people have returned to their home areas; however, many continue to need humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs, and the extensive damage caused by the conflict means they face significant barriers to earning a living. In addition, the country is prone to frequent natural disasters such as floods, drought and landslides.
Sri Lanka is a parliamentary democracy, although governance and the rule of law are weak. Since 2010, the country has maintained relatively high levels of growth, spurred by private sector demand, and Sri Lanka has become a middle-income country. Consumer and investor confidence is higher and tourism has strongly rebounded.
Despite the longstanding conflict, Sri Lanka has made good progress in health and education, as well as in food self-sufficiency. Women take an active role in livestock production, forest-resource use and fishery processing and are important to Sri Lanka's future economic development.
The goal of CIDA's bilateral development program in Sri Lanka is to continue to promote equitable and sustainable economic growth in a post-conflict environment while also emphasizing the important role of human rights in reducing poverty.
This includes developing and rebuilding small-scale agriculture and infrastructure, including irrigation systems, rural access roads, and agricultural storage and processing facilities. CIDA's program focuses on internally displaced persons as they return to their villages.
CIDA will improve human rights in Sri Lanka by supporting the implementation of Sri Lanka's official language policy. This will help minority groups to access social services such as health, education and police protection in their own language.
Democratic governance is one of the Government of Canada's five priority themes for international assistance and one of CIDA's cross-cutting themes.
Sri Lanka endorsed the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages). CIDA and other bilateral donors do not provide funding directly to the Government of Sri Lanka. Donors, however, have developed a common set of principles to guide their work in Sri Lanka and conduct joint evaluations where feasible.
Helped 768 plantation workers in central Sri Lanka obtain national identity cards, improving their access to services available to all citizens.
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