Our work in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka lacks a broad and firmly established plan to combat poverty. The development plan that does exist, Mahinda Chintana, has been produced without consultation with the civil society and has therefor not formed the basis for Sweden’s development cooperation.
Sweden’s support to Sri Lanka has included civil society organisations. We have worked to strengthen the protection of human rights and support the peace process.
Over the years, we have provided support to develop rural areas, expansion of hydropower, education, research institutes, the chamber of commerce, police cooperation and UN organisations. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which hit Sri Lanka hard, Sweden also contributed an extra SEK 156 million to reduce the suffering and to rebuild houses and infrastructure.
Our development work with Sri Lanka ended in December 2010. For us, it has been important that the phase out work was carried out in a responsible way.
Free media can increase pressure for law and order
There are major deficiencies when it comes to respecting human rights in Sri Lanka. The judicial system often functions poorly and threats towards journalists are common. The armed conflict has led to the situation deteriorating.
Because of the deficiencies within law and order, it is important to give support to civil organisations that can influence events in the country. Sweden has helped to build an independent press institute together with Norway and Denmark.
Economic development nationwide
There are major differences in income between different regions in Sri Lanka. Both Sweden and the Sri Lankan government have been striving to level out these differences.
Sweden has provided support for a number of efforts, including projects that have improved infrastructure and developed the private sector in the conflict-worn eastern and northern parts of the country.
There has also been cooperation between Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, and Sri Lanka’s central bank, where we have been involved as financiers.
Following the phase out of our development co-operation, Sweden will continue to provide humanitarian support to Sri Lanka.