The European Union is now focusing its assistance on supporting the resettlement of displaced populations, returning refugees and their host communities in the north and east of the country while continuing to support good governance initiatives, according to the EU Ambassador Bernard Savage.
In addition, the EU has funded several projects in Sri Lanka which have provided technical assistance to enterprises in various sectors, assistance with sectoral diversification, productivity improvement and competitiveness, creating platforms for one-to-one business match-making between EU and Sri Lankan enterprises, he said.
In line with the Millennium Development Goals and the growing concern on the effects of Global Climate Change, the EU recently launched a new programme called SWITCH-Asia specifically responding to the need for a cleaner and more energy efficient industr in Asia, Mr. Savage said.
The SWITCH-Asia programme funds partnership projects to help SME's in Sri Lanka to adopt to more sustainable production processes and technologies as well as change unsustainable consumer behaviour. Three projects are currently being implemented through the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Technology Institute worth approximately Euro 4.5 million (Rs. 720 million).
Other EU funded projects include reconstruction, rehabilitation /repair of health facilities targeting over 250,000 beneficiaries, supporting thousands of resettled families through developing livelihoods (agriculture, fisheries), community infrastructure (primary health centres, pre-schools, common water facilities, community centres, etc).