‘More than 30 per cent of Lankan population living in absolute poverty’

More than 30 percent of Sri Lanka’s  population live in absolute poverty and private -public partnerships could  help reduce this number to a great extent, Additional Secretary, Presidential Sustainable Development initiative Jayantha Wijeratne said.

” Sri Lanka has initiated several poverty eradication projects since independence and those projects have done a lot to reduce poverty levels but we have to do a lot more to reduce the poverty level overall  because more than 30 percent of the total population lives in absolute poverty, he said at an event yesterday where Unilever Sri Lanka, the United Nations Development Programme  (UNDP) Sri Lanka and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Sri Lanka announced the initiation of a strategic Public Private Partnership (PPP) around the country’s key priorities related to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The project is supported by Aitken Spence, MAS Holdings, Commercial  Bank and Dialog Axiaita. The event was held at Jetwing Colombo Seven.

Wijeratne said that President Maithripala Sirisena took the initiative to reduce the poverty level in Sri Lanka through various long term sustainable development projects targeting key areas. Out of 320 Divisional Secretariat divisions, 1000 Grama Niladari (GN)  divisions were selected for the programme.

“Of the 1000 GN divisions, 700 are blow the poverty level, from Killinochchi, Mullaitivu, Badulla and several other districts in the country, while the balance 300 have the potential for development as important economic centers, Wijeratne said.

He said while the government continues to work towards bringing about sustainable development  the people have to understand that this cannot be done without the involvement and support of the private sector and all other stakeholders.

He stressed the importance of public- private partnerships to achieve economic growth to eradicate poverty in the country in the medium to long term perspectives.

UNDP Sri Lanka Country Director Jorn Sorensen said that this is the start of a new movement by  connecting business with government and development partners.

” We can create an environment that unleashes the potential of the private sector because investing in sustainable development is a win-win, ‘ he said.

‘The private sector is an important strategic partner for UNDP in achieving its vision  to help countries eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities and exclusion  within broader sustainable development, Sorensen said.

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