Norwegian ambassador assures continuous assistance to Sri Lanka
Although Norway will close down its embassy in Colombo next year, the development assistance under NORAD and NorFund and other forms of aid will continue, Norwegian Ambassador Trine Jøranli Eskedal assured Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.
The Norwegian Ambassador had called on PM Dinesh Gunawardena at the Prime Minister’s Office recently.
The Prime Minister thanked the envoy for Norwegian support to Sri Lanka for a period of over 60 years, which began in the 1960s through NGO cooperation in the fisheries sector.
In 1976, Norway initiated a government-to-government development cooperation in which an integrated rural development programme in the southern district of Hambantota became the flagship.
Ambassador Eskedal said the NorFund would provide more assistance once further collaborative programmes have been worked out.
An estimate of the Private Sector Development (PSD) portfolio in Sri Lanka indicates an average grant funding of about NOK 25 million per annum during the 2000s, or about 10-15% of the total Norwegian development assistance during the period.
The Prime Minister urged Norway to consider investments in fisheries, renewable energy and agriculture in addition to the information technology and marine and ocean sciences.
The Norwegian Government is providing Norwegian Krone NOK 13 million or US$ 1.3 million (Rs. 490 million) to the World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Sri Lanka.
This financial aid goven to the country to address food, nutrition and protection needs of the most vulnerable children and women.
. Norwegian support and assistance to Sri Lanka started in 1965. In total Norway has contributed
in a statement issued from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, a spokesman of the ministry said, ‘he is concerned about the food and nutrition crisis Sri Lanka is now witnessing.
The grave humanitarian situation is having a severe impact on women and children.
‘The UN fears that the situation could deteriorate due to failed harvests and the ongoing economic and political crisis in the country, and could evolve into a full-scale humanitarian crisis.
Unless rapid action is taken, the situation could become even worse in the coming months. In light of this, the UN has developed a humanitarian response plan.
Norway will provide NOK 5 million to WFP, targeted towards vulnerable groups. Additionally, NOK 5 million and NOK 3 million will be provided to UNICEF and UNFPA, respectively, for their work to protect children and women.
Norway gives priority to providing protection for children and combating sexual and gender-based violence. These efforts are sorely needed in Sri Lanka to prevent the situation from deteriorating further