(PRESS RELEASE) – Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Canada and Her Excellency Shelley Whiting, Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka together with Lovita Ramguttee, UNDP Sri Lanka Deputy Country Director, visited a UNDP project site recently in Jaffna.
During the Honorable Foreign Minister’s visit to Jaffna as part of his mission to Sri Lanka, at a ceremony held on the 29 July 2016, the Hon. Foreign Minister and the rest of the delegation inaugurated the ‘Siddha Medicine Production Sales and Service Cooperative Society (COPHARM) Ltd’., which is the only Cooperative Society operational in Jaffna which upholds traditional siddha practices. Presently, the operations of COPHARM is reaching over 1000 direct beneficiaries and over 3000 of indirect beneficiaries in the Jaffna Peninsula and other parts of the country.
Speaking at the inauguration, the Hon. Stéphane Dion stated, “Canada believes that through this newly opened Siddha Medicine Center, the members of the Cooperative can make a difference by upholding indigenous medicinal traditions, providing quality Siddha medicine and sharing best practices to meet the growing demand. We see a great potential for this Center and for its members. Canada is therefore happy to be assisting this Center with UNDP.”
COPHARM is one of many Cooperatives supported by UNDP through funding from the Government of Canada under the ‘Agro-Economic Development Project’ (ADP). The Government of Canada, under a financial envelope of 6 Million Canadian Dollars, has partnered with two UN agencies – namely the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – to strengthen agro economic sector in the North of Sri Lanka, under the ADP, which will benefit over 22,000 households across the Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts.
Speaking about UNDP’s collaboration with the Government of Canada, Lovita Ramguttee, stated, “As a key development partner working for five decades in Sri Lanka and beyond, UNDP remains committed to assist the people of Sri Lanka to achieve sustainable human development. We can only do so with the continued support of our partners and therefore look forward to continued partnership with Canada, and other partners on supporting resettlement, livelihood, a more inclusive development and women’s economic empowerment in the Northern Province.”
The Canadian Government continues to have a strong and longstanding partnership with the United Nations and is the third largest donor of UNDP Sri Lanka.