2016 marks an important year for the United Nations Development Programme as it marks fifty years of UNDP working on the global frontlines of development, advocating for change and connecting countries to the knowledge, experience, and resources needed to help people build better lives.
The world has changed immeasurably over the years, and UNDP has changed with it. But the core mission of UNDP remains relevant– that is, to support countries to eradicate poverty whist simultaneously reducing inequality and exclusion to protect both people and the planet. As UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark stated earlier this year, “We are not what we were in 1966. What we are today, is not what we will be in 2030. But we will still be there, and we will still be relevant.”
UNDP was established in Sri Lanka in 1967 and 2017 marks fifty years of working closely with the Government at national, regional and local levels, along with the civil society and private sector on areas such as poverty reduction, democratic governance, crisis prevention and recovery, environmental sustainability, and Youth and Innovation.
To celebrate both milestones, UNDP in Sri Lanka launched a year-long campaign under the theme ‘Shared Goals. Shared Prosperity’ to mark UNDP’s 50 Year journey in Sri Lanka and Beyond. This was launched at an event held recently with the Hon. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Harsha De Silva and, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Una McCauley.
As the development arm of the UN, since 1967, UNDP Sri Lanka has supported the Mahaweli Development Project, the establishment of the Open University of Sri Lanka, the National Teacher Training College and the Technical College at the University of Moratuwa to name a few. UNDP has also supported the Government in post-tsunami and post-war recovery and reconciliation through several of its programmes together with international and national partners. These are just a few of the many success stories of UNDP Sri Lanka.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Harsha De Silva stated, ‘UNDP has assisted this country’s development from the day they partnered with the Government. In comparison with other developing countries, Sri Lanka has done extremely well in its human development indices and iIn that journey, UNDP has helped us. We look forward to strengthening that relationship and working together to create a sustainable and peaceful nation that is based on equal rights giving recognition for everybody as an equal citizen in this country’.
UNDP is present in some 170 countries and territories around the world, working with the overarching goal of empowering lives and building resilient nations. In Sri Lanka, UNDP is proud to have worked with the people of Sri Lanka for nearly five decades, and is now, together with rest of the UN Family, focused on helping the country achieve sustainable human development in line with the 2030 Development Agenda. UNDP, a development partner of choice, remains committed to connect global expertise and knowledge networks, and remains relevant and available to provide assistance and technical expertise to the Government of Sri Lanka and other development practitioners, to help build a sustainable country.
The 50-year journey would not be possible without the support of the Government and the People of Sri Lanka. It is this partnership that highlights the ‘shared goals’ that both UNDP and the Government have in achieving sustainable human development as a country. The lotus flower on the logo represents ‘prosperity’ in Sri Lanka and this is the hope of UNDP – that Sri Lanka can reach ‘shared prosperity’ and ensure no one gets left behind.
As UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Una McCauley stated, “As we begin the next chapter of UNDP Sri Lanka we look forward to the support from each and every one, as we embark on this collective journey – a journey of ‘Shared Goals’ and ‘Shared Prosperity’ for Sri Lanka and Beyond.” (Media Release)