Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is largely a low-lying island of 19 million people. Its high population density has put great pressure on the environment. Land degradation, depletion of water resources, deterioration of coastal habitats, and pollution  all have a significant impact on the economy and people’s lives.

While progressing well in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the country has suffered over 20 years of political turmoil and internal conflict with many still living below the national poverty line. Those in the northeast have particularly suffered from both the continuing wars and the devastating effects of the 2004 tsunami.

The EU has allocated €112 million to meeting the development targets outlined in the EU-Sri Lanka Country Strategy Paper (2007-13).

The strategy envisages several scenarios from high-intensity conflict, to peace. EU cooperation is providing support for integrated development at district level in the poorest areas of the north and east – who suffered the most from conflict – to help restore livelihoods. Thematic support is also offered in the areas of human rights, good government and rule of law.



Key country statistics

  • Total population (2015): 20 715 000
  • Life expectancy (at birth) (2015): 71 years (male), 78 years (female)
  • Human Development Index - High human development (2014): 0.757
  • Population living below $1.90 a day (2012): 1.7%
  • Income share held by lowest 40% of income distribution (2012): 18.3%
  • Lower middle income country - Gross National Income per capita (2005): 1 227 US$ (constant 2005 US$)
  • Average Gross Domestic Product growth over 5 years (2010-2014): 7.5%

Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015

Inclusive Growth and poverty reduction

  • 17 000 displaced persons returning to northern and eastern districts moved to permanent housing. This included 630 female headed households and 365 households with persons with disabilities
  • 47 000 people were provided with improved access to community infrastructures such as community and tube wells, water tanks and rural roads

Agriculture and Food Security

  • 1 600 hectares of agricultural land in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts were improved for production of paddy and other field crops
  • 1 800 farmers (300 women and 1 500 men) in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts were trained in irrigation management
  • 990 cultivators in Batticaloa, Kilinochchi and Mannar districts were trained in improved crop management
  • 360 potential and existing livestock producers were trained in improved livestock and grassland management
  • 190 aqua culturists were trained in aquaculture methods
  • 800 members of community-based agricultural organisations in the Northern Province -most of them self-employed- trained in book-keeping and finance management
  • 440 hectares of agricultural land in the Northern Province returned to arable use after rehabilitation of irrigation channels and wells
  • 2 200 farmers attended farmer field schools on rice and horticulture with the aim of increasing knowledge of sustainable agricultural methods


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