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.