Diplomacy: US to Spend 1.92 Billion to Strengthen the Sri Lankan Parliament

( November 25, 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched today a Rs. 1.92 billion (USD$13 million) partnership with the Parliament of Sri Lanka to strengthen accountability and democratic governance in Sri Lanka.

“This project broadens our support to the independent commissions, Ministries, and provincial and local levels of government,” said USAID Mission Director Andrew Sisson at the launch ceremony. “As always, we will support equal participation by men and women, as well as underrepresented groups in politics and leadership.”

This three-year Strengthening Democratic Governance and Accountability Project (SDGAP) aims to improve strategic planning and communication within government and Parliament, enhance public outreach, develop more effective policy reform and implementation processes, and increase political participation of women and underrepresented groups in Parliament and at local levels.

Sisson also congratulated the Parliament on becoming the newest member of the United States’ House Democracy Partnership program which supports peer-to-peer exchanges for partner legislatures around the world.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya (L) Speaks With USAID Mission Director Andrew Sisson (Center) and Danielle Reiff (R), USAID Office Director for Governance and Vulnerable Populations
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya (L) Speaks With USAID Mission Director Andrew Sisson (Center) and Danielle Reiff (R), USAID Office Director for Governance and Vulnerable Populations

The Speaker Karu Jayasuriya chaired the launch and brought together key Parliamentary members and staff, including Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Members of Parliament, Chairs of the Sectoral Oversight Committees, Chairs of Independent Commissions, and multilateral and bilateral donors.

SDGAP builds upon the success of USAID’s recent collaboration with Parliamentary staff to strengthen capacity, knowledge base, and procedures. Highlights of that recently-completed project include supporting the capacity building of the new Sectoral Oversight Committees and staff, and updates to the Parliament’s Standing Orders.

Since 1956, the U.S. government has invested over $2 billion in the areas of agricultural and enterprise development, environment and natural resources, education, health, good governance, and humanitarian assistance to benefit all the people of Sri Lanka.

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