The World Bank Group supports Sri Lanka’s efforts to meet its development goals. Highlights include:
The World Bank is helping the development of human capital across all levels of education and training. The Sri Lanka Early Childhood Development (ECD) Project is supporting children from disadvantaged households to access early childhood development and foundational learning opportunities. The General Education Modernization (GEM) project, seeks to promote learning outcomes in English and Mathematics, develop the socio-emotional skills of students, and enhance teacher performance. The Accelerating Higher Education Expansion and Development (AHEAD) is helping increase enrollment in priority disciplines for economic development, improve the labor market of degree programs, and promote research and development and innovations for economic growth. Support from the Bank’s existing education projects is currently being finalized to provide school meals and tuition waivers for preschool children from vulnerable households as a response to Sri Lanka’s economic crisis.
- About 1.5 million children, half of whom are girls, have benefitted directly from the ECD Project, along with teachers, parents, community members, and government officials.
- About 1.3 million school children, half of whom are girls, have directly benefitted from the GEM project direct interventions to enhance learning.
- Approximately 70,000 university students have benefited from direct interventions supported by the AHEAD project to enhance learning. Around 60 percent of these students are female.
Link to Results Brief
The Bank’s US$200 million commitment in Primary Healthcare System Strengthening Project supports the increased utilization and quality of primary healthcare services, with an emphasis on the detection and management of Non-Communicable Diseases in high-risk population groups. The Sri Lanka COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project (ERHSP) has been supporting the government’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis. The project mainly focuses on strengthening the capacity of national and sub-national institutions to address immediate needs and equip them to handle future public health emergencies, and social measures through the provision of scaled-up cash and in-kind transfers for the elderly, persons with disabilities and patients with chronic kidney disease from low-income households in response to COVID-19. An additional financing of $267.7 million, were approved in 2021 to provide scaled-up social protection measures to vulnerable communities, and to support vaccine procurement and deployment, including the purchase of Pfizer vaccines to achieve the planned coverage in Sri Lanka.
A further US$21.6 million has been disbursed to the Ministry of Health as a response to Sri Lanka’s economic crisis to support the purchase of essential medicines, medical supplies, and nutritional supplements urgently needed to strengthen health resources.
- US$21.6 million medicines and medical supplies distributed to all public hospitals at no cost, based on need, estimations, and disease patterns to ensure sufficient supplies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and other life-threatening diseases during the economic crisis.
- As of January 2022, the Primary Healthcare System Strengthening project had strengthened 139 Primary Medical Care Institutions (PMCIs) across the country improving the accessibility and quality of services.
- In recent years, substantial analytical work has informed government policies. This includes an assessment of the system for financing health care and the impact COVID-19 has had on health financing, human capital development, and an assessment on the pandemic preparedness of the health system.
- The project has supported the national non-communicable diseases program to digitize the information system at healthy lifestyle centers in the country.
Link to Results Brief
The World Bank is playing a pivotal role in the reform of Sri Lanka’s social safety net through the $75 million IDA-financed Social Safety Nets Project. The project is developing an Integrated Welfare Management System (IWMS), a central online portal that will serve as a “one-stop shop” for Sri Lanka’s welfare programs. The new IWMS will generate information that can be used to better identify and deliver the support for households, reduce overlaps, and eliminate leakages in welfare programs. The Project has also supported drafting the National Social Protection Strategy and the Graduation Strategy.
Further, in the backdrop of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis the World Bank is supporting Government to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable people receive adequate support. Under the Bank’s Contingent Emergency Response Component (CERC) US$145 million has been provided to increase the real income of the poor and vulnerable households heavily impacted by the economic crisis.
- Over 3.1 million beneficiaries of country’s main social assistance cash transfer programs (Samurdhi, Chronic Kidney Disease patients’ allowance, Elderly allowance, and Disability allowance) provided cash transfers for three months (May-July) to mitigate the impacts of the economic crisis.
- Development of an active Social Registry Information System, populated with approximately 2.5 million households. The data is currently being updated.
Around 80 percent of agricultural land is under smallholder production, with around 1.65 million smallholder farmers operating on less than 2 hectares each with limited opportunities to diversify into higher-value products. The World Bank program responds to these challenges by addressing long-standing issues around productivity, private investment, value chains, policy reform, ensuring food security and building climate resilience. A core principle of the program is private sector-led smallholder agricultural transformation, supporting public institutions to create the necessary conditions, stimulating private finance, and enhancing sustainability of solutions.
The Agriculture Sector Modernization Project (ASMP) is connecting smallholder farmers to markets through the introduction of modern technologies and business models that strengthen value chain linkages. With additional finance from the European Union, ASPM is scaling-up its work with farmer clusters in five new districts. These investments are generating increased farmer incomes, new jobs, and export revenue that are important for crisis response in the short-run and for long-term economic recovery.
The Climate Smart Irrigated Agriculture Project (CSIAP) is introducing new approaches to the rehabilitation and management of traditional irrigation tanks and tank cascades including farm-level improvements that raise smallholder productivity, market participation, and climate resilience. To help mitigate the economic crisis, CSIAP is rapidly scaling up support for CSA practices such as nutrition sensitive homestead gardens.
- ASMP matching grants and farmer demonstrations have so far generated around US$141 million in new export earnings and at least US$8.6 million in foreign exchange savings from import substitution.
- From every rupee invested in ASMP matching grants, the project has mobilized an additional two rupees in private development finance that is helping Government to maximize finance for development.
- Through uptake of climate smart agriculture technologies, smallholder in CSIAP hotspot areas recorded a 13 percent improvement in income during COVID-19 lockdowns compared to a 19 percent drop for households not participating in the project.
Link to Results Brief
Climate change and Disaster Risk Management
The annual average fiscal loss associated with disasters in Sri Lanka, floods, droughts, landslides, storm surges, and cyclones, is estimated to be more than US$380 million. Climate change is further aggravating disaster risks, particularly flooding, rain triggered landslides, and coastal inundation. Significant modification of strategies, infrastructure, systems, and practices will be needed to withstand the effects of climate change and multiple natural and man-made hazards; COVID-19 pandemic, marine hazards and the ongoing economic crisis. The World Bank program in Sri Lanka responds to these challenges by improving government capacity for early warning and disaster response, as well as planning and implementation of mitigation and adaptation measures.
The Sri Lanka Climate Change Action Plan in the South Asia Climate Roadmap 2021-2025 identifies four priority areas for advancing climate change action in Sri Lanka: i) Infrastructure Resilience; ii) Integrated Landscape Management for Agriculture, iii) Water Resources, and Forests; and iv) Clean Energy and Resilient Livelihoods.
The Climate Resilience Multi Phase Program (CRes MPA) intends to support a more strategic approach to medium and long-term climate resilience challenges by improving warnings of high impact weather, hydrological hazards and develop multipurpose water infrastructure for climate resilience. This three-phase program focuses on enhancing the capacity of the Government to deliver improved weather and climate forecasting and early warning; and to reduce flood risks in the lower Kelani basin (between Hanwella and Kaduwela).
- The $152m IDA financed Climate Resilience Improvement Project (CRIP) benefitted 11.5 million people in 22 out of 25 districts in Sri Lanka. The project’s irrigation rehabilitation efforts alone benefited 216,933 farming families served by 172,491 ha in 11 districts.
- CRIP improved resilience of communities and assets though rehabilitation and improvement of 38 bridges, 640 culverts and small bridges, 2,448 km of highways, and 154.95 km of provincial roads, including landslide and rockfall locations, rural roads and bridges which restored the transport connectivity of 1,799,000 people.
- Additionally, the project supported school safety interventions for 28,801 students and approximately 500 staff in 18 schools in the Central Province by mitigating landslide risks in targeted high-risk schools.
- The multi-hazard early warning system of CRes MPA program under development, has been adapted to include warnings for biological threats similar to the COVID-19 Pandemic and marine hazards. The project will continue to adapt to enhance economic performance post-COVID-19 through enhanced meteorological services for building climate and economic resilience in Sri Lanka.
Water touches every aspect of development and links with nearly every Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Through three inter-related pillars of sustaining water resources, delivering services, and building resilience, the World Bank has played a key role in Sri Lanka’s water security. The Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project provides over US$200 million to increase access to piped water services and improved sanitation to underserved households urban, rural and plantation areas. The Integrated Watershed and Water Resources Management Project provides over US$65 million to improve the safety of dams and irrigation functionality and improve Sri Lanka’s water management institutions.
- 560,000 poorest people in urban, rural and estate areas in seven districts directly benefited from access to improved water sources and sanitation under the Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project.
- 136,292 people received training on water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
- 41 schools, four public institutions and seven convenience centers provided with flush toilets and handwashing facilities, where such facilities were previously inadequate. These sanitation facilities support girls' school attendance through access to facilities which provide dignity, safety and comfort for menstrual hygiene management.
- Construction of 24,048 toilets for households with persons of special needs, female-headed households and vulnerable households in plantation estates through demand-driven grants. These households previously shared unsanitary facilities or did not use a toilet at all.
- 27 laboratories at water treatment plants and two mobile laboratories equipped with over 200 water quality testing kits and training to support Community-Based Organizations (CBOs). These mobile labs have been instrumental in addressing poor quality of drinking water and have facilitated water testing at over 1,200 CBO-managed water systems in rural Sri Lanka.
Link to Results Brief and Blog
The World Bank is improving accessibility and connectivity to social and economic opportunities, especially for the poor and vulnerable in remote areas of the country by providing safe and resilient road and public transport infrastructure and creating employment opportunities. The Inclusive Connectivity and Development Project for Sri Lanka aims to provide safe, efficient, and climate resilient connectivity and strengthen agricultural supply chains to empower project communities in selected districts of Sri Lanka. The Transport Connectivity and Asset Management Project (TCAMP) is supporting the Government of Sri Lanka’s efforts to strengthen road asset management at the national level and improve provincial roads in all the nine provinces of the country. The project is supporting the operationalization of the Sri Lanka Road Asset Management System (SLRAMS) and will sustain the investments by strengthening institutional capacities for better asset management and integrated urban transport planning.
- Sri Lanka Road Asset Management System (SLRAMS) operationalized at the Road Development Authority (RDA) which will ensure the best use of scarce resources in road investments and reduce costs for planning, developing and maintaining roads.
- Around 200kms of provincial roads rehabilitated across the country improving assess and connectivity to social and economic opportunities.
- Over 30,000 people in the Western and Southern provinces alone are estimated to have benefited from the road improvements in FY21.
- Around 1000km of rural roads have been identified under the Inclusive Connectivity and Development Project, for rehabilitation to improve safety, resilience and connectivity.
Last Updated: Oct 06, 2022