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Speeches & Transcripts August 21, 2020

Breakthrough ceremony of New Mutwal Storm Water Drainage Tunnel Colombo, Sri Lanka

Honorable State Minister of Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal and Public Sanitization​ , Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

It is an honor to be here this morning at the breakthrough ceremony of New Mutwal tunnel.  The World Bank is proud to be associated with this project and of our support for making Colombo a more prosperous and livable city.

I would like to express my gratitude to the hard work that the Ministry team has done to reach this milestone despite the challenges that we are facing due to Covid-19 pandemic.

This project is an example of the long and productive partnership between the Government of Sri Lanka and the World Bank.

For Colombo to continue to prosper and provide good living conditions for its residents requires improved management of floods.  

The MCUDP is financing large and complex flood management investments across the city. This infrastructure includes a network of pumping stations, canal bank protection, and drainage tunnels – such as Mutwal where we are gathered today. Some highlights include:

·   The completion of over 20 sub-projects to improve drainage capacity and canals, and reduce risks of localized flooding;

·   Building and rehabilitating approximately 45 kilometers of roads including improving Galle and Duplication Roads;

·   Designed and opened Colombo’s first urban wetland park at Bedeganna and securing legal protection of remaining wetlands in the Colombo Metropolitan Area and making Colombo the first South Asian Ramsar accredited wetland city;

On-going 10 sub-projects to be completed in the coming months, which include large pumping stations; Ambatale, North Lock, and St Sebastian South and this tunnel contract.

Together these projects will help to reduce flooding in Colombo. These investments are needed more than ever as the world faces the consequences of climate change, as weather patterns turn unpredictable and we face more and more natural disasters, the only way forward is to build the resilience of a country, it cities and its people.

That is what we aim to do, for which we will continue to proudly partner with the Government of Sri Lanka.

Thank you, and my very best wishes.