February 21, 2011
Participants at the workshop
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) together with the District Secretariat of Jaffna recently hosted a workshop titled, "Workshop for Development in Jaffna district" providing over 100 stakeholders from the government, private sector, international community and civil society with an opportunity to contribute to the development of a holistic plan to further assist reconstruction and development activities in the district, in northern Sri Lanka.
The participants at the workshop built on an initial outline of the plan, drafted by stakeholders based on feedback gathered during workshops, lessons learnt from pilot projects, and information and statistics collected during field visits.
Once finalized in August 2011, the plan is expected to serve as a practical and effective tool in guiding and directing further reconstruction and future development initiatives in the district.
"Various agencies are implementing a number of development and rehabilitation projects in the district. Weekly coordination meetings are held to review available resources, prioritize needs, identify sectors that need immediate attention and strengthen assistance to resettling and resettled communities. However, there was a need to organize a forum at regional level with the participation of all stakeholders. We therefore requested JICA to organize this event. This is also the first such event held in Jaffna for implementing partners after I took up post in July 2010",said Ms Emelda Sukumar, Government Agent of the Jaffna district.
Participants at the workshop in groups, discussed short, mid and long term strategies, targets and goals in recovering agricultural production levels (vegetable, fruits, paddy, coconut, cashew, palmyrah and other food crops) and the fisheries sector, developing manufacturing industries and empowering communities in the district.
"There was intensive and productive participation at the workshop and this has given us an opportunity to learn about challenges at divisional and regional levels. I hope that the donor community will come forward with support aligned with Sri Lanka's requirements and act strategically once the plan is translated into action", said Ms Manisha Gunasekera, Director General, Ministry of Economic Development speaking at the workshop.
Highlights from the recommendations proposed at the workshop include:
The draft outline for Jaffna’s agricultural sector included vegetables and fruits production in highland, lowland paddy production, sandy soil agriculture at outlying islands and coastal areas, and livestock production. The recommendations proposed by the groups are as follows:
The participants identified the following among other immediate, mid and long term recommendations in Jaffna's fishing industry which consists of coastal and off shore fishing and aquaculture.
Under this, priority was given to agro, construction and lightmetal industries during discussions. Main recommendations included:
The participants affirmed that all projects focusing on improving living standards of the community should be formulated and afterwards implemented with a community approach, and that stakeholders should make efforts to ensure all community development projects lead towards strengthening of civil society, good governance and democracy at all levels.
The Director General of the Economic Development Ministry, The Government Agent of Jaffna, Representatives from Government ministries, departments and corporations, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and international organizations, academia and the media participated at this event.
Participants during work group discussions