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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Monday, March 27, 2006

UNDP released People's Consultation Report on Post-tsunami Recovery

Asian Tribune: 14/03/2006"

Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse on Monday, formally received the final report on Peoples' Consultations prepared after extensive discussions with those affected by the December 2004 Tsunami.

The peoples' consultations were the first of its kind conducted in Sri Lanka to ascertain the needs and interests of tsunami-affected people with regard to their resettlement within their communities. The final report of the consultations is available in all three languages and is being disseminated widely.

Consultations were also carried-out with local authorities, INGOs, NGOs and Community Based Organizations in the affected-districts to ascertain their needs and challenges with regard to tsunami recovery.

The Chairman of the Disaster Relief Monitoring Unit [DMRU] Lionel Fernando, UNDP’s Resident Representative Miguel Bermeo and senior UNDP officials were at Temple Trees yesterday morning for the handover ceremony.

President Rajapakse while appreciating the ‘report’ said he believed in a bottom-up approach in the delivering the needs of the people. He stressed the importance of his policy of empowering and involving the Government Agents and AGAs in the country’s tsunami recovery effort.

The Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe and the Ambassadors of Germany and Norway, the two countries which funded the project were also present.

This comprehensive report on People’s Consultation was a collaborative effort of the Disaster Relief Monitoring Unit (DRMU) of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) of Sri Lanka, and University of Colombo and with the patronage of the Task Force for Rebuilding the Nation (TAFREN) supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

When clarifying about the consultation process undertaken in the preparation of the report it was revealed as follows :

The peoples' consultations were the first of its kind conducted in Sri Lanka to ascertain the needs and interests of tsunami-affected people with regard to their resettlement within their communities. The final report of the consultations is available in all three languages and is being disseminated widely.

The consultations were done over a three month period from July 2005 and covered over 800 Grama Niladari (GN) Divisions in over 1100 villages in 13 tsunami-affected districts.

In each village, 15-20 representatives chosen by the villagers themselves gathered in a local community-hall, school, temple or garden to discuss their needs, challenges and ideas about tsunami reconstruction. Representatives from the Human Rights Commission and TAFREN also made use of these meetings to share information and keep the participants informed about the rights and entitlements of the affected communities' and State policies .

Consultations were also carried-out with local authorities, INGOs, NGOs and Community Based Organizations in the affected-districts to ascertain their needs and challenges with regard to tsunami recovery.

The findings from the consultations were made available to relevant stakeholders at local government level such as Government Agents, Divisional Secretaries, and Village Heads etc.

Based on the consultations, UNDP commissioned the University of Colombo to develop a substantive analysis of the findings, through further research and discussion with the communities and authorities and to make area-specific recommendations on issues such as livelihood recovery, housing, education, health, environmental and socio-cultural dynamics.

The UNDP also commissioned the University to conduct a vulnerability mapping of the tsunami-affected districts with the aim of identifying the most vulnerable and marginalized communities in these districts. Both reports are being disseminated to the various stakeholders.

The Disaster Relief Monitoring Unit of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) of Sri Lanka is partnering with UNDP to establish Help-Desks in the affected districts, to respond to the human rights needs of tsunami-affected populations. These help-desks will operate a complaints system for tsunami-related human rights violations; increase awareness among tsunami-affected persons on their rights and entitlements; and increase awareness of local authorities, INGOs, NGOs and CBOs on human rights.

UNDP is supportive of the Government’s efforts to strengthen the human rights dimensions of tsunami recovery in Sri Lanka through institutions such as RADA, the Ministries of Disaster Management and Human Rights.


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