The strategic developments leading Sri Lanka to the way of progress

By Ali Husnain
Sri Lanka is a lower-middle-income country that is currently experiencing an economic crisis that threatens to erode decades of development achievements, including in poverty reduction, and considerable progress made towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Despite its impressive human development indicators, increased focus is needed to address food insecurity and malnutrition, increase women’s labor force participation and reduce inequality.
The demographic changes those happened in Sri Lanka were being expected to affect Sri Lanka’s health and social welfare systems in the medium term and they did as well. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs predicted that by 2030 one in every five people in Sri Lanka will be age 60 or older. The ongoing economic crisis have exacerbated gender inequality and worsened power imbalances, which are likely to increase as the economy continues to contract. Only 32 percent of women are economically active, compared to 72 percent of men. This inequality stems from the unequal care burden on women, which is four times higher than a man living in Sri Lanka. Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission The economic, social and health impacts of compounded vulnerabilities and risks disproportionately affect rural women, hampering their economic empowerment, food and nutrition security and the realization of their human rights.
The country strategic plan for 2023–2027 seeks to provide protective food assistance and other support as required in the short term and to restore and improve food security and nutrition by developing in-country capacity and reducing vulnerability through an integrated resilience and nutrition-sensitive approach that layers and sequences programming. The plan embodies the humanitarian development peace nexus by enabling the Government to establish stronger systems that reduce the impact of shocks while fostering gender equality, increasing the population’s ability to recover and ensuring lasting peace. The country strategic plan seeks to address immediate and medium to long term needs through a systems approach to capacity strengthening. Leveraging its comparative advantages in Sri Lanka, WFP will deliver four outcomes such as vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka meet their food, nutrition and other essential needs during and after crises. Targeted groups in Sri Lanka have improved nutrition from strengthened nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific programmes focusing on, in particular, the first 8,000 days of life. Communities in Sri Lanka have strengthened resilience and reduced vulnerability to natural hazards, climate change and other risks with improved sustainability of livelihoods And By 2027, national and sub-national institutions and stakeholders in Sri Lanka have enhanced capacity to enable adaptive and resilient food systems to improve food security and nutrition. The country strategic plan, developed in consultation with the Government and other stakeholders, is strategically aligned with the national policy framework, the United Nations sustainable development cooperation framework for 2023–2027 for Sri Lanka and the WFP strategic plan for 2022–2025. It is informed by contextual, gender and gap analyses, especially the 2021 United Nations common country analysis.

Moreover, the ruling parties and successive governments have subscribed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) feature prominently in Sri Lanka’s national development strategies. In 2017 the Sustainable Development Council was established to coordinate, facilitate, monitor, evaluate and report on the implementation of the SDGs in Sri Lanka. The country presented its first voluntary national review of its progress towards the SDGs in 2018 and the second in July 2022. According to the 2021 Sustainable Development Report and before the current crisis, Sri Lanka ranked 87 of 165 countries on the SDG Index, with a score of 68. The study reports ongoing yet uneven progress towards the SDGs, which is slowest in the areas of nutrition (SDG 2), female labour force participation (SDG 5) and equality (SDG 10) Sustainable food systems. To increase the availability of nutritious food, the Government is encouraging farmers to increase their productivity. 2018 has filled the Nutrient Gap study highlighted that 20 percent of households were unable to afford a minimum nutritious diet, with higher percentages reported in the estate sector Capacity strengthening. The Government has started to reform the social protection system, moving towards a modern, adaptive and unified system with less fragmentation and better coordination between ministries.
Moreover, the proposed new agriculture policy is seen as a way to achieve the policy Coherence needed to transform the national food system. However, policies related to food security continue to be fragmented. Similar challenges exist in relation to climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and social protection. Debt servicing has come at the expense of investment in social programmes, and official development assistance has been declining. Public–private partnerships have mostly focused on infrastructure development projects; however, they could be used to fund socioeconomic programmes. The United Nations food systems summit offered an opportunity in 2021 to renew partnerships on food security and climate resilience. The Government reaffirmed its commitment to addressing food insecurity and under nutrition at the 2021 Nutrition for Growth Summit 26 and in 2022 pledged its commitment to the global school meals coalition established at the food systems summit. Sri Lanka presented.
Government committed to reducing household food insecurity by 50 percent from the 2009 baseline; the Government also committed to reducing the prevalence of low birth weight to 12.5 percent, the prevalence of wasting to less than 5 percent and the prevalence of stunting to 10.8 percent by 2025.
Sri Lanka which is considered as low class state and underdeveloped drowned in the crises will rise up soon in the developmental stages as it has planned to work on sustainable development goals with strong determination. The internal developmental strategies have also boosted up its progress in the way of light extracting it out from the darkness.

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