Ottawa, ON. August 2, 2005 - Canadian municipalities will soon begin helping communities in Sri Lanka rebuild in the wake of last December's tsunami.
The $9-million project, sponsored jointly by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), has been approved by the Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable Aileen Carroll.
The Government of Canada committed $425 million over five-years to support relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction efforts following the tsunami. Canada has already disbursed $166 million, about 40 per cent of the funds it committed to tsunami relief. With the transition from relief to reconstruction, Canada has approved 15 reconstruction initiatives totalling$72.1 million.
FCM, which has been working with CIDA to develop tsunami reconstruction projects in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, plans to use the municipal-to-municipal partnerships that have proven effective in other countries. These will be strengthened with additional technical assistance structured around the core partnerships.
"Partnership with FCM in the tsunami reconstruction process is an important aspect of Canada's response," said Carroll. "This comprehensive and sustainable initiative will enable Sri Lankans affected by the tsunami to benefit from improved municipal services, bringing reconstruction efforts a step forward."
The Sri Lanka project, scheduled to start in September, involves technical assistance by Canadian municipal experts and two funds, both linked to priorities set by the Sri Lankan municipalities.
A community support fund will be established in each municipality to support small ($20,000 to $30,000), locally identified projects managed by a committee of local leaders. A municipal strategic fund, guided by a program-wide steering committee, will finance projects up to $100,000. This fund will respond primarily to proposals from the Sri Lankan partners. It will also include a smaller matching-fund mechanism accessible by Canadian municipalities to support Canadian community initiatives in Sri Lanka that are consistent with the program's objectives.
"Canadian municipalities want to help," said Sebastien Hamel, Regional Manager for Asia for FCM's International Centre for Municipal Development. "The CIDA funding will give us the opportunity to provide focused technical assistance responding to local Sri Lankan reconstruction priorities, by drawing on the commitment and resources of our members and their communities."
For more information: Barbara Brook, 613.241.5221 ext. 315