30 August 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Today, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) strengthened its partnership with the Government of Sri Lanka by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Housing and Construction. Mrs. W.K.K Athukorala, Secretary Ministry of Housing and Construction, signed the MoU on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka while Mr. Srinivasa Popuri, Senior Human Settlements Officer, UN-Habitat, Regional Office for Asia and Pacific, signed on behalf of UN-Habitat.
The signing ceremony was held in the presence of Mr.Chanaka Talpahewa, Country Programme Manager and Mr Tim McNair, Chief Technical Advisor of UN-Habitat Sri Lanka along with senior officials from the Ministry of Housing and Construction.
UN-Habitat has a long history of cooperation with the Government of Sri Lanka dating back to 1978 with the Ministry of Housing and Construction. Major initiatives supported by UN-Habitat include assistance to the preparation of the Master Plan for Colombo, the Government’s Million Houses Programme and community based methodologies for housing.
Mrs. W.K.K Athukorala, Secretary Ministry of Housing and Construction, stated “today is an important day as it represents another major milestone in our collaboration with UN-Habitat to promote socially and environmentally sustainable settlements with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all”.
Thanking the Government of Sri Lanka for the trust and the partnership conferred upon UN-Habitat for the past three decades, Mr.Popuri, Senior Human Settlements Officer of UN-Habitat, recalled the Government of Sri Lanka’s pioneering leadership in the ‘People’s Housing’ campaign following the first United Nations World Conference on Housing and Human Settlements Issues (HABITAT I) in Vancouver, Canada in 1976. “UN-Habitat, as a specialized UN agency with a mandate to assist world governments on sustainable urbanization and human settlements, is strengthening its partnership with the Government of Sri Lanka to provide further support on issues related to housing and urbanization in the country” he stated.
The signing of the MoU will further strengthen the close collaboration between UN-Habitat and the Government of Sri Lanka. For example, the Ministry of Housing and Construction is currently revising its National Housing Policy with the aim of facilitating access to decent housing for all, supported by UN-Habitat.