Government of Japan pledges USD 2 million to implement the Women, Peace and Security agenda in Sri Lanka

Date: Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Author: Zainab Hassen

His Excellency Akira Sugiyama, ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka (left), joins Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director of UN Women Asia Pacific (centre), and Dharshana Senanayake, Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs (right), at the signing ceremony held at the Ambassadors House in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo: UN Women/Zainab Hassen
His Excellency Akira Sugiyama, ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka (left), joins Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director of UN Women Asia Pacific (centre), and Dharshana Senanayake, Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs (right), at the signing ceremony held at the Ambassadors House in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo: UN Women/Zainab Hassen

Colombo, Sri Lanka — The Government of Japan has committed USD 2 million to UN Women Sri Lanka to carry out the second phase of the ongoing programme titled “Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Sri Lanka”. This project is to be carried out with the integral support of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and will focus on women’s participation and empowerment in efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts.

The agreement was signed on 18 September 2019 at the ambassador’s residence by Japanese Ambassador Akira Sugiyama and Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director of UN Women Asia Pacific. Also in attendance were Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs Dharshana Senanayake, First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan Chiharu Hoshiai, Second Secretary of the Embassy of Japan Koji Sekiguchi, Programme Management Specialist Alison Davidian, Programme Specialist Katsuhiro Kaneko, the focal point for UN Women Sri Lanka Ramaaya Salgaado, other members of the UN Women team, and media personnel.

The overall goal of the project is to empower women, including those in vulnerable situations, to strengthen their participation in the peacebuilding process and social cohesion in Sri Lanka. This includes the implementation of the National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security. This is a timely initiative as Sri Lanka marks a decade since the conclusion of the armed conflict. The anniversary will provide a framework to address the needs of different groups of women and girls, taking into account their diverse experiences of the conflict.

To realize this goal, UN Women will focus on establishing an enabling environment for urgently needed policies on women, peace and security in Sri Lanka, whilst including the participation and capacity building of government, civil society organizations and grassroot women’s groups. In particular, it will support economic empowerment for the most vulnerable and marginalized groups of women, as well as young people’s engagement in peacebuilding processes, which is critical to ensuring a lasting and sustainable peace. This is a requisite for the development of the country, for its economic trajectory and to ensure a better future for all. The Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs expressed her support and appreciation. “Through the technical support from UN Women, the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and other key entities will have strengthened their capacities, whilst creating an enabling environment to implement and promote policies on women, peace and security with the support and collaboration of government institutions, development partners and civil society.”

Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director for UN Women Asia Pacific, went on to say that “It has been 10 years since the armed conflict in Sri Lanka ended. The legacy of conflict continues to impose hardships, particularly women. Critical to this journey is the political and economic empowerment of Sri Lanka’s women.’’

The Regional Director further recognized the indispensable roles played by the ambassador and other members of the Japanese delegation, for “leading the efforts to forge this partnership that merges the strengths of bilateral and multilateral cooperation.”

The importance of this relationship between Sri Lanka and Japan, as expressed through this project, was reiterated by Ambassador Sugiyama. He said he was “Looking forward to the successful completion of this project, as the Embassy of Japan feels that women’s rights are vital in sustaining peace,” and that he hopes “that this project further strengthens the longstanding bond between Sri Lanka and Japan.’’