Australia will invest in programs to assist Sri Lanka's national and sub-national governments respond effectively to the needs of their citizens and the private sector. This will improve access to basic services and private sector development by enhancing governments' planning, decision-making, administration and service delivery. Innovative reform tools will be employed to raise revenue, develop service delivery benchmarks, improve the targeting of services and make it easier for small businesses to register and to influence the policies that affect them. We will also continue to implement discrete initiatives specifically designed to support reconciliation.
Sri Lanka Governance Platform
$23 million, 2016-2021
The Governance Platform has begun to support pilot projects and will begin its full operation in mid-2017. It supports activities that enhance the analytical, policy and organisational capacities of governments and public agencies. It will do this by funding direct technical and policy assistance, enabling the creation of policy-relevant knowledge, incentivising actors to implement reforms and change systems, building government capacity to communicate effective reform efforts and linking actors and agencies with counterparts in Australia and internationally.
One component of the Platform supports World Bank diagnostic and technical assistance programs that seek to increase access of the Sri Lankan enterprises to foreign and local investment, encourage entrepreneurial activity, lower regulatory obstacles to trade, enhance export competitiveness and support the reform of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Other components include Knowledge Creation and Institutional Linkages work streams. In addition, the existing Sri Lanka Sub-national Governance Program ($6 million, 2015-2018) is rolled into the Governance Platform. This activity tests innovative solutions to assist local governments to promote economic development, increase their tax base, deliver services, and be responsive to citizens, especially marginalised groups and small business owners. The investment will build up an evidence base of effective reform tools and models. It operates in 10 'secondary cities' in Sri Lanka that have strong growth potential and high levels of poverty and inequality. These locations are uniquely positioned to build economic bridges between poor populations in rural areas and wealth in primary cities.
The Government Platform design is yet to be finalised. Once approved, the design will be published.
Transforming Schools Education Project
$49.18 million, 2011-2017
The Transforming Schools Education Project (TSEP) continues to support the Sri Lankan Government's Education Sector Development Framework and Program, a key plank in the governance of the education sector. Australia's assistance is delivered in conjunction with a US$100 million World Bank loan. The project seeks to improve the quality of primary and secondary education and reduce regional imbalances in access to state education. It benefits more than four million school children, 250,000 teachers and 3,500 education administrators by improving school infrastructure in disadvantaged schools, revising the curriculum and assisting teachers' professional development. Australia's final tranche of funding to the project was paid in December 2015.
- Please see the World Bank’s TSEP project page for further information on this investment, including current progress reports and reviews.
North East Local Services Improvement Project
$26 million 2011-2018
The primary development objective of the North East Local Services Improvement Project (NELSIP) is to support local government authorities in the North and East Provinces of Sri Lanka to deliver services and local infrastructure in a responsive and accountable manner. It has three key outcomes: improving the coverage of local service delivery; increasing the demand for responsive local authority spending; and improved satisfaction of citizens with local service delivery.