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Japan and UNDP Launch Anti-Corruption Project to Strengthen Economic Governance

February 14, Colombo (LNW): In a significant step towards addressing Sri Lanka’s socio-economic crisis, Japanese Ambassador Mizukoshi Hideaki and Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka, officially launched the project titled ‘The Project for Promoting Economic Governance through Anti-corruption Policy Support’ in Colombo. The official signing ceremony, held yesterday and attended by senior government officials, marked the initiation of a collaborative effort to combat corruption and revive the country’s economic prospects.

The ongoing socio-economic crisis in Sri Lanka has led to a reversal of development gains, with transparency and accountability gaps identified as key contributors to the economic downturn. The new project aims to strengthen the anti-corruption ecosystem in Sri Lanka through time-bound, costed national policy reform, inter-stakeholder collaboration, and enhanced institutional capacity. The ultimate goal is to provide a roadmap for the country to transition from fragility to a resilient economy and a trusted democracy.

Supported by the Government of Japan through the Japanese Supplementary Budget (JSB) with a funding of 137 million JPY (approximately US$ 931,000), the project will be implemented by the Government of Sri Lanka and UNDP in Sri Lanka. The project focuses on strengthening legal and policy frameworks, improving coordination among institutions combating financial and tax crimes, and enhancing strategic skills and capacities to combat corruption.

Ambassador Mizukoshi highlighted Japan’s commitment to supporting Sri Lanka, stating, “Anti-corruption measures are conducive to a more business-friendly environment for foreign investors. Japan would like to support improvement in this sense and expects to see the expansion of our business relationship.”

The project’s targeted, time-bound capacity development within the anti-corruption ecosystem aims to ensure a comprehensive approach to combating corruption through prevention, investigation, and prosecution. This, in turn, is expected to contribute to efficient public service delivery, upholding the rule of law as a defense against corruption, and encouraging foreign direct investment crucial to Sri Lanka’s recovery.

UNDP’s Azusa Kubota emphasized the importance of accountable and transparent systems for effective reforms and economic restoration. She expressed gratitude to the Government of Japan, stating that the JSB support will serve as a catalyst for enhancing both individual and collective capacities in the fight against corruption.

The project’s interventions align with the achievement of Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG16), promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and building effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.

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