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* Senior UN official calls for greater attention to human needs of Sri Lanka's resettled
Mon, Oct 8, 2012, 10:49 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Oct 08, Colombo: A high ranking United Nations official who visited Sri Lanka recently has said that allocation of land and job creation for the people resettled in the conflict-affected areas are the key issues that needed greater attention.

"We need to pay greater attention to human needs of the people being resettled to enhance recovery," Dr. Ajay Chhibber, the UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific and Chair, UN Regional Director's Team, Asia and the Pacific has said at the conclusion of his visit to Sri Lanka.

Dr. Chhibber visited Sri Lanka from October 4 - 6 to mark the UN's new 5-year programme framework in Sri Lanka and to assess ongoing programmes of the United Nations Development Programme.

The visiting UN official has visited Jaffna and held discussions with the Regional Human Rights Commission and civil society representatives, followed by a meeting with the Government Agent of Jaffna and a visit to a UNDP livelihood development project.

During his discussions Dr. Chhibber was apprised of the recovery and development priorities in the District, about UNDP's work in the areas of local governance, mine action, access to justice, socio-economic recovery and disaster risk management.

He has also learned about challenges that still remain in the reconciliation process to bring a sustainable peace to the people in conflict-affected areas.

Dr. Chhibber has also met with several government ministers and officials including Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa.

He has also participated in the signing of the new United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for the next five year period on Friday (October 05) at the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

Dr. Chhibber has also taken part in the launch of the Sri Lanka Human Development Report 2012, titled, 'Bridging Regional Disparities for Human Development' on Friday.

The UN official has noted that with UNDP in Sri Lanka gradually shifting focus to look at issues of regional disparities and socio-economic inequalities across the country and promoting multi-stakeholder approaches to policy advocacy and reform this HDR has come at a significant juncture.

"Sri Lanka has led the way in performance in human development indicators, and my hope is that it can once again show the region the way forward on the issue of how to address growth and inequality, along with addressing the challenges of reconciliation for durable peace," Dr. Chhibber has said.

During his visit, Dr. Chhibber has engaged in a round table discussion with eminent economists and representatives from think tanks on policy support options within Sri Lanka's development context, and with a cross-section of women leaders from the political, civil society, academic and corporate sectors where issues pertaining to women in Sri Lanka, including gender-based violence, economic empowerment and political participation of women and low-labour force participation were discussed, the UNDP said in a release.

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