Sept 20, Colombo: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced that its Board of Directors has approved a $10 million technical assistance loan to finance the establishment of a facility that will help improve the design and implementation of urban projects in Sri Lanka, particularly with climate resilient and inclusive features to make cities more livable.
"Urban projects are complex and require meticulous and significant preparation time to ensure they deliver their intended development impacts," said ADB Senior Urban Development Specialist Mr. Ron Slangen. "The ADB-supported facility will ensure urban projects rolled out in the country are impactful, sustainable, and beneficial to the people of Sri Lanka."
There is a need for better and more timely delivery of urban infrastructure services in Sri Lanka, with more than 20% of the country's population living in cities that contribute about 40% of gross domestic product. However, based on ADB's experience in Sri Lanka, there is a need to strengthen long-term strategic investment planning and engineering capacity in urban departments to meet the increasing challenges of urbanization.
These factors have posed issues to Sri Lanka's development as they limit the number of readily available investment-grade projects, result in implementation delays, and ultimately affect the timely delivery of benefits to the people.
The facility, financed by ADB's ordinary capital resources, will strengthen project readiness and institutional capacity in Sri Lanka's urban sector through advanced feasibility studies and detailed designs that incorporate climate and disaster resilience as well as gender-friendly features in up to 29 cities. It will also provide advanced implementation support through the preparation of bidding documents for advanced contracting and safeguard documents for ensuing pipeline projects.
A $1 million technical assistance for Capacity Building for Secondary Towns and Strategic Cities attached to the facility, meanwhile, will strengthen the institutional capacity of project agencies to design and manage urban infrastructure projects, as well as urban governance improvement programs applying best practices.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members - 48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in co-financing.