The Post Tsunami Coastal Rehabilitation and Resource Management Project in seven districts won the Project of the Year award by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark. The project was a joint partnership with the Ministry of Fisheries and the Ceylon Fisheries Corporation. It was funded through a loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented by UNOPS.
The $ 11 million project constructed 18 fisheries landing sites and three anchorages on the southern and eastern coasts. Facilities include breakwater, anchorages, landing sites, ice manufacturing, fuel storages and office buildings to generate more income for fishing communities.
It benefitted over 20 000 households and provided additional livelihood activity through net making and fish processing. The fishing communities said that most of the difficulties they encountered in the past, such as supplying their boats with fuel, unloading and loading the catch, and storing water, have now disappeared.
The fishery harbour project was selected was highly successful because of several factors; comprehensive planning, extensive and sustained engagement with stakeholders, strong technical team, large field presence and capacity to adjust to circumstances, strong support from the senior management in the Ministry of Fisheries, close management of contractors and labourers, close financial monitoring and greater emphasis on safety on the workplace.
UNOPS held consultations with local authorities, civil society groups and fishing communities during the planning stage to ensure the relevance and sustainability of the project. UNOPS also provided training on how to operate and maintain the facilities to guarantee long-term use. Aside from the stakeholder satisfaction, the project was praised for its delivery and performance. The construction activities had no cost overruns and considerable financial gains were obtained from creative engineering. The savings were used to add new scope to the project.
Project Director Prathapasingh was thrilled with the award. He said: “The recognition given to the project shows how best practices can be applied in Sri Lanka in infrastructure development, with very reasonable financial investment.”
UNOPS Director Francoise Jacob commented: “The project serves as an example of how close partnership with the host government, thorough planning, effective project management, tight financial control and quality assurance in all stages of the construction activities can bring great results.
“I’m glad that the team was able to put Sri Lanka in the global map for outstanding Infrastructure development and provide a case study for effective Project Management and quality infrastructure.”