Merger of North and East will not take place

On the proposed donor conference for the North and the East, the Minister said Japanese had come forward to take part in the event, which, he said, could take place by June or July next year. (Colombo Gazette) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has rejected the idea of merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces for economic reasons.To a question why the merger should not be allowed to achieve cost reduction — considering the fact that the Northern Province accounted for four per cent of the Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product (GDP) and the East — six per cent, Karunanayake told The Hindu that “at this moment, we are trying to embrace all races, all religions together. I do not think we should segregate it geographically.” read more

Asian Development Bank UN agency join forces against poverty

In a Memorandum of Understanding signed in Hawaii between UNDP’s Regional Director for Asia and Pacific, Hafiz Pasha, and ADB Vice President Myoung-Ho Shin, the two organizations pledged to work together more closely to ensure their development assistance was making a positive difference for poor people in the region. Signed during the opening day of ADB’s annual Board of Governors meeting in Honolulu, the Memorandum stipulates joint activities between UNDP and ADB in the area of poverty measurements and assessments. The aim is to support developing countries in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of national poverty reduction strategies, action plans or agendas, UNDP said in a statement issued today.”World leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit last September pledged to eliminate extreme poverty by 2015,” said Mr. Pasha. “This agreement between ADB and UNDP is one step toward reaching this target for the countries in Asia and the Pacific.” For his part, Mr. Shin said the challenge of poverty reduction was “enormous and diverse,” and required maximum synergy in development assistance.Other areas of cooperation specified in the Memorandum include governance, private sector development, information and communications technology, environment, gender and development, and indigenous peoples. read more