News update

ILO Boosts Disaster Resilience of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Sri Lanka

With the support from Government of Japan ILO assist in strengthening climate change resilience and disaster recovery within Sri Lanka’s MSME sector.

News | Colombo, Sri Lanka | 27 December 2018
Disasters triggered by extreme climatic events are becoming increasingly commonplace in south-western Sri Lanka. From loss of lives to the destruction of livelihoods, the impact of these disasters are immense. Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are one of the sectors most severely affected.

Post-Disaster Needs Assessments conducted by the United Nations Development Programme and the Ministry of Irrigation, Water Resources and Disaster Management in 2016 and 2017 highlight that damages to the MSME sector in five flood-affected districts amounted to more than LKR 10 billion (PDNA 2017, p. 81). However, the scope of this estimate was limited to about 20 sub-sectors in micro, small and medium enterprises, and did not fully capture the loss experienced by MSMEs in these five districts.

The contribution from the MSME sector to the local economy is substantial and accounts for 53% of Gross Domestic Production . Furthermore, the sector generated about 634,000 jobs in 2014 – a figure which grew by 50% since 2004.

The impact to Sri Lanka’s MSME sector by climate-driven disasters poses a significant threat not only to local employment but to overall economic growth. It is a pressing issue which needs to be addressed immediately and diligently.

In response to this threat, ILO sought and received financial support from the Government of Japan to assist in strengthening climate change resilience and disaster recovery within Sri Lanka’s MSME sector.

The first two training programmes were held in December 2018 targeting government officers who work with MSMEs in the Kalutara and Ratnapura districts. The inaugural programme was graced by H.E. Mr. Akira Suguyama, the Ambassador of Japan; Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Mr. M.A. Thajudeen; Mr. U.D.C. Jayalal, Director – Preparedness Planning, Kalutara District Secretariat; Mr. Sunil Jayaweera, Disaster Management Centre; Ms. Simrin Singh, Director – ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and Maldives, among many other distinguished guests.

The programme provided training for 130 government officers and covered subjects such as the effective use of disaster related information to increase resilience, the preparation of business continuity plans, stock management, as well as other mechanisms of risk reduction and disaster risk transfer.

It is hoped that these trainings will support government officers to work more effectively with MSMEs and build increased disaster preparedness mechanisms in flood affected districts. Training programmes for micro, small and medium entrepreneurs in the Ratnapura and Kalutara districts are scheduled to be conducted in January 2019.