Cablegate: Official Informal Number 132 (09-23-02)

Published: Mon 23 Sep 2002 11:02 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. (SBU) We have the following demining and ESF ideas
for your review:
2. (SBU) PM/HDP knows the demining situation in Sri Lanka
from A through Z. As you know, Murph McCloy and company
ran an assessment of the situation over the summer, which
came up with a number of conclusions. The end result was
a decision that the QRDF would be extended until late
October and that a DoD-run military-to-military training
program would start up shortly thereafter. We
understand that State Department funding would be
involved in the mil-to-mil program. While we take a bow
to PM/HDP based on its clear expertise in this issue, we
have the following ideas on other possible demining add-
ons after discussions with experts in Colombo:
-- Sri Lanka In-Country Projects: These projects would
be similar to the QRDF project in all but name.
Essentially, the USG would fund contractors to demine and
remove UXO at sites in the north and east. In the north,
the team would continue the work that the QRDF is now
doing in Jaffna. In the east, the team could set up at a
site near Batticaloa or Trincomalee where mines and UXO
were present. (Note: We think the east is an important
area for the U.S. to show the flag in, given the inter-
ethnic friction present there that could potentially
disrupt the peace process.) We would estimate that the
Jaffna project would cost 2 million USD a year and the
smaller eastern project about 1 million USD a year.
-- Civilian-to-civilian training: As noted, the USG
already has a plan to begin mil-to-mil demining training.
This proposal would provide civilians with demining
training. The training could be routed through local
foundations in Sri Lanka, including those with
involvement in the Tamil and Muslim communities. The
training could also involve dogs or manual demining,
geared as necessary to the level of the trainees. We
estimate that this project would cost 1.5 million USD per
ESF Proposals:
3. (SBU) The most pressing, immediate needs for
assistance in the conflict-affected northern and eastern
regions of Sri Lanka are related to the spontaneous
return of internally displaced persons and refugees
(160,000+ since the beginning of the year, according to
UN figures). Employment-generating, basic-needs resources
are required as quickly as possible not only for
returnees but also for other conflict-affected persons,
including members of the host communities into which
returnees are attempting to reintegrate. Unsustainable
return would destabilize the fragile peace process now
well underway; for that reason, the primary focus of
donor assistance on the North and East in the short term
is likely to be acceptable even to the majority of Sri
Lankans elsewhere on the island.
4. (SBU) In the medium to longer-term, if not sooner,
however, assistance efforts ideally will offer clear
benefits for the South. This is particularly vital for
communities in the drought-prone southeastern districts,
where diversion of major portions of the GoSL's budget to
the conflict has deepened the region's traditional
poverty, and as de-mobilization of combatants
accelerates. In purely economic terms, the war has buoyed
the rural southern economy for years; assisting ex-
combatants in making the transition to peace will be a
key element to a sustainable process.
5. (SBU) Possible targets for short-term assistance that
we envision the USAID's Office of Transitions Initiatives
taking the lead on include the following items with the
exception of micro-enterprise financing and the "e-peace
A.Drinking water and sanitation: Rain-water catchment
pans and construction/restoration of sanitary latrines.
These activities generate local employment and prevent
the spread of water-borne diseases. Notional costs:
Catchment for 100,000 families, US$2.5 Million, latrines
for 50,000 familes: $US $1million (in north, east &
B.Mine-risk education: Economic pressures continue to
force people into areas that are not safe due to presence
of mines and unexploded ordinance. US Government support
to RONCO, through 10/30, covers de-mining activities only
and not mine-risk education, an essential component of an
overall mine-action program. Notional cost: US$200,000
(in north and east)
C.Employment-generating restoration of small-scale
irrigation facilities, i.e. reservoirs. Construction of
50 of these would generate jobs and have lasting "down-
stream" benefits for restoring small-scale agricultural
production. Notional cost including cash for work and
locally-available equipment: US$1 Million.(north, east
and south)
D."E Peace Bridge": Establishment of information-
technology education centers:
This initiative will provide through world link and
worldview International for the provision of ICT
equipment, training, online collaborative projects and
discussion on social cohesion in 100 secondary schools
and community centers. This program will result in
increased dialogue, linkages, and understanding between
Sri Lankan youth from different parts of the country,
provide training and employment opportunities in the IT
sector and provide access to technology. This will cost
US$ 1 Million.(Island-wide in targeted schools).
E.Construction/restoration of dwellings: Ties in with
the GoSL's efforts to relocate IDPs, particularly those
living in welfare centers. Some 20 percent of the
estimated 800,000 Sri Lankans who were displaced at the
start of 2002 lived in welfare centers, some for as long
as 10 years. For many, the decision on whether to return
to their places of origin, or settle somewhere else on
state-provided land, hinges on the availability of
housing. Possible opportunities for employment
generation, cash for work. Notional figure: 25,000
families at $1,000 per dwelling: US$2.5 Million. (north
and east).
F.Micro-enterprise financing: The overwhelming
majority of IDP/refugee returnees, as well as families in
host communities, support themselves through agriculture
and fisheries. Sustainable livelihoods will require
getting funds into the hands of NGOs for micro-lending to
small farmers and fisherfolk to purchase agricultural
inputs such as seeds, fertilizer; no pesticides with
USAID funds), and fisherfolk to purchase nets, or to
repair boats. Funds should be on-lent at interest rates
prevailing at banks in the locality. Ideally packaged
with business development skills, and paired with
capacity building for local Farmer Organizations (FOs).
Notional cost US$1 Million
(north, east and south)
Total Notional Figure: US $9.2 million.
Prospective partners: The following USPVOs or their
international affiliates are represented in Sri Lanka:
CARE/International, Save the Children Fund (UK), and
World Vision. Each however needs to be asked about
contacts and/or partnerships with Sri Lankan PVOs or
self-help societies in the northeast and the southwest.
UNICEF would also be a potentially excellent partner, as
would WFP for food-for-work.
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