This flagship programme supports integrated approaches to the urban development challenges of four participating cities in Sri Lanka, including Anuradhapura.
The financing agreement worth of Euro 52 million for the Anuradhapura Integrated Urban Development Project supported by the French Agency for Development (AFD) and the Government of Sri Lanka was signed recently by Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Mr. Martin Parent, AFD Country Director in the presence of His Excellency Jean-Marin Schuh, Ambassador of France for Sri Lanka and the Maldives at the Ministry of Finance.
Anuradhapura urban area boasts a highly valuable natural, archaeological, religious and touristic heritage, which requires a holistic management and development, as well as a complex water system balance that has been undermined by recent urban growth. In response to these challenges, the project aims to promote a balanced mode of co-development between the sacred and modern parts of Anuradhapura Municipal Council, with the objective of preserving its cultural and natural heritage, key to the site’s attractiveness.
The project was prepared through extensive series of consultations with national and local stakeholders, which benefited from a study carried out with the support of the Bordeaux Urban Planning Agency, regional urban planning institute of France’s ninth largest city and financed under the French Expertise Fund (FEXTE). To ensure the sustainable management of the infrastructure and on heritage conservation and valorization a dedicated institutional support to key partner agencies are added under project activities as well.
Placing the preservation of the World Heritage Site’s cultural and natural heritage at the heart of the project, sustainable urban infrastructures including improvements to the urban drainage system, reducing flood risks and preserving the hydraulic heritage of the city and addressing urban mobility issues for different users such as the local inhabitants, pilgrims, tourists and commercial users will be financed under this project.
The upgrading of quality public spaces in both the modern and sacred cities will contribute to enhance the site attractiveness and boost the local economic activities with a ripple effect on tourist arrivals and valorization of the UNESCO site.