Sri Lanka Joint Plan of Assistance to the Northern Province (JPA) 2012

5 April 2012

Humanitarian Context:
Considerable progress has been made towards the commitment by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to finding a durable solution for all people displaced by the war, including return to their home areas.  Since the humanitarian crisis triggered by the internal displacement of nearly 300,000 people   from the conflict zone in 2008 and into 2009, the GoSL ensured basic humanitarian assistance to those in camps, supported by the United Nations (UN), national non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), and international organizations (IOs).  Soon after the conflict ended, the GoSL launched a sustained resettlement campaign for the displaced, beginning with the 180-day Programme in mid-2009, engaging closely with partners in rapid early recovery interventions to stabilize returning communities.  Building upon these achievements, the GoSL’s ‘Uthuru Wasanthaya’ (Northern Spring) programme serves as the master plan for resettlement and development of the Northern Province (NP).  Also, the GoSL is keen to find durable solutions for a significant number of people displaced prior to 2008.

Over the last two and a half years, the GoSL and partners have committed significant resources to help former internally displaced people (IDPs) return to their home areas and rebuild their lives post-displacement.  By 31 October 2011, 456,000 people (138,000 families) displaced at various stages of the three-decade long conflict had returned to the five northern districts of origin.  Through close collaboration, line ministries, district administrations and agencies have worked together to meet the returnees’ immediate needs for shelter, food, health, nutrition and education, while working to restore basic services, infrastructure and livelihoods.  The GoSL places a high priority on accelerated economic growth to help people living in the NP regain a sense of normality and stability in the aftermath of the conflict. 

Where returnees have been back in their areas of origin for some time and resumed their basic livelihoods, the GoSL and partners are focusing on broader interventions to strengthen market linkages and value-production to support the transition from aid reliance to self-reliance.  Along with the gathering of momentum in early recovery and development, partners continue to address significant pockets of residual humanitarian needs, such as in areas of comparatively recent resettlement.  Furthermore, the special needs of particularly vulnerable groups--households led by single women, separated children and unaccompanied minors, the elderly, disabled individuals and others--demand more attention.  In addition to their material needs, returnees are seeking solutions to issues such as land ownership, civil and legal documentation, equal access to resources, and response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), many of which are anchored in full restoration and strengthening of the district civil administrations. 

The remaining people displaced since 2008 and currently living in camps, with host families or in transit sites need assistance until a durable solution can be found.  This includes 6,130 IDPs (1,833 families) in the Menik Farm site.  The majority hail from regions in the Mullaitivu District, seven Grama Niladhari Divisions (GNDs) each in the Puthukkudiyiruppu and Maritimepattu Divisional Secretariat Divisions (DSDs) in Mullaitivu District, and three GNDs in Pachchilapallai DSD in Killinochchi District.  The GoSL has also requested consideration in the JPA of 25,000 refugees who may voluntarily repatriate from India and elsewhere.

Thus, the JPA for the NP in 2012 will target the most vulnerable people, made up of different categories of IDPs, the recently resettled and voluntarily repatriating refugees.  The numbers, however, require major verification through joint assessments and surveys to establish the current situations of the different categories of targeted individuals and households and progress towards a durable solution.

Continuing the strong partnerships made between the GoSL, UN, I/NGOs and IOs during the 2011 JPA planning and implementation process and building upon good practices and lessons learned, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) for Resettlement, Development and Security in the NP and respective stakeholders have held discussions to determine the most urgent areas per sector for humanitarian action in 2012.  On the basis of this data, sector partners have formulated strategies and practical, concise project portfolios, towards building a consensus within the Humanitarian Country Team on the humanitarian programme for 2012.  ‘Software assistance’, in terms of capacity-building to strengthen GoSL provision of basic services in the resettlement areas, will be a major component of next year’s strategy.  The introduction of a new request for response to IDPs resultant from nearly three decades of displacement, and who constitute more than half of the defined vulnerable population in the 2012 JPA, requires further consultation with the GoSL, noting that it is a complex issue.

2012 JPA Objectives:
The humanitarian strategy for 2012 has the following strategic goals:

  • Continue supporting the remaining IDPs in Menik Farm, to meet their humanitarian assistance and protection needs, until they can return willingly and safely to their home areas, or find a durable solution elsewhere.
  • Implement an assessment, survey and mapping of all categories of IDPs to determine their types and levels of need.
  • Assist populations residing for nearly three decades in protracted internal displacement, to meet their basic needs and resettle or locally integrate in voluntary, dignified and sustainable conditions.
  • Support to recently returned and resettled communities through attention to their basic needs and restoration of infrastructure and livelihoods.
  • Support to the civilian administrations of the NP to have greater capacity for providing administrative services to returnees, related to access to land, missing documentation, family reunification, protection of women and children, sexual and gender-based violence, and services for elderly and disabled individuals, among others.  This particular support will be led by respective GoSL authorities at every level in the districts.  

Compendium of Projects
As in 2011, a Compendium of Projects has been put together targeting the prioritized sectors, based on 3W (Who, What, Where database) trends.  (See Annex I for complete list of 2012 JPA projects.)

Targeted Beneficiaries
The JPA seeks donor commitment for prioritized needs of the remaining IDPs, as well as among the resettled population.  The different categories of internal displacement require attention, both as a humanitarian response priority and a core element in furthering reconciliation. 

The international humanitarian community is committed to working in partnership with the GoSL to assist IDPs achieve durable solutions, bringing to an end a long chapter of displacement in Sri Lanka.  Ending displacement is and remains the ultimate goal for all parties to commit to work towards durable and sustainable solutions.  Additional to the State’s national responsibility to all displaced people as citizens, continuing displacement impacts reconciliation efforts, economic development and security.  Accordingly, the State also has a compelling interest to ensure that displacement is resolved durably.

The return home in the last two years of over 456,000 people (138,000 families) is a major accomplishment for Sri Lanka.  All actors must all safeguard that nothing in the next months should be allowed to diminish this and jointly work towards finding a durable solution for those still displaced.  Achieving a durable solution for the remaining displaced will be more difficult, but is both possible and necessary.

Local integration in the areas where IDPs were displaced should be a recognized choice as well as settlement to other areas anywhere within the country.  Some people who will not be able to return to their areas of origin for various reasons will require assistance with other durable solutions. IDPs should be given the choice to redirect their future when the voluntary return to their villages of origin is not possible.  The implementation of the combination of these three durable solutions--voluntary return, local integration and settlement to other areas--is the overarching objective of the 2012 JPA in bringing to a closure issues of internal displacement. 

The GoSL and the UN acknowledge that there is a caseload of people/families displaced before 2008 and that an undetermined number of those people may still need durable solutions.  Moreover, the GoSL and the UN and its partners acknowledge that there are a number of people/families who were displaced and are living with friends and relatives, or who left camps and are still living with friends and relatives.  The assessments on the status and extent of humanitarian needs of all categories of IDPs, with gender-disaggregated data, is being undertaken in the first quarter of 2012 to enable effective response and resource mobilization to be done in the second quarter of 2012 onwards.  Joint programmes in 2012 will therefore be developed to address and identify solutions for those determined to be in need in order to resolve displacement durably.

Mid-Year Review (MYR) findings of 2011 JPA
The MYR meeting led by GoSL on 15 July 2011 to take stock of progress, outstanding needs and gaps, and strategies going forward during the remainder of 2011 with more than 50 key stakeholders, reflected on the strategies aimed at calibrating ongoing and planned interventions against ground realities.  Finally, the PTF Secretary encapsulated the dialogue by examining priority areas for future action across the NP.  The following recommendations emerged through the MYR consultative process:  

  1. The JPA remains the definitive planning framework for humanitarian/early recovery operations. 
  2. The District Secretariat continues to lead operational planning, in accordance with the set of local priorities defined in the District Work Plan, coordinating among relevant GoSL authorities and agencies, and doing progress monitoring, in the targeted districts.  It is critical to continue working with the civilian district administration throughout all levels of function and augment capacities to ensure effective targeting, planning and coordination of humanitarian/early recovery assistance to vulnerable displaced and resettled people. 
  3. As a normative practice, individuals and communities should be empowered as active stakeholders of projects, defining their needs and assistance strategies.  Meaningful beneficiary involvement is the key factor in ensuring lasting change beyond the lifetime of specific projects.  While past humanitarian actions were based on individual needs, going forward, significant focus will be on community institutions and local structures.
  4. Stronger coordination: The GoSL has effected a number of recent policy changes to enhance operational flexibility: the removal of mandatory clearance requirements for foreign passport holders travelling to the NP[1], including expatriate personnel within the sector and members of the diplomatic community.  In addition, the GoSL has sanctioned UN funding of NGO implementing partners on the ground.  Agencies are advised to support GoSL coordination through accurate, comprehensive reporting on their activities via the standardized PTF 3W mechanism.  The online 3W database was launched at the MYR meeting, accessible to GoSL authorities, implementing agencies and donors.  Based on recommendations, the system will be further developed to indicate disaggregated funding information.  Information-sharing and collaboration at all levels are required to mobilize resources against needs and prevent duplication of effort. 
  5. An emphasis on ‘soft’ assistance is part of the reorientation of support to resettled communities and will focus on documentation, capacity-building, services for unaccompanied and separated minors, the elderly, disabled people, widows, families led by single breadwinner women, and response to SGBV. 

Monitoring Framework:
Under GoSL leadership, partners will report regularly on activities and their impact, to measure progress towards overall goals and objectives to ensure that beneficiaries receive support as quickly and efficiently as possible and to ensure maximum effectiveness of resources. Cross-sectoral monitoring and reporting of the projects in the JPA will take place through the online 3W database, managed by the PTF with the technical support provided by Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).  In addition to existing national monitoring mechanisms, the 3W will also track project implementation on the ground (Annex I).

United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF)
In addition, given that the humanitarian agencies are phasing down their direct humanitarian programmes, the UN is focusing on incorporating the residual humanitarian actions into ongoing planning for the UNDAF 2013-2018. 

[1] Prior clearance is required for travel to military installations and meetings with military officials.

Document History

5 April 2012

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