Sri Lanka

Country Nutrition Situation

According to the Global Nutrition Report, Sri Lanka is on-course to achieve two of its nutrition targets for maternal, infant and young child nutrition (MIYCN) and the exclusive breastfeeding target, with 82.0% of infants aged 0 to 5 months exclusively breastfed. Further, the country has also made some progress in few other areas: infants having a low weight at birth with 15.9%, the target for stunting with having 17.3% of children under 5 years of age are still affected. Meanwhile Sri Lanka indicates little-to-no progress in achieving the target for wasting, with 15.1% of children under 5 years of age affected and the target for obesity. Moreover, micro-nutrient deficiencies, overweight, obesity remain significant nutrition problems in the country.


Poornima Rodrigo

Scaling Up Nutrition Network Coordinator

Governance structure

In Sri Lanka, SUN Business Network is currently facilitated by the United Nations World Food Programme. Since the time of the launch, 44 businesses and 200+ SMEs have signed up as SUN Business Network Sri Lanka members, with all members encouraged to participate in one or more of four SBN SL working groups that drive the agenda of the network: Promoting Nutritious Foods, Producing Nutritious Foods, Workplace Nutrition and Wellbeing and SMEs development.

Dr. Sulakshana Jayawardena – Additional Secretary to the president and the Director General of Partnership Secretariat for WFP cooperation at the Presidential Secretariat was recently appointed as the SUN Government Focal Point, Sri Lanka.

What is SBN doing in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, the SBN’s overarching aim is to bring together, assess and advocate the private sector with regards to nutrition and nutrition-led initiatives – with a goal of reaching 60 members, comprising actors at both national and sub-national levels, in the coming years.

In light of this expansion, SBN Sri Lanka has four focal points of activity:

Enhancing workplace health and nutrition. Educating employers on the importance of good nutrition; helping them access healthy foods for their staff; and encouraging commitments from companies to make this a priority.
Producing nutritious food products. Supporting the fortification of foods to improve their nutrient value; pursuing new initiatives; and championing national policies and standards.
Promoting nutritious foods. Increasing awareness of, and subsequently demand for, nutritious foods; seeking new opportunities to educate consumers on making healthy choices; and supporting communication strategies.
Helping small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grow. Providing guidance and support in areas such as finance, digitisation, and marketing, to assist these businesses in their development and enhance their impact in the wider nutritious food chain.

Year of Action

This year, under the theme ‘Accelerating Progress at SDG Halftime’, the United Nations Day was celebrated in Sri Lanka by providing a platform to showcase the progress made towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Sri Lanka.  This year, the celebration featured a variety of exhibition stalls, providing a platform for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and projects supported by the UN System in Sri Lanka to showcase their impactful work.

World Food Programme’s stall spotlighted the SUN Business Network and we had 4 SMEs onboard with us on this day. DNS Food Products – brings you organic herbal porridge, YANC Natural Blend – brings you Sri Lankan Spices and Cargills Ceylon’s ‘Lak Bojun’ – a SBN partnership with Cargills Ceylon which promotes healthy meal options to consumers at an affordable rate, were the SMEs spotlighted.

SBN has provided support these SMEs in repositioning their business models through Business Coaching Programmes, Products Branding & Designing, Certification Assistance etc

Celebrating 2023 United Nations Day in Sri Lanka

Sun Countries Take Action

SUN Business Network Bi-Annual Gathering was successfully held on Friday, March 24, 2023. The participants who have joined us were the SUN Business Network Private Sector Members, SUN Business Network SME Members, Development Partners, Representatives from the Government, Diplomatic Missions, and other UN Agencies in Sri Lanka. Special Invitees of the event were Dr.Sulakshana Jayawardena – Additional Secretary to the President/ Director General – Partnership Secretariat for WFP Cooperation at the Presidential Secretariat & Dr. Susie Perera – Deputy Director General Public Health Services II at the Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka. Mr. Abdur Rahim Siddiqui, Country Director / Representative of the UN World Food Programme in Sri Lanka started the event with opening remarks and highlighted the importance of SBN and WFP’s support to SBN as its current convener.

Dr. Susie Perera, Deputy Director General – Public Health Services II at the Ministry of Health delivered a special address on “Emergency Nutrition Action Plan and the progress of Implementation” as few SBN Private Sector members contributed & made commitments to the Emergency Nutrition Action Plan. Dr Sulakshana Jayawardena, Additional Secretary to the President /Director General – Partnership Secretariat for WFP Cooperation at the Presidential Secretariat then delivered a special address on “Country Food Security Situation and the Government’s Response”.

Dialog Axiata PLC, one of the SBN Members in Sri Lanka delivered a presentation on “Digital Interventions for Securing Nutrition” and highlighted member commitments as a SBN SL member who was active since the launch of the network in 2019. Event was followed by another special address by Mr. Ajith D Perera from FCCISL as he highlighted the importance of SBN and the successful partnership FCCISL had with SBN during its first pilot project “Implementation of Soft Skills Development in the SMEs Sector”.  The event also highlighted WFP’s continuous operations in fighting hunger worldwide as it celebrated its anniversary – WFP AT 60.