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Sri Lanka Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Sri Lanka’s first national action plan addressed a broad range of issues, from health to corruption to the right to information. While the government passed legislation on the right to information, most commitments saw little to no progress. Moving forward, the government may need to focus on meaningfully convening key stakeholders during implementation of the action plan. This, in turn, may help to ensure that more commitments are implemented through to completion.

Highlights

Commitment Overview Well-Designed?*
22. Enactment and Implementation of the Right to Information Act The enactment of legislation is a landmark achievement. The legislation offers the potential for the state to provide a framework for the active engagement of citizens in exercising the right to obtain information. Yes
16. Public Participation in Anti-Corruption Framework This commitment recognises that there is currently no clear framework to combat bribery and corruption in Sri Lanka. The absence has often resulted in the adoption of ad-hoc and inconsistent measures. No
21. Disseminate Asset Declarations This commitment proposes to activate and expedite the amendment of provisions under the Declarations of Assets and Liabilities Law, in order to facilitate the dissemination of asset declarations to the general public. No

*Commitment is evaluated by the IRM as specific and relevant, and has a transformative potential impact.

Process

The government collaborated with civil society organisations to conduct a series of public consultations across Sri Lanka to determine the thematic areas of interest among the general public. Although a multi-stakeholder forum existed during implementation of the plan, meetings were irregular. In addition, only select government and civil society representatives participated in consultations.

Acting contrary to OGP process?

A country is considered to have acted contrary to process if one or more of the following occurs:

  • The national action plan was developed with neither online or offline engagements with citizens and civil society.
  • The government fails to engage with the IRM researchers in charge of the country’s Year 1 and Year 2 reports.
  • The IRM report establishes that there was no progress made on implementing any of the commitments in the country’s action plan.

 

No

Perfomance

Overall, commitment implementation is limited. A key theme of the action plan was the right to information legislation. The only ‘starred commitment’ appears under this theme (commitment 22, Enact the Right to Information Act).

IRM Recommendations

  1. Ownership: Pursue activities that promote greater ownership of the OGP initiative. Conduct innovative and far-reaching public awareness campaigns about the significance and importance of the country’s involvement in OGP and the general value of open government.
  2. Process Engineering: Facilitate inclusive and meaningful participation in the OGP process. Complete all key steps in the OGP process pertaining to the implementation of the action plan. Sri Lanka should aim to advance from “consult” to a minimum of “collaborate” on the spectrum of participation.
  3. Fiscal Transparency and Participatory Auditing: Enhance fiscal transparency and public participation in audit processes. Introduce participatory mechanisms for the general public to interact with relevant government representative on the implementation of national or subnational budgets. Measures may include social audits and participatory budgeting.
  4. Local Accountability: Strengthen public accountability through local government. Formally mandate and publish independent and public audits of local government expenditures and procurement.
  5. Anti-Corruption Enforcement: Introduce public accountability in anti-corruption efforts. Introduce specific provisions that allow the public to hold government and the state accountable in combating corruption. Related initiatives must include a public-facing element, and call upon the government to justify its actions and/or act upon public feedback.

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Filed under: IRM Report

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