Skip Navigation
Sri Lanka

CEDAW Implementation – Accountability (LK0013)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Sri Lanka National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Women and Child Affairs

Support Institution(s): National Committee on Women, Ministry of Land, Ministry of Justice; Interest group related CSOs

Policy Areas

Gender, Land & Spatial Planning, Legislation & Regulation, Legislature, Marginalized Communities, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Sri Lanka End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Sri Lanka Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Sri Lanka ratified CEDAW in 1981. Upon ratification, Sri Lanka has an obligation to report to CEDAW every 4 years. At the last periodic state review in 2011, where Sri Lanka was reviewed, CEDAW issued numerous concluding observations to Sri Lankan government. As a state party, Sri Lankan government is obliged to follow up on the concluding observations.

In the framework of this commitment, the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs will follow upon specific concluding observations on selected areas; Personal Law reforms, gender equality in state land distribution, non-discrimination in formal and informal employment sector. Consultations with community will increase accountability of the ministry of Women and Child Affairs to the public and will allow women’s networks to directly participate in improving public services and increasing public integrity.

As an end result the government is to take concrete actions with the accountability to implement concluding observations with the inclusion of a transparent process and civilian participation. The progress made by such an implementation could be reported as our government’s progress at the next state review.

Responsible Agency: Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and Civil Society Organizations
Timeline: July 2016- August 2018 Annual Work Plan of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs to include a transparent and accountable process to implement selected CEDAW Concluding Observations.
Lead Agency Ministry of Women and Child Affairs
Other Actors

Government National Committee on Women, Ministry of Land, Ministry of Justice
Civil Society, Private Sector Interest group related CSOs
Issues to be Addressed There has been little follow up on the CEDAW 2011 Concluding Observations after the state review. Incorporating the implementation of selected concluding observations into the annual work plan of the Ministry will ensure a transparent and a systematic process of follow up which involves interested civil society organizations. This will also ensure better coordination between different Ministries to implement the concluding observations. The different Ministries will be held accountable to ensure the operationalization of the concluding observation.
Main Objective Increase the level of accountability of Ministry of Women and Child Affairs in Personal Law reforms, gender equality in state land distribution, non-discrimination in formal and informal employment sector
OGP Challenge Improving Public Services, Increasing Public Integrity
OGP Principles Transparency Accountability Public Participation
Milestones to Fulfill the Commitment New or ongoing: Start Date: End Date:Gender equality in state land distribution
1. Draft Land Development Ordinance amendment is presented in Parliament New Mar 2017 Apr 2017
2. Inter-Ministerial meeting held with the participation of AG’s Department and interested CSOs on joint ownership in state land distribution. New May 2017
3. Quarterly meetings of the Committee comprising of Ministry reps and CSOs to monitor progress on #1 & #2 New Mar 2017 Aug 2018

IRM End of Term Status Summary

13. Gender Equality in State Land Distribution

Commitment Text:

Annual Work Plan of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs to include a transparent and accountable process to implement selected Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Concluding Observations (B) – Gender Equality in State Land Distribution

Sri Lanka ratified CEDAW in 1981. Upon ratification, Sri Lanka has an obligation to report to CEDAW every 4 years. At the last periodic state review in 2011, where Sri Lanka was reviewed, CEDAW issued numerous concluding observations to Sri Lankan government. As a state party, Sri Lankan government is obliged to follow up on the concluding observations.

[…] Consultations with community will increase accountability of the ministry of Women and Child Affairs to the public and will allow women’s networks to directly participate in improving public services and increasing public integrity. As an end result the government is to take concrete actions with accountability to implement concluding observations with the inclusion of a transparent process and civilian participation. The progress made by such an implementation could be reported as our government’s progress at the next state review.

Main Objective:

Implement CEDAW Concluding Observations on Gender Equality in State Land Distribution

Milestones:

  • 1 Draft Land Development Ordinance amendment is presented in Parliament.
  • 2 Inter-Ministerial meeting held with the participation of AG’s Department and interested CSOs on joint ownership in state land distribution.
  • 3 Quarterly meetings of the Committee comprising of Ministry reps and CSOs to monitor progress on #1 & #2 (13.1 and 13.2).

Responsible institution: Ministry of Lands and Parliamentary Affairs

Supporting institutions: Ministry of Women and Child Affairs (MWCA); National Committee on Women (NCW); Centre for Equality and Justice (formerly FOKUS Women)

Start date: March 2017.........    End date: August 2018

Editorial Note: The text of the commitment was abridged for formatting reasons. For full text of the commitments, see the Sri Lanka National Action Plan 2016–2018 at http://bit.ly/2wv3jXR. [163]

 

Commitment Aim:

This commitment broadly aimed to support the implementation of the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) through activities that enhance transparency and accountability. This commitment specifically supported observations that pertain to gender equality in state land distribution.

The commitment endeavoured to support the amendment of the Third Schedule of the Land Development Ordinance [164] (LDO), which refers to male preference in the succession of state land upon intestacy. The commitment also aimed to support efforts to encourage the government to recognise joint ownership of land under the LDO.

Status

Midterm: Limited

The commitment achieved limited completion by the midterm. The National Committee on Women (NCW) under the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs (MWCA), and the Ministry of Land and Parliamentary Reforms, incorporated draft amendments to the Third Schedule of the LDO, and submitted the draft to the Cabinet of Ministers for further approval (Milestone 13.1). [165] Per legislative procedure, the cabinet must then share an approved version with the office of the legal draftspersons, prior to presenting a final version in Parliament.

In late 2016, civil society convened a multistakeholder meeting to reform provisions on joint ownership (Milestone 13.2). This meeting also involved stakeholders from the NCW/MWCA, Ministry of Land, and Attorney General’s Department. [166] The Ministry of Land confirmed that a multistakeholder committee had not been established to oversee and/or monitor either of these processes (Milestone 13.4). [167]

End of term: Limited

Implementation of this commitment continued to be limited by the end of term.

Milestone 13.1: The NCW/MWCA confirmed that the draft amendments to the LDO were still with the office of the legal draftsperson. The NCW convened regular consultations with senior representatives from the Ministry of Land to expedite the passage of the amendments. [168] However, the NCW suggested that the Ministry of Land had gradually diverted attention away from amending the LDO in favour of creating entirely new land laws to replace the LDO. [169] Civil society confirmed this gridlock, noting that this may delay or postpone the completion of this milestone. [170]

Milestone 13.2: Although the multistakeholder meeting on joint ownership was completed by the midterm, the end of term saw little, if any, further progress. The NCW confirmed that the issue of joint ownership continued to be discussed at an internal forum, but noted that the topic was highly contested. [171] This forum—distinct from that charged with monitoring progress on LDO amendments and joint ownership (Milestone 13.3)—comprised government and civil society stakeholders and met on a monthly basis.

According to the Centre for Equality and Justice (CEJ), civil society remains committed to ensuring formal recognition of joint ownership of state land and continues to explore different ways of expediting such recognition. [172] This may include, for instance, introducing joint ownership as a criterion for, or component of, foreign-funded development projects. [173]

Milestone 13.3: Apart from general monthly meetings arranged by the NCW, a formal multistakeholder committee did not exist to oversee and/or monitor amendment of the LDO. [174]

Did It Open Government?

Civic Participation: Marginal

At the outset of the action plan, the Land Development Ordinance (LDO) contained provisions that were widely considered discriminatory toward women. In particular, the Third Schedule of the LDO specified that daughters, or granddaughters, of permit holders of state land were not automatically entitled to that land in the event that the permit holder failed to nominate a successor. Similarly, the LDO also did not recognise joint ownership of state land. Such provision would help to guarantee women’s entitlement to land, prevent family disputes, and generally empower women with greater economic security. [175]

This commitment aimed to introduce transparency and accountability in the process of amending the LDO. If fully implemented, the commitment would have nominally increased civic participation in decision making by bringing together diverse stakeholders to discuss the need for amendments. As the NCW conducted a multistakeholder meeting for this purpose, civil society agreed that the commitment did marginally open government. [176] This would have been enhanced had the NCW regularly convened a multistakeholder committee to monitor related progress.

However, as noted in the IRM midterm progress report, the amendments themselves appear to be beyond the values, or scope, of open government.

Carried Forward?

Sri Lanka’s second action plan was not released at the time of this report.

Despite key components of the commitment having limited relevance to OGP values, the IRM researcher proposed measures in the 2016–2017 IRM midterm progress report toward expediting amendment of the LDO, and making the commitment more relevant to open government. These include: isolating the amendment of the Third Schedule from more contested amendments to the LDO; designing interventions to increase public awareness on the importance of nominating a clear successor in ownership of state land; and publishing up-to-date information on the distribution of state land.

[163] In the action plan, milestones pertaining to personal law reform (Commitment 12), gender equality in state land distribution (Commitment 13), and nondiscrimination in formal and informal employment (Commitment 14) are listed under a single commitment. For purposes of clarity, these milestones have been separated into three different commitments in this report.

[164] Land Development Ordinance, No. 19 of 1935, http://bit.ly/2DyRST0.

[165] L. B. S. B. Dayaratne (Ministry of Land and Parliamentary Reforms), interview by IRM researcher, 19 October 2017; Swarna Sumanasekera (Ministry of Women and Child Affairs), interview by IRM researcher, 13 October 2017.

[166] Id.; Shyamala Gomez (Centre for Equality and Justice), interview by IRM researcher, 27 October 2017.

[167] Dayaratne, interview.

[168] Swarna Sumanasekera (Ministry of Women and Child Affairs), interview by IRM researcher, 20 September 2018.

[169] Id.

[170] Shyamala Gomez (Centre for Equality and Justice), interview by IRM researcher, 29 September 2018.

[171] Sumanasekera, interview.

[172] Gomez, interview.

[173] Sumanasekera, interview.

[174] Id.; Shyamala Gomez, interview by IRM researcher, 27 October 2017.

[175] Gomez, interview. See also Sunday Times, “A Piece of Land to Call Her Own.”, 6 March 2011, https://bit.ly/2DtPFVw

[176] Gomez, interview, 29 September 2018.


Sri Lanka's Commitments

  1. Integrity Officers to Decrease Bribery and Corruption

    LK0024, 2019, Capacity Building

  2. Asset Declaration System

    LK0025, 2019, Asset Disclosure

  3. Increase Use of RTI

    LK0026, 2019, E-Government

  4. Citizen Participation in Health

    LK0027, 2019, E-Government

  5. Campaign Against Youth Drug Use

    LK0028, 2019, Education

  6. Open Data

    LK0029, 2019, E-Government

  7. Agriculture Support Policy

    LK0030, 2019, Capacity Building

  8. Participation for Persons with Disabilities

    LK0031, 2019, Land & Spatial Planning

  9. Disability Rights Bill

    LK0032, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  10. Disaster Management Planning

    LK0033, 2019, Capacity Building

  11. Nationak Environmental Policy

    LK0034, 2019, Environment and Climate

  12. CEDAW Implementation

    LK0035, 2019, Capacity Building

  13. Local Service Delivery

    LK0036, 2019, E-Government

  14. Feedback on Public Bus

    LK0037, 2019, E-Government

  15. Implementing UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in a Participatory Manner

    LK0038, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  16. Improving Public Access to Preventive and Curative Strategies to Combat Chronic Kidney Disease

    LK0001, 2016, Health

  17. Transparent Policy to Provide Safe and Affordable Medicines for All

    LK0002, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. National Health Performance

    LK0003, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Ensuring Transparency and Impartiality in Teacher Recruitment Policy and Process in Sri Lanka

    LK0004, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Enhance the Services of Government Information Center (GIC- 1919) for Inclusive, Transparent, Accountable and Efficient Governance, Using ICT As Enabler

    LK0005, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Promote the Open Data Concept and Delivering the Benefits to Citizens Through ICT

    LK0006, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. National Environmental Act (NEA) Amendments

    LK0007, 2016, Capacity Building

  23. Coast Conservation

    LK0008, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Flora and Fauna Protection

    LK0009, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Transparent and Accountable Procurement System for Local Authorities in Sri Lanka

    LK0010, 2016, Capacity Building

  26. Local Authority Procurement System Implementation

    LK0011, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  27. Annual Work Plan of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs to Include a Transparent and Accountable Process to Implement Selected Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Concluding Observations.

    LK0012, 2016, Gender

  28. CEDAW Implementation – Accountability

    LK0013, 2016, Gender

  29. CEDAW – Inclusion

    LK0014, 2016, Gender

  30. Strengthening Women Participation in the Political Decision Making Process at the Local Level

    LK0015, 2016, Capacity Building

  31. Strengthen the Anti-Corruption Framework to Increase Constructive Public Participation

    LK0016, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  32. Implement UNCAC

    LK0017, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  33. Coordination Among Anti-Corruption Agencies

    LK0018, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  34. Corruption and Money Laundering

    LK0019, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  35. Campaign Finance

    LK0020, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  36. Disseminate Asset Declaration

    LK0021, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  37. Starred commitment The Enactment and Implementation of the RTI Act

    LK0022, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  38. Proactive Disclosure

    LK0023, 2016, Legislation & Regulation