Reports

Sri Lanka Mid-Term Report 2016-2018 (Year 1)

Country : Sri Lanka
Dates Under Review : 2016-2017
Report publication year : 2018
Researcher : Anoukh de Soysa

Overview - Sri Lanka Mid-Term Report 2016-2018 (Year 1)

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.

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

Level of Input by Stakeholders

During Action Plan Development
Y1
No Consultation
Inform
Consult
Involve
Collaborate
Who was involved? 
Civil Society Involvement
Beyond "governance" civil society
Mostly "governance" civil society X
No/little civil society
Narrow / little government consultation Primarily agencies that serve other agencies Significant involvement of line ministries and agencies
Government Involvement

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) assumed primary responsibility for leading the OGP initiative. The MFA engaged government ministries, agencies, departments and independent commissions to conduct consultations on shortlisted thematic areas. The involvement of sub-national government mostly pertained to commitment implementation. The MFA delegated the responsibility of coordinating civil society organisations’ participation and engagement to Transparency International Sri Lanka.

OGP Co-Creation Requirements Followed 

Commitment Performance 

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).

Commitment Completion 

Current Plan
Year 1: 0%

Commitment Ambition 

Current Plan
Year 1: 4%

Starred commitments 

Current Plan
Year 1: 4%

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.

Commitments Overview

Commitment Title

Well-Designed

(Year 1)*

Starred (Year 1)

Overview

Theme 1: Health

1. Public access to combat chronic kidney disease (CKD)

No

No

The Ministry of Health, Nutrition, and Indigenous Medicine (Ministry of Health) has not yet established the multi-stakeholder forum to draft the CKD prevention strategic plan. The ministry has taken steps to publish information on measures to combat CKD. However, it has yet to begin institutionalising feedback mechanisms.

2. Safe and affordable medicines

No

No

This commitment seeks to increase the availability and affordability of quality essential medicines. However, the activities do not address the quality of medicine; a bigger obstacle to public use of these medicines.

3. National Health Performance

Framework

No

No

The Ministry of Health has yet to finalise the National Health Performance Framework. The framework would enhance public access to information on healthcare. Related milestones, such as a public monitoring forum, are thus delayed.

Theme 2: Education

4. Transparent teacher recruitment policy

No

No

This commitment aims to increase transparency in the recruitment, appointment, promotion and transfer of teachers. These actions will reduce ad-hoc teacher appointments. Implementation is limited.

Theme 3: Information & Communication Technology

5. Government Information Centre

No

No

This commitment seeks to improve services and increase public awareness of a website supplying the public with information on government services. Most of the activities are e-government focused and not related to OGP values.

6. Promote Open Data

No

No

The commitment could be more ambitious. It seeks only to improve and scale-up existing initiatives of the Open Data web portal. Introduction of legislation on the right to information during this commitment’s implementation could result in an increased number of accessible datasets.

Theme 4: Environment

7. National Environmental Act amendments

No

No

This commitment seeks to ensure public participation, transparency, and government accountability in environmental decision making. Implementation is delayed due to a desire by implementing ministries to pass a number of other related amendments concurrently.

8. Coast Conservation and Coastal Resources Management Act (CCRMA) amendments

No

No

Similar to commitment 7, this commitment seeks to introduce the public right to comment on Initial Environmental Examinations (IEEs) under the CCCRMA for coastal development projects. Proposed provisions relating to government accountability could significantly enhance the potential impact.

 

9. Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance (FFPO) and North-Western Province Environmental (NWPES) Statute amendments

No

No

The FFPO and the NWPES already provide for public participation through public comments in both IEE and Environmental Impact Assessment processes. This commitment seeks to solely introduce the provision pertaining to government accountability. Until the content of the amendment is finalised, the precise mechanism to facilitate government accountability remains unclear.

Theme 5: Local Government

10. Procurement system for local authorities

No

No

This commitment seeks to prepare and publish procurement guidelines as a first step towards a transparent procurement system. Its impact is minor, as the guidelines will not be binding, enforceable legislation.

11. Implementation and monitoring of local authority procurement system

No

No

This commitment seeks to supplement and strengthen the transparent procurement system with monitoring provisions. The impact is lessened by the form of the related redress mechanism. Its implementation is contingent on the introduction and publication of the procurement guidelines outlined under commitment 10.

Theme 6: Women

12. Personal law reforms

No

No

The commitment’s activities would see personal laws being amended and removed of provisions that discriminate against women. However, completion of this commitment is limited due to conflicting interests among key stakeholders.

13. Gender equality in state land distribution

No

No

This commitment aims to pass an amendment to the Land Development Ordinance (LDO). The amendment would ensure equal opportunities for women in the distribution of state land. Stakeholders moved to amend the LDO to ensure that joint or co-ownership can be granted to both spouses when the land is allocated to married couples.

14. Non-discrimination in employment

No

No

As with commitments 12 and 13, this commitment comprises activities derived from recommendations of the report from the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The recommendations seek to eliminate discrimination of women in formal and informal employment. Low specificity on how the government aims to address the recommendations lessens the commitment’s potential impact.

Theme 7: Women in Political Governance

15. Women’s political participation at the local level

No

No

The primary objective is to strengthen political participation of trained, qualified women through their nomination and election in local government. While the activities could help achieve that goal, the commitment saw limited completion.

Theme 8: Corruption

16. Public participation in anti-corruption framework

No

No

The establishment of an Inter-Agency Corruption Prevention Council to create a robust anti-corruption action plan constitutes a noteworthy opportunity for civil society to participate in related processes. Completion is, however, limited. The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) has solicited feedback from the public and private sectors to commence the plan’s development.

17. Implementation of United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) obligations and constitutional reform

No

No

The potential impact of this commitment could be enhanced by introducing a public-facing accountability or enforcement mechanism for the planned multi-stakeholder committee. That mechanism would monitor the implementation of the country’s UNCAC obligations.

18. Coordination among anti-corruption agencies

No

No

The multi-stakeholder committee to review the mandates of anticorruption agencies has not yet been established. Thus, other milestones relating to the publication, implementation, and monitoring of committee findings have not started.

19. Corruption and money laundering

No

No

The commitment’s primary milestone presents no clear relevance to OGP values. The milestone aims to initiate legislation that would broaden the scope of CIABOC to include the offence of money laundering. The legislation must be initiated and enacted before data on related cases can be made accessible to the public.

20. Regulation of political campaign financing

No

No

This commitment’s relevance to OGP values is unclear. It does not specify whether the disclosure of the amounts and sources of campaign financing would be made public.

21. Disseminate asset declarations

No

No

The commitment proposes to initiate and enact an amendment to the Declarations of Assets and Liabilities Law. The amendment would repeal provisions that currently prohibit public disclosure of asset declarations. Enactment is pending.

Theme 9: Right to Information

22. Enactment and implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act

Legislation on the right to information in Sri Lanka was enacted August 2016. The government has also made progress in establishing requisite infrastructure for the effective implementation of the law. Work remains, however, on resource allocation and raising public awareness.

23. Proactive disclosure

No

No

This commitment seeks to ensure the proactive disclosure and publication of an inventory of documents, as outlined under the RTI Act. The mandatory nature of the RTI law will support the completion of this commitment. Completion is delayed but still on time.

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

IRM Report - Sri Lanka Mid-Term Report 2016-2018 (Year 1)


I. Introduction 
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The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international multistakeholder initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to their citizenry to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. OGP provides an international forum for dialogue and sharing among governments, civil society organisations, and the private sector, all of which contribute to a common pursuit of open government.

Sri Lanka began its formal participation in 2015, when former minister of justice Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, on behalf of President Maithripala Sirisena, declared his country’s intention to participate in the initiative.[Note1: Open Government Partnership (2015), Sri Lanka Letter of Intent to Join OGP. Available at: <https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/sri-lanka-letter-of-intent-join-ogp>.]

In order to participate in OGP, governments must exhibit a demonstrated commitment to open government by meeting a set of (minimum) performance criteria. Objective, third-party indicators are used to determine the extent of country progress on each of the criteria: fiscal transparency, public officials’ asset disclosure, citizen engagement, and access to information. See Section VII: Eligibility Requirements for more details.

All OGP-participating governments develop OGP action plans that elaborate concrete commitments with the aim of changing practice beyond the status quo over a two-year period. The commitments may build on existing efforts, identify new steps to complete ongoing reforms, or initiate action in an entirely new area.

Sri Lanka developed its national action plan from May 2016 to October 2016. The official implementation period for the action plan extended from 1 July 2016 through 30 June 2018. This year one report covers the action plan development process and first year of implementation, from July, 2016 to June, 2017. Beginning in 2015, the IRM started publishing end-of-term reports on the final status of progress at the end of the action plan’s two-year period. Any activities or progress occurring after the first year of implementation will be assessed in the end-of-term report. At the time of writing, December, 2017, the government has not yet published its self-assessment report.  

In order to meet OGP requirements, the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) of OGP has partnered with Anoukh de Soysa, who carried out this evaluation of the development and implementation of Sri Lanka’s first action plan. To gather the voices of multiple stakeholders, the IRM researcher conducted over 25 interviews with key representatives from government institutions, independent commissions, and civil society organisations. The researcher also held a multistakeholder forum with key individuals from government and civil society involved in the implementation of the OGP commitment on information and communication technology. All interviews were held in the capital, Colombo. The IRM aims to inform ongoing dialogue around development and implementation of future commitments. Methods and sources are dealt with in Section VI of this report (Methodology and Sources).


II. Context 
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The government of Sri Lanka has introduced important institutional and policy reforms aimed at improving governance and transparency in the country. However, stronger measures to enhance public accountability, ensure fiscal transparency, and deepen civic participation stand to transform business-as-usual and reinforce the country’s commitment to open government.

2.1 Background

In January 2015, citizens elected President Maithripala Sirisena on a platform of good governance and promises of greater openness, transparency, and accountability.[Note2: “Maithripala Sirisena’s 100 Day Work Programme; Detailed Diary Description,” Colombo Telegraph, 20 December 2014, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/maithripala-sirisenas-100-day-work-programme-detailed-diary-description/; and “71 out of 100: Yahapalanaya’s 100-Day Programme in Retrospect,” The Sunday Times, 8 January 2017, http://www.sundaytimes.lk/170108/news/71-out-of-100-yahapalanayas-100-day-programme-in-retrospect-223236.html.] His support came from a coalition of political entities. Building on this momentum, parliamentary elections were held in August 2015, with the two major political parties—the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the United National Party—joining forces to form the National Unity Government.

Since these elections, the government has introduced several institutional and policy reforms aimed at strengthening governance and transparency in Sri Lanka. As a result, the country has experienced positive developments in facilitating the exercise of civil and political liberties,[Note3: “Freedom in the World 2017 – Sri Lanka,” Freedom House, 2017, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2017/sri-lanka.] including the use and strengthening of independent commissions, the focusing of efforts to combat corruption, and the passing of landmark legislation on the right to information.[Note4: “Sri Lanka Parliament Passes Right to Information Bill,” Lanka Business Online, 25 June 2016, http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/sri-lanka-parliament-passes-right-to-information-bill/.] While comprehensive reform of the Constitution continues to be deliberated,[Note5: Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reform, Report on Public Representations on Constitutional Reform, May 2016, http://www.constitutionnet.org/sites/default/files/sri_lanka_prc_report-english-final.pdf.] the passage of the nineteenth amendment in 2015 restored presidential term limits and vested greater decision-making power in Parliament.[Note6: “Freedom in the World 2017 – Sri Lanka,” Freedom House.]

The government of Sri Lanka has actively pursued initiatives toward improving broad notions of accountability. These initiatives are central to the reform agenda. For instance, while the functioning and independence of established commissions—such as the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the National Police Commission—have been strengthened with new appointments,[Note7: “Sri Lanka Appoints New Human Rights Commission,” Ada Derana, 21 October 2015, http://bit.ly/2nB7iwK; and “Siri Hettige Appointed Chairman of Police Commission,” Ada Derana, 21 October 2015, http://bit.ly/2FJMUQz.] independent commissions have been instituted to respond to pertinent national issues. Notably, in early 2017, the government established a Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate the controversial Treasury Bond issue,[Note8: S. Samarasinghe and D. Mendis, “The Bond Issue Controversy: An Analysis,” Groundviews, 26 March 2015, http://groundviews.org/2015/03/26/the-bond-issue-controversy-an-analysis/.] which implicates insider dealings in the issuance of government bonds at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Although investigations are ongoing, the resignation of a government minister[Note9: S. Aneez and R. Sirilal, “Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Resigns over Corruption Charges,” Reuters, 10 August 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-sri-lanka-corruption/sri-lanka-foreign-minister-resigns-over-corruption-charges-idUSKBN1AQ0Y5?il=0.] in response to the findings of this commission stands as a testament to the growing space for accountability. However, the government has limited much of this space to internal systems of accountability, with few, if any, public-facing mechanisms being introduced to facilitate greater public accountability and redress.

As a state party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the government of Sri Lanka has maintained its intention to strengthen and pursue effective anti-corruption measures. While a number of high-profile investigations have been initiated by an empowered anti-corruption apparatus—which includes the Attorney General’s Department, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, and Financial Crimes Investigation Division—very few investigations have led to major prosecutions.[Note10: “Sri Lanka Becomes More Corrupt,” Daily Mirror, 25 January 2017, http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/Sri-Lanka-becomes-more-corrupt-122724.html.] Despite the government’s positive intentions, in one year, Sri Lanka dropped 12 places in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index to rank ninety-fifth out of 176 countries in 2016.[Note11: Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index 2016, 25 January 2017, http://bit.ly/2j3Y63K. ]

The government has made significant progress, however, in relation to public access to information. Fulfilling a key component of the current government’s campaign promises, Sri Lanka passed robust legislation on the right to information in 2016[Note12: Right to Information Act, No. 12 of 2016, https://www.law-democracy.org/live/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Sri-Lanka.RTI_.Aug16.official.pdf.] and strengthened it further with the introduction of specific rules and regulations in 2017.[Note13: “Sri Lanka Jumps to Third Place Globally on the RTI Rating,” Centre for Law and Democracy, 9 February 2017, https://www.law-democracy.org/live/sri-lanka-jumps-to-third-place-globally-on-the-rti-rating/.] According to quality assessments by the Centre for Law and Democracy, the country’s legal framework for enhancing the right to information is currently rated the best in the region and third best in the world.[Note14: “Global Right to Information Rating – Sri Lanka,” Centre for Law and Democracy, 2017, http://www.rti-rating.org/country-data/scoring/?country_name=Sri%20Lanka. ] However, beyond commendable legislative enactment, Sri Lanka now faces the greater challenge of ensuring successful implementation of related provisions.

According to the Open Government Index[Note15: “WJP Open Government Index 2015,” World Justice Project, 2015, http://bit.ly/2EEcLdA. ] compiled by the World Justice Project in 2015, Sri Lanka ranks seventy-third of 102 countries on citizen perceptions of the effectiveness of civic participation mechanisms, including the protection of freedoms of expression and association.[Note16: World Justice Project, World Justice Project: Open Government Index - 2015 Report, 2015, http://bit.ly/1xldRot.] Although Sri Lanka has witnessed an upward trajectory in the overall exercise of freedoms since 2015, the Freedom House Index[Note17: “Freedom in the World 2017 – Sri Lanka,” Freedom House.] continues to rank the country’s freedom status as “partly free,” indicating scope for further deepening political rights and civil liberties. In particular, the index considers sustained efforts to foster accountable institutions, protect the independence of the media, and enforce minority rights of urgent importance.[Note18: “Freedom in the World 2017 – Sri Lanka Profile,” Freedom House, 2017, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2017/sri-lanka.] Similarly, while laws that curtail the freedom of the press are invoked less frequently—and reports of attacks on journalists have decreased[Note19: “Freedom in the World 2017 – Sri Lanka,” Freedom House.]—the persistence of isolated incidents of manipulation and hostility[Note20: “News Websites Asked to Obtain Registration before March 31,” Ada Derana, 3 March 2016, http://www.adaderana.lk/news/34412/news-websites-asked-to-obtain-registration-before-march-31; and “Joint Opposition Condemns PM's Views on Media,” Daily Mirror, 19 February 2016, http://www.dailymirror.lk/105702/joint-opposition-condemns-pm-s-views-on-media.] indicate that the press in Sri Lanka is still rated “not free.”[Note21: “Freedom of the Press 2017 – Sri Lanka,” Freedom House.]

In general, the wider enabling environment for open government remains largely conducive to the achievement of impactful results. For instance, the government has taken encouraging steps toward transitional justice and post-conflict reconciliation—most notably with the recent enactment of legislation[Note22: Office on Missing Persons (Establishment, Administration and Discharge of Functions) Act, No. 14 of 2016, http://bit.ly/2BRJr0g.] to operationalise an Office of Missing Persons.[Note23: “President Signs Office of Missing Persons Act,” Daily News, 20 July 2017, http://www.dailynews.lk/2017/07/20/local/122698/president-signs-office-missing-persons-act.] This office will have powers to investigate the cases of thousands of people who disappeared during the years of internal conflict, recommend compensation to bereaved families, and empower them to take legal action where necessary.[Note24: “Sri Lanka: Office of Missing Persons Seeks 'disappeared,'” BBC News, 25 May 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-36378789.] Initiatives such as this reinforce the accountability of government; provide opportunities to build, or restore, trust between citizens and their government; and thereby, encourage constructive public participation in decision-making processes.

However, as fissures begin to appear in the political coalition,[Note25: “Sri Lanka President Battles to Keep Coalition, Ultimatum Backfires,” Economy Next, 15 July 2017, http://bit.ly/2Eggb8N; and M. Mushtaq, “Corruption Crippling Sri Lanka’s Coalition Government,” Asia Times, 16 August 2017, http://bit.ly/2BRI5m2.] and rumblings of social disquiet intensify among fundamental ethno-religious groups,[Note26: T. Nazeer, “Sri Lanka: Buddhist Leader Stokes Anti-Muslim Tension,” Al Jazeera, 27 May 2017, http://bit.ly/2GJYnB1; and J. Fernando and S. Wettimuny, “Religious Violence in Sri Lanka: A New Perspective on an Old Problem,” DailyFT, 26 May 2017, http://bit.ly/2EcWRZT.] the effective operation of strong national institutions remains an indispensable precondition of open government in Sri Lanka. Inadequate management of public finances[Note27: E. Fernandez, L. Rakoczy, and B. Picari, Sri Lanka Public Financial Management: Assessment Report (Washington, DC: United States Agency for International Development, 2015), http://bit.ly/2FH0TqC.] and limited fiscal transparency[Note28: “Open Budget Survey 2017 – Sri Lanka,” International Budget Partnership, 2017, http://bit.ly/2BTfPzj.] have burdened public service delivery and engendered space for corruption. According to the Open Budget Survey conducted by the International Budget Partnership in 2017, Sri Lanka provides the public with limited budget information and provides few opportunities for the public to engage in the budget process.[Note29: “Open Budget Survey 2017 – Sri Lanka,” International Budget Partnership.]

2.2 Scope of Action Plan in Relation to National Context

Sri Lanka’s first action plan aims to address some of the major open government challenges that the country faces. These include incremental measures to implement the Right to Information Act, increase transparency in decision making in a number of thematic areas, reform legislation that inhibits access to information, involve civil society in decision making through opportunities for civic participation, and strengthen the overarching framework of anti-corruption efforts. However, in light of the broader national context illustrated above, the IRM researcher recognises that the scope of the action plan may be expanded to include and address a number of unattended, high-priority areas that continue to affect Sri Lanka.

Although central to the values of open government, the introduction and strengthening of public accountability remain largely beyond the primary purview of the existing action plan. With few exceptions, no other commitment explicitly calls on public officers, or government, to hold themselves directly answerable to the citizens they serve. Exceptions include the commitments to introduce grievance redress mechanisms related to procurement by local government (see Commitment 11) and to ensure the safety and availability of affordable medicines (see Commitment 3). The Sri Lankan political landscape is becoming increasingly crowded with internal mechanisms of accountability.[Note30: “Sri Lanka: 8 Independent Commissions Nominated,” Asian Tribune, 19 November 2015, http://bit.ly/2Ecdwwv.] Opening such mechanisms to the public will not only allow unprecedented scrutiny of public service delivery but also demand that such mechanisms are thorough, expeditious, and transparent.

The introduction of strong legislation on the right to information[Note31: Right to Information Act, No. 12 of 2016, http://www.media.gov.lk/images/pdf_word/2016/12-2016_E.pdf.] stands as an important feature of this action plan. Concomitantly, a number of other commitments seek to enhance transparency in decision making, with the release of previously undisclosed information being prescribed in a number of areas, including education, environment, health, information and communications technology, and local government. Most of these commitments relate to the publication of government services information and often involve the removal of legislative barriers that have hindered transparency in the past. Despite intensifying scrutiny of the efficacy of public financial management, only three commitments in the action plan seek to introduce or promote greater fiscal transparency.[Note32: The Ministry of Health commits to publishing a detailed health budget (see commitment 3) and details of the budget allocated for chronic kidney disease (see commitment 1). The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption commits to submitting a budget of its projected expenditures, with public justification (see Commitment 16).  ] None of these commitments entail public participation in the budget process.

In the context of public participation, several commitments in the action plan improve space for active civil society engagement. Noticeably, government stakeholders propose to increase the involvement of civil society and citizens in decision making, most often by introducing multistakeholder committees to review, or monitor, the formulation and implementation of government policies. However, indicative of the scope for further deepening civic participation, few—if any—commitments empower citizens and civil society to proactively set the agenda or lead decision making. A notable exception lies in the proposed establishment of a multistakeholder committee—though of unspecified composition—to prepare a strategic plan for the prevention of chronic kidney disease (see Commitment 1). 

Consequently, expanding the scope of the action plan to include commitments that enhance public accountability, promote fiscal transparency, and deepen civic participation collectively stand to strengthen public institutions, and further foster the practice of open government in Sri Lanka. Importantly, in these efforts, the government should embrace the transformative role of technology as a cross-cutting tool to address many of the identified challenges. While this first action plan involves limited use of technology to promote open government, future action plans may choose to better leverage its expanding potential.


III. Leadership and Multistakeholder Process 
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The government and a network of civil society organisations collaborated to conduct a series of public consultations across Sri Lanka towards the development of the action plan. While these consultations were generally representative, prior measures to raise awareness of OGP could have benefitted action plan development. Although a multistakeholder forum existed during implementation of the plan, meetings were irregular, and consultations were limited to select government and civil society representatives.

3.1 Leadership

This subsection describes the OGP leadership and institutional context for OGP in Sri Lanka. Table 3.1 summarises this structure while the narrative section (below) provides additional detail.

Table 3.1: OGP Leadership

1. Structure

Yes

No

Is there a clearly designated Point of Contact for OGP (individual)?

 

 

Shared

Single

Is there a single lead agency on OGP efforts?

 

 

Yes

No

Is the head of government leading the OGP initiative?

 

2. Legal Mandate

Yes

No

Is the government’s commitment to OGP established through an official, publicly released mandate?

 

Is the government’s commitment to OGP established through a legally binding mandate?

 

3. Continuity and Instability

Yes

No

Was there a change in the organisation(s) leading or involved with the OGP initiatives during the action plan implementation cycle?

 

Was there a change in the executive leader during the duration of the OGP action plan cycle?

 

 

Under the Constitution,[Note33: Sri Lanka Const. (as amended up to 15 May 2015), http://bit.ly/2lX5kUe.] Sri Lanka is a unitary state, led by an executive President who is head of state and government. As a democracy, the state comprises executive, legislative, and judicial branches, with each exercising varying checks and balances on decision-making power. In addition, the presence of provincial councils, districts, and municipalities at the local level has contributed to limited decentralisation of power and the transfer of administrative authority to subnational governments. However, it does not follow that OGP consultations took place across every level of government in Sri Lanka (see Section 3.2, Intragovernmental Participation).

The commitment to OGP, and the first national action plan, emerged as an extension of the government’s mandate of good governance, through which it promised greater openness, transparency, and accountability.[Note34: “Maithripala Sirisena’s 100 Day Work Programme; Detailed Diary Description,” Colombo Telegraph, 20 December 2014, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/maithripala-sirisenas-100-day-work-programme-detailed-diary-description/; and “71 out of 100: Yahapalanaya’s 100-Day Programme in Retrospect,” The Sunday Times, 8 January 2017, http://www.sundaytimes.lk/170108/news/71-out-of-100-yahapalanayas-100-day-programme-in-retrospect-223236.html.] Although not legally binding, this mandate stood as a key feature of the government’s successful election manifesto in 2015[Note35: New Democratic Front, Manifesto - Compassionate Government, Maithri, December 2014, http://bit.ly/1xXjnNY.] and continues to inform public political discourse. Beyond this, the Cabinet of Ministers also endorsed a declaration to join and participate in OGP.[Note36: “Sri Lanka Joins 70-Nation Open Government Partnership,” The Sunday Times, 30 October 2016, http://bit.ly/2GNb1zw.] This declaration serves as an executive order or directive of formal government policy.[Note37: Mr. Harim Peiris (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), interview by IRM researcher, 9 August 2017. ]

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is the lead agency responsible for coordinating and implementing the national action plan.[Note38: P. Weerakoon, “Open Government for All,” Daily FT, 21 June 2016, http://bit.ly/2ECoB7X.] To do this, the MFA established a dedicated OGP Unit. The government point of contact leads the unit,[Note39: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher.] and an assistant director[Note40: Ms. Prashanthi Krishnamoorthy (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), interview by IRM researcher.] and a few other ministry officials provide support. Generally, the MFA holds responsibility for facilitating civil society participation and coordinating intragovernmental efforts to meet commitments under the action plan. However, the ministry has little legal power to enforce policy changes or compel other agencies to take specific action on commitments (see Table 3.1 on the leadership and mandate of OGP in Sri Lanka).

The head of government, the President, is not directly involved in the development or implementation of the action plan. However, appointed as the chair of the National Steering Committee (NSC), the President technically leads the OGP initiative.[Note41: “Sri Lanka Reiterates Commitment to Open Government Principles,” Sunday Observer, 12 February 2017, http://bit.ly/2FJOzpk.] The Prime Minister, members of the cabinet, and members of a Joint Working Committee—comprising government and civil society partners—are also part of the proceedings.[Note42: “Steering Committee to Formulate Open Government Partnership Action Plan,” Daily News, 12 October 2016, http://bit.ly/2FJZkbm.] The Cabinet of Ministers appointed the members of the NSC, which is dedicated to providing guidance and overseeing implementation of the action plan.[Note43: “Sri Lanka Reiterates Commitment to Open Government Principles.” ] The exact number of members in the NSC is unconfirmed.

While there is no overarching budget allocation for OGP commitments, the 2017 national budget contains a dedicated byline for OGP. This budget specifically allocates around 25,000,000 Sri Lankan rupees (USD 162,000) to support activities pertaining to the legislation on the Right to Information.[Note44: Ministry of Finance, Budget Estimates 2017 – Volume I, Fiscal Year 2017, p. 117, http://bit.ly/2s5Kbz5.] In addition, according to the OGP point of contact at the MFA, internal MFA budgets do contain certain provisions for the coordination of activities relating to OGP.[Note45: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher. ]

3.2 Intragovernmental Participation

This subsection describes which government institutions were involved at various stages in OGP. The next section will describe which nongovernmental organisations were involved in OGP.

Table 3.2 Participation in OGP by Government Institutions

 

How did institutions participate?

Ministries, Departments, and Agencies

Legislative

Judiciary (including quasi-judicial agencies)

Other (including constitutional independent or autonomous bodies)

Subnational Governments

Consult: These institutions observed or were invited to observe the action plan but may not be responsible for commitments in the action plan.

17[Note46: Ministry of Health, Health Education Bureau, National Medicinal Drug Regulatory Authority, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Central Environmental Authority, Coast Conservation and Coastal Resource Management Department, Department of Wildlife Conservation, Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, National Committee on Women, Ministry of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms, Ministry of Justice, Office of the President, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Ministry of Public Administration and Management.]

0

1[Note47: Attorney General’s Department. ]

7[Note48: Presidential Task Force on Prevention of Chronic Kidney Disease, Information and Communication Technology Agency, National Procurement Commission, Elections Commission, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, Sri Lanka Institute of Local Governance, and Right to Information Commission.]

0

Propose: These institutions proposed commitments for inclusion in the action plan.

0

0

0

0

0

Implement:  These institutions are responsible for implementing commitments in the action plan whether or not they proposed the commitments.

17[Note49: Ministry of Health, Health Education Bureau, National Medicinal Drug Regulatory Authority, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Central Environmental Authority, Coast Conservation and Coastal Resource Management Department, Department of Wildlife Conservation, Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, National Committee on Women, Ministry of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms, Ministry of Justice, Office of the President, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, and Ministry of Public Administration and Management.]

1[Note50: Parliament of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.]

2[Note51: Attorney General’s Department and Sri Lanka Judges’ Institute.]

7[Note52: Presidential Task Force on Prevention of Chronic Kidney Disease, Information and Communication Technology Agency, National Procurement Commission, Elections Commission, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, Sri Lanka Institute of Local Governance, and Right to Information Commission.]

1[Note53: North Western Province Environmental Authority.]

 

Originally positioned within the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) took over primary responsibility for leading and coordinating the OGP initiative in April 2016.[Note54: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher. ] Before the involvement of other government institutions in the development of the national action plan, the MFA collaborated with civil society to conduct 10 countrywide public consultations. The consultations allowed citizens from each province to submit issues to be considered for inclusion in the action plan.[Note55: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher; and Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere (Transparency International Sri Lanka), interview by IRM researcher, 29 August 2017.] The civil society engagement process in the development and implementation of the action plan is described in more detail in Section 3.3.

Following the consultations, a Civil Society Steering Committee filtered the public submissions to identify thematic areas of interest and presented a shortlist of pertinent issues to the MFA for further consideration.[Note56: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher; and Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.]. The committee comprises representatives from 13 civil society organisations (CSOs).[Note57: Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka, 17 August 2016, p. 4, http://bit.ly/2nLf8Dw.] Thereafter, the MFA approached representatives from government institutions that exercised purview over the shortlisted subjects and issues to conduct internal, informal, intragovernmental consultations.[Note58: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher. ] These institutions included government ministries, agencies, departments, and independent commissions in the areas of corruption, education, environment, health, information and communication technology, local government, the right to information, and women. As the chosen thematic area dictated which institution would be involved, the legislative and judicial branches were not called upon to participate in the development of commitments under the action plan.

Concurrently, the MFA invited CSOs on the Civil Society Steering Committee who had relevant subject expertise to engage with counterpart government agencies and initiate dialogue to translate the issue into an OGP commitment.[Note59: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher; and Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.] The MFA acted as process facilitators to flesh out the commitments and ensure the robust engagement of the various government institutions with their civil society counterparts.[Note60: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher. ] The Civil Society Steering Committee finalised a draft CSO action plan[Note61: Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka.] in August 2016. After this, and prior to the submission of the draft action plan for cabinet approval (obtained in October 2016), the MFA pursued more senior-level consultations.[Note62: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher. ] According to the executive director of Transparency International Sri Lanka—the primary CSO coordinator—the government made only minor changes to the CSO action plan, retaining most of the original commitments.[Note63: Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.] The MFA confirmed this.[Note64: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher. ]

Given the procedure and chronology of developments, the themes included in the action plan were, in essence, chosen by the Civil Society Steering Committee, drawing primarily from submissions obtained through public consultations and scattered input from relevant government institutions where necessary. The establishment of the National Steering Committee (NSC, see section 3.1) in October 2016 sought to expand the breadth of government agencies involved in the OGP process.[Note65: “Steering Committee to Formulate Open Government Partnership Action Plan.” ] However, as this body was created around the same time as the national action plan, the NSC could not influence the commitments included in the plan. Instead, the NSC was only mandated with overseeing and guiding the implementation of commitments.

In terms of implementation, the lead government institutions identified in the action plan assumed primary responsibility for ensuring progress on their respective commitments.[Note66: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher; and Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.] Based on interactions of the IRM researcher, most of these institutions unofficially appointed a dedicated representative for OGP, who in turn was tasked with coordinating the achievement of the various milestones under each commitment and liaising with other government and civil society stakeholders where necessary. The researcher found that the assigned representative generally held a senior position in the institution, ranging from assistants and additional secretaries at government ministries to chairpersons and directors of national committees and public commissions (see Section VI for the full list of interviewed government stakeholders).

The legislature, the Parliament of Sri Lanka, took on a largely limited, supportive role. That is, Parliament was to facilitate the implementation of commitments involving the enactment or amendment of specific legislation.[Note67: See commitments 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 19, 20, and 21.] The participation of the judiciary involved only specific input from the Attorney General’s Department.[Note68: See commitments 14 and 18.] The action plan also consigned the involvement of subnational governments to the later stage of implementation. The North Western Provincial Council were involved in a commitment pertaining to local environmental legislation, while all 335 local authorities were expected to support the implementation of a transparent and accountable procurement system. Table 3.2 above details which institutions were involved in OGP at various stages.

3.3 Civil Society Engagement

As indicated in section 3.2, civil society organisations (CSOs) played a central role in the development of the national action plan. Early in the process, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) recognised Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) as a key civil society focal point on OGP. The MFA proceeded to delegate the responsibility of coordinating the participation and engagement of other CSOs to TISL.[Note69: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher. ] In early 2016, TISL conducted informal information sessions for other CSOs[Note70: Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka.] and published newspaper articles[Note71: P. Weerakoon, “Open Government for All.”] to increase general awareness of OGP. TISL held a public event, co-organised with the MFA, to launch the OGP initiative in April 2016. A brainstorming exercise at the event featured participants listing pressing challenges in Sri Lanka, along with potential open government solutions.[Note72: Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka.]

TISL then shared an open invitation with a wide network of CSOs to nominate themselves to an interim CSO Steering Committee.[Note73: Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher. See also Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka.] According to TISL, this steering committee would support the organisation of wider consultations and draft commitments to submit to the government for potential inclusion in the national action plan.[Note74: Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher. See also Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka.]

In the countrywide consultation process that followed, 10 distinct consultations were held across all nine provinces, with citizens and civil society stakeholders contributing to inform the Sri Lanka open government agenda.[Note75: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher; and Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher. See also Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka.] These public consultations were jointly organised by government and civil society, and were conducted in the form of town-hall consultations in collaboration with district secretariats. Intent on encouraging active citizen participation and eliciting candid feedback, the organisers tried to ensure that the consultations were not overly formal or official-heavy.[Note76: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher. ] Therefore, the limited participation of government included the MFA operating as coordinating facilitators and the local government agency as the host institution.

No formal rules of participation existed for the 10 public consultations.[Note77: The 10 public consultations were conducted in Colombo (5 April 2017), Ratnapura (19 May 2017), Monaragala (20 May 217), Galle (26 May 2017), Trincomalee (31 May 2017), Jaffna (2 June 2017), Anuradhapura (8 June 2017), Kandy (9 June 2017), Puttalam (10 June 2017), and again in Colombo (20 June 2017). See Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka.] Generally, each consultation lasted half a day and elicited over 400 submissions on various topics from a diverse range of stakeholders, including local CSOs. In introducing the purpose of the consultations, the organisers focused on the term “good governance” in the context of improving government service delivery. This focus aimed to preclude the public from submitting issues unrelated to open government.[Note78: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher. ] Primarily, the geographic spread of the consultations assured diversity of participation. The decision to conduct the consultations at the district secretariats may have enhanced legitimacy and engendered a greater sense of accessibility among the general public.[Note79: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher. ] TISL noted that civil society organisations familiar with particular geographic areas took a lead role in coordinating the respective public consultations. In doing so, CSOs took particular effort to facilitate the participation of a representative and inclusive cross section of society—i.e., by seeking to balance gender, ethnicity, occupation, and income level.[Note80: Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.] However, according to TISL, the consultations had to be arranged and conducted within an accelerated time period to meet the exigencies of identifying issues and finalising the action plan. The fast pace partially compromised efforts to ensure as broad an audience as possible.[Note81: Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.]

TISL noted that through these consultations, the public reported over 400 submissions on different governance-related issues.[Note82: Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka.] The interim CSO Steering Committee sifted through these submissions to identify key issues and thematic areas that cut across the provinces. The committee thereby omitted issues that were unique to a particular region. Many of the reported issues were directly relevant to open government and formed the basis of nearly all the commitments in the action plan. TISL also noticed that the right to information—though not discussed at the public consultations—emerged as a cross-cutting thematic issue.[Note83: Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.] Therefore, the CSO Steering Committee adopted a nuanced position which saw the key issues emanating from public submissions being included as commitments in a draft action plan, alongside a commitment on the right to information that had not been reported by the public, but remained pertinent to open government.[Note84: Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.]

Next, select CSO members picked issues in line with their areas of expertise and proceeded to draft open government commitments to address the issues.[Note85: Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher. See also Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka.] The members now constituted the more formal OGP CSO Steering Committee. The government held a press conference in June 2016 to publicly present the chosen themes and introduce the final CSO Steering Committee.[Note86: Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka.] In July 2016, the CSOs and relevant line ministries and/or government agencies—i.e., those with purview over the selected issues or themes—held a joint meeting to deliberate and finalise the draft commitments.[Note87: Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka.] Following this meeting, TISL uploaded the draft commitments on its website and invited public comments over 17 days.[Note88: Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka.] The commitments were further revised and fine-tuned through deliberations among the CSOs and their government counterparts, local experts on open government, and international experts from OGP working groups.[Note89: Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka.]

The CSO Steering Committee submitted the final commitments to the MFA in the form of a CSO national action plan,[Note90: Transparency International Sri Lanka, Open Government Partnership: Civil Society Organisation National Action Plan (2016-18) – Sri Lanka.] to be edited, vetted, and reviewed in preparation for the approval of the cabinet. Section 3.2 outlines in more detail the role of intragovernmental participation in the development and implementation of the action plan.

Table 3.3: National OGP Process

Countries participating in OGP follow a set of requirements for consultation during development, implementation, and review of their OGP action plan. Table 3.3 summarises the performance of Sri Lanka during the 2016­–2018 action plan.

Key Steps Followed: 1 of 7

Before

1. Timeline Process & Availability

2. Advance Notice

Timeline and process available online prior to consultation

Yes

No

Advance notice of consultation

No

Yes

 

 

3. Awareness Raising

4. Multiple Channels

Government carried out awareness-raising activities

 Yes

 No

4a. Online consultations:     

 Yes

  No

 

 

4b. In-person consultations:

 Yes

  No

 

5. Documentation & Feedback

Summary of comments provided

 Yes

  No

 

During

6. Regular Multistakeholder Forum

6a. Did a forum exist?

Yes

No

6b. Did it meet regularly?          

Yes

No[Note91: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government stakeholders considered the working groups important, but they did not regularly convene. That is, no systematic process was put in place or publicised.]

 

 

After

7. Government Self-Assessment Report

7a. Annual self-assessment report published?        

Yes

No

7b. Report available in English and administrative language?

Yes

No

 

 

7c. Two-week public comment period on report?

Yes

No

7d. Report responds to key IRM recommendations?

Yes

No

 

 

                 

 

Table 3.4: Level of Public Influence

The IRM has adapted the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) “Spectrum of Participation” to apply to OGP.[Note92: “IAP2’s Public Participation Spectrum,” International Association for Public Participation, http://bit.ly/2qVYaFz. ] This spectrum shows the potential level of public influence on the contents of the action plan. In the spirit of OGP, most countries should aspire for “collaborative.”

 

Level of public input
During development of action plan
During implementation of action plan
Empower

The government handed decision-making power to members of the public.

 

 

Collaborate

There was iterative dialogue AND the public helped set the agenda.

 

Involve

The government gave feedback on how public inputs were considered.

 

 

Consult

The public could give inputs.

 

Inform

The government provided the public with information on the action plan.

 

 

No Consultation

No consultation

 

 

3.4 Consultation During Implementation

As part of their participation in OGP, governments commit to identify a forum to enable regular multistakeholder consultation on OGP implementation. This can be an existing entity or a new one. This section summarises that information.

The National Steering Committee (NSC) is chaired by the President of Sri Lanka and comprises other government and civil society stakeholders (see Section 3.1). The motivation behind the appointment of the committee was to build a multistakeholder forum to monitor and oversee the implementation of the action plan.[Note93: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher. ] However, early in 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) recognised that convening the NSC and its high-profile membership would be challenging. Therefore, the MFA decided to establish a more functional multistakeholder Working Group, chaired by the deputy minister of foreign affairs.[Note94: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher. ]

The Working Group included representatives from the government institutions leading commitment implementation, members of their civil society organisation (CSO) counterparts, and representatives from the MFA’s OGP Unit.[Note95: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher. ] The group met twice at the MFA, once in April 2017 and once in August 2017. The lead government institution reported progress on each commitment through a brief two-minute presentation. The CSO counterparts were then provided an opportunity to respond to the presentation and raise questions and concerns regarding the reported progress.[Note96: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher; and Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.] According to a representative from Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), the forum served as a unique and useful platform for ensuring accountability. The forum also afforded space for discussion and cross-fertilisation of ideas between, and among, government and civil society participants.[Note97: Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.] 

The not fixed but functional composition of the Working Group largely limited participation to stakeholders directly involved in the implementation process. At least one person represented each lead agency and CSO counterpart under the 12 thematic commitments.[Note98: Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher; and Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher.] Although protocol for the presentations existed, the forum did not have other formal rules of engagement or participation. While the MFA confirmed that the forum proceedings were not confidential, the minutes were not made public, nor were there any open invitations for wider participation beyond the key implementing stakeholders.[Note99: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher; and Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.] Before the Working Group’s creation—through January 2017—stakeholders met in smaller groups, arranged thematically, to discuss progress on the implementation of the commitments.[Note100: Mr. Harim Peiris, interview by IRM researcher; and Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.]

Concurrently, civil society created an informal forum to monitor implementation. First convened in early 2016, it comprised the 13 representatives of the CSO Steering Committee.[Note101: Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.] This forum meets on a quarterly basis to discuss progress on commitments, share new ideas and innovations, and explore how other CSOs can be supported to promote open government. According to the executive director of TISL, the forum welcomes the participation of other interested CSOs, but existing members are not proactively pursuing expansion.[Note102: Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.] The government is currently not represented at this forum, and meeting minutes are not made public.[Note103: Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.] TISL has independently developed an online tracker[Note104: “Tracker – Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan – Nov 2016-Jun 2018,” Transparency International Sri Lanka, 2016, http://www.tisrilanka.org/ogp/.] on its website to track and present the progress of the action plan’s full set of commitments and milestones. Although the tracker was presented to the MFA, TISL noted that the ministry did not publish it at the Working Group sessions, citing the necessity to cross-check and vet related findings.[Note105: Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, interview by IRM researcher.] The tracker does not yet provide opportunity for public interaction.

3.5 Self-Assessment

The OGP Articles of Governance require that participating countries publish a self-assessment report three months after the end of the first year of implementation. The self-assessment report must be made available for public comments for a two-week period. This section assesses compliance with these requirements and the quality of the report.

As of December 2017, the government had not published its self-assessment report. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) did not provide a specific date for publication, but an MFA representative confirmed that the MFA is collecting information from the relevant line ministries and government agencies. The representative also confirmed that the report will be made available for public comment.[Note106: Ms. Prashanthi Krishnamoorthy (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), interview by IRM researcher, 1 December 2017. ]


IV. Commitments 
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All OGP-participating governments develop OGP action plans that include concrete commitments over a two-year period. Governments begin their OGP action plans by sharing existing efforts related to open government, including specific strategies and ongoing programmes.

Commitments should be appropriate to each country’s unique circumstances and challenges. OGP commitments should also be relevant to OGP values laid out in the OGP Articles of Governance and Open Government Declaration signed by all OGP-participating countries.[Note107: Open Government Partnership: Articles of Governance, June 2012 (updated March 2014 and April 2015), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/attachments/OGP_Articles-Gov_Apr-21-2015.pdf.]

What Makes a Good Commitment?

Recognising that achieving open government commitments often involves a multiyear process, governments should attach time frames and benchmarks to their commitments that indicate what is to be accomplished each year, whenever possible. This report details each of the commitments the country included in its action plan and analyses the first year of their implementation.

The indicators used by the IRM to evaluate commitments are as follows:

       Specificity: This variable assesses the level of specificity and measurability of each commitment. The options are:

o   High: Commitment language provides clear, verifiable activities and measurable deliverables for achievement of the commitment’s objective.

o   Medium: Commitment language describes activity that is objectively verifiable and includes deliverables, but these deliverables are not clearly measurable or relevant to the achievement of the commitment’s objective.

o   Low: Commitment language describes activity that can be construed as verifiable but requires some interpretation on the part of the reader to identify what the activity sets out to do and determine what the deliverables would be.

o   None: Commitment language contains no measurable activity, deliverables, or milestones.

       Relevance: This variable evaluates the commitment’s relevance to OGP values. Based on a close reading of the commitment text as stated in the action plan, the guiding questions to determine the relevance are:

o   Access to Information: Will the government disclose more information or improve the quality of the information disclosed to the public?

o   Civic Participation: Will the government create or improve opportunities or capabilities for the public to inform or influence decisions?

o   Public Accountability: Will the government create or improve opportunities to hold officials answerable for their actions?

o   Technology & Innovation for Transparency and Accountability: Will technological innovation be used in conjunction with one of the other three OGP values to advance either transparency or accountability?[Note108: IRM Procedures Manual, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/IRM-Procedures-Manual-v4_Sept2017.docx.]

       Potential impact: This variable assesses the potential impact of the commitment, if completed as written. The IRM researcher uses the text from the action plan to:

o   Identify the social, economic, political, or environmental problem;

o   Establish the status quo at the outset of the action plan; and

o   Assess the degree to which the commitment, if implemented, would impact performance and tackle the problem.

       Starred commitments are considered exemplary OGP commitments. In order to receive a star, a commitment must meet several criteria:

o   Starred commitments will have “medium” or “high” specificity. A commitment must lay out clearly defined activities and steps to make a judgement about its potential impact.

o   The commitment’s language should make clear its relevance to opening government. Specifically, it must relate to at least one of the OGP values of Access to Information, Civic Participation, or Public Accountability.

o   The commitment would have a "transformative" potential impact if completely implemented.[Note109: The International Experts Panel changed this criterion in 2015. For more information, visit http://www.opengovpartnership.org/node/5919. ]

o   The government must make significant progress on this commitment during the action plan implementation period, receiving an assessment of "substantial" or "complete" implementation.

Based on these criteria, Sri Lanka’s action plan contained no starred commitments.

Finally, the tables in this section present an excerpt of the wealth of data the IRM collects during its progress reporting process. For the full dataset for Sri Lanka and all OGP-participating countries, see the OGP Explorer.[Note110: “OGP Explorer and IRM Data,” Open Government Partnership, bit.ly/1KE2Wil.]

General Overview of the Commitments

The action plan comprises nine thematic areas, including corruption, education, environment, health, information and communication technology, and the right to information. Within these thematic areas, the action plan contained 12 broad commitments, with each commitment being further divisible into more specific subcommitments. Following island-wide consultations led by both government and civil society, a steering committee of civil society organisations created the first draft of the action plan. The committee submitted this version for government review and approval. The government formally submitted the final version as Sri Lanka’s national action plan for 2016–2018.

Themes

While analysing commitments under the nine thematic areas of the national action plan, this IRM report further divides selected larger commitments into smaller ones for greater clarity and accessibility. Specifically, the broad commitments and concomitant milestones relating to corruption, local government, the right to information, and women have all been broken down into different commitments. In these divisions, the report distinctly explores areas that exhibit a common thematic focus.


V. General Recommendations 
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While the action plan contained a wide range of commitments, government and civil society stakeholders identified a number of areas for prioritisation in the next action plan. These include awareness raising around the new right to information legislation and more engagement with independent commissions in implementing commitments. Moving forward, key IRM recommendations include facilitating greater participation in the OGP processes and enhancing fiscal transparency and public participation in government audits.

This section aims to inform development of the next action plan and guide completion of the current action plan. It is divided into two sections: 1) those civil society and government priorities identified while elaborating this report and 2) the recommendations of the IRM.

5.1 Stakeholder Priorities

The current action plan was framed around expansive commitments. These commitments prioritise strengthening the framework of anti-corruption efforts, and the introduction and implementation of robust legislation on the right to information. These two themes are central to good governance. Thus, they are key to the achievement of the government’s election campaign promises and overarching political mandate. Generally, the progress and implementation of milestones under many of the commitments have achieved limited completion. However, the extent of completion of the right to information milestones, in particular, reflects this prioritisation.

Looking ahead to the next action plan, government and civil society stakeholders recognise that strong and accountable institutions form the bedrock of open government. Some stakeholders prescribed building the capacity of public officers to adapt and respond to increasing transparency and public participation in decision making. Others stressed the importance of strengthening public service organisations with participatory tools and accountability mechanisms that facilitate more open government. These broad prescriptions are not mutually exclusive. Many stakeholders considered Sri Lanka’s first action plan—and first experience with the OGP process—a learning experience. They remained keen, therefore, to reflect on whether certain themes should be retained going forward.

More specifically, government and civil society stakeholders identified a number of topics and areas they would like to see in future action plans. Some of these are highlighted below:

       Information and communication technology: Civil society stakeholders expressed interest in introducing commitments to foster greater cross connection and information sharing between government agencies to promote open data.

       Health: Government stakeholders shared interest in improving data collection procedures to support the development of key health indicators and engage the public in evidence-informed decision making.

       Education: Civil society stakeholders supported the pursuit of dedicated measures to improve data management at the Ministry of Education. These measures would improve transparency in the selection, appointment, and transfer of public teachers.

       Local government: Civil society stakeholders highlighted the importance of including commitments to facilitate training and awareness among local authority officials. Such efforts would advance effective implementation of accountability mechanisms.

       Right to information: Civil society stakeholders would like dedicated and comprehensive right to information awareness programmes to be part of the government’s right to information agenda. Government and civil society stakeholders also would like to explore how technology could be leveraged to facilitate better implementation of the RTI Act.

       Capacity-Building: A civil society representative highlighted the value of strengthening the capacity of the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration (SLIDA) to conduct training programs on RTI and the anti-corruption framework. This may include introducing relevant modules into existing programs or developing separate programs focusing on RTI and anti-corruption. SLIDA is the country’s primary public-sector training institute and is responsible for training new recruits to the government’s administrative service.

Stakeholders also suggested that the Sri Lanka Institute of Local Governance (SLILG) may also benefit from similar capacity building on RTI and anti-corruption. The SLILG is responsible for enhancing the institutional and management capabilities of government officers at the provincial and local level.

       Independent Commissions: Civil society stakeholders recognized the preponderance of independent commissions in Sri Lanka’s political landscape. One of these commissions—the Commission for the Investigation of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC)—is already involved in implementing the commitment on anti-corruption. Civil society would like to expore how other commissions could be similarly engaged in implementing the action plan.

5.2 IRM Recommendations

The researcher invites stakeholders to select and tailor relevant initiatives from this list of recommendations arranged under five thematic areas. The themes cover ownership, process engineering, fiscal transparency and participatory auditing, local accountability, and anti-corruption enforcement. If fully incorporated in the next action plan, these recommendations could propel Sri Lanka forward in achieving effective open government.

1. Ownership: Pursue activities that promote greater ownership of the OGP initiative.

This set of process-oriented recommendations calls on government and civil society stakeholders to proactively assume greater ownership of the OGP initiative. The recommendations recognise that several commitments in the action plan have been stymied by disassociated, or disempowered, leadership and require renewed impetus to advance.

To bridge this deficit of ownership, the IRM researcher suggests the following:

       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. These campaigns may be conducted prior to, and after, the adoption of the national action plan, and may be directed through multiple channels.

       Assess how OGP can be used as an implementation and accountability platform for ongoing reforms in the country. This could include assistance with improving the business climate, social sector reforms, transitional justice, and reforms in constitutional commissions. The lead OGP government authority could provide biannual reports detailing specific measures taken to include the principles of open government in key reform processes.

       Formally appoint a dedicated authority—or open government champion—to coordinate and oversee the development and implementation of the OGP action plan. This lead authority could operate either as an individual or as a team. The authority should have increased powers to compel other government institutions to abide by their commitments under OGP or risk appropriate sanction.  

       Conduct a comprehensive feasibility assessment involving relevant government and civil society stakeholders prior to finalising the next action plan. Through this assessment, stakeholders may balance ambition with ensuring each commitment is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.

Tangential to this assessment, an inventory of necessary resources may be identified and allocated early on. Every institution responsible for a commitment should ideally appoint a senior official as an open government representative. This representative would secure sustained buy-in at the institutional level and ensure that a commitment is implemented to completion.

2. Process Engineering: Facilitate inclusive and meaningful participation in the OGP process.

This broad set of recommendations aims to ensure that government and civil society stakeholders adhere to accepted protocol in the development and implementation of the action plan. In particular, the recommendations recognise that Sri Lanka followed only one of seven key steps in the national OGP process. Thus, it did not fully facilitate inclusive or meaningful stakeholder participation in the development and implementation of the action plan. 

Identifying the interventions necessary at different stages of the OGP process, the IRM researcher recommends the following:

       Complete all key steps in the OGP process pertaining to the development of the action plan. This includes (1) publishing the timeline and process, (2) providing advance notice of consultations, (3) conducting awareness-raising activities, (4) effectively leveraging technology in conducting public consultations, and (5) providing and publishing a summary of comments obtained through the consultations.  

The IRM researcher strongly encourages government and civil society stakeholders to refer to the updated OGP guidelines to inform the development of the next action plan. Please refer to the OGP website for a full list of tools and resources: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/resources.

       Complete all key steps in the OGP process pertaining to the implementation of the action plan. This includes introducing and publish an agenda and convening the multistakeholder forum on a fixed, or monthly, schedule. This forum may be further enhanced by proactively and inclusively inviting civil society stakeholders besides those on the action plan to participate and contribute to proceedings.

Sri Lanka should aim to advance from “consult” to a minimum of “collaborate” on the spectrum of participation.[Note675: “IAP2’s Public Participation Spectrum,” International Association for Public Participation, http://bit.ly/2qVYaFz.] At this level, citizens will be able to engage in iterative dialogue and set the agenda on implementation of the action plan.

The IRM researcher strongly encourages government and civil society stakeholders to refer to the updated OGP guidelines to inform the implementation of the action plan. Please refer to the OGP website for a full list of tools and resources: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/resources.

       Develop an online tracking system to monitor and publish information on the progress of commitments. This system may be curated by the point of contact at the lead government agency. OGP representatives appointed from each public authority who are responsible for implementing a commitment (see IRM recommendation on ownership) can provide and update information in the system on a quarterly basis.

Further steps may also be taken to receive public and civil society comments on the reported progress of implementation. The government should also create clear mechanisms for the relevant agencies to respond to these questions or comments. Encouraging candid reporting and incorporating the values of open government in the implementation of the action plan stand to be transformative initiatives. In addition, the updated information on progress may also support and inform the government’s self-assessment report.

       Coordinate with legislative authorities, or lobby members of Parliament, to establish a legal framework or mandate for the pursuit and operation of open government in Sri Lanka.

This legal framework may mandate, among other things, the appointment of the open government champion and the appointment and role of open government representatives across government institutions. It could also—more pertinent to this recommendation—include a permanent and responsive mechanism for public consultation.

3. Fiscal Transparency and Participatory Auditing: Enhance fiscal transparency and public participation in government audit processes.

Greater transparency and public participation in audit processes may not only combat corruption but may also improve the management of public finances and strengthen public institutions. Hence, to strengthen open and participatory auditing in Sri Lanka, the IRM researcher recommends the inclusion of the following activities and initiatives in the next action:

       Publish audit reports on relevant government websites and on the website of the supreme audit institution. These reports should be translated into all three languages and available in a standard, easily accessible format.

       Introduce a clear mechanism for citizens and civil society to track public authority compliance with the findings and recommendations in the respective audit reports.

This may include the development of an online portal, curated by the supreme audit institution. Relevant, pre-assigned public authorities can provide updates on implementation of the audit findings and recommendations. Steps may also be taken to receive public and civil society comments on the reported progress of implementation. The government should include provisions for the relevant agency to respond to resulting questions or comments.

       Establish mechanisms for the public to support the National Audit Commission in formulating its overarching audit programme. This may include public participation in select audit investigations.

This action may be viewed as part of wider efforts to institutionalise open government values in government auditing.

       Identify specific measures to further strengthen the autonomy and independence of audit institutions at all levels. These measures may include

o   Proactive publication of relevant budget allocations and expenditures by the supreme audit institution;

o   Pursuit of measures to move toward greater financial independence in terms of sources of funding for the supreme audit institution; or

o   Engagement of civil society to develop minimum criteria pertaining to the independence of a supreme audit institution and, thereafter, involvement of citizens and civil society in monitoring and evaluation to ensure that progressive steps are taken to meet the agreed criteria.

The specific, content-oriented recommendations above are subsumed under broader efforts to introduce greater fiscal transparency and public participation in budget-related processes across government. The Open Budget Index describes Sri Lanka as providing the public with limited budget information and few opportunities to engage in the budget process.[Note676: “Open Budget Survey 2017 – Sri Lanka,” International Budget Partnership, 2017, http://bit.ly/2BTfPzj.] Hence, the researcher has incorporated select, country-specific International Budget Partnership recommendations into the following suggestions:

       Publish online a detailed, yet accessible, statement on the financial position of the government. This disclosure will increase access to information on the performance of national budget proposals.

Concurrently engage the support of civil society organisations to provide more resources for publicising simplified national budget and financial information. These efforts can be executed through far-reaching channels, such as television programmes, radio shows, and town-hall consultations.

       Introduce participatory mechanisms for the general public to interact with relevant government representatives on the implementation of national or subnational budgets. The Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency[Note677: “Mechanisms of Public Participation,” Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency, 2015, http://www.fiscaltransparency.net/mechanisms/.] describes various mechanisms of public participation in budget processes. The government may explore these measures, which include social audits and participatory budgeting.

       Strengthen public participation in public finance management and generate new information on post-budget analyses. Detailed information may be published online. Simplified reports and summaries should be easily accessible through multiple channels and available in all three languages.

       Revisit incomplete commitments from the first action plan pertaining to budget or fiscal transparency (see Commitment 16, for example), and expedite and prioritise their completion.

4. Local Accountability: Strengthen public accountability through local government.

This set of recommendations seeks to foster and develop public accountability through local government, the lowest level of governance in Sri Lanka. Existing accountability mechanisms at the national level rarely, if ever, include a public-facing element and are often limited to internal systems of accountability.

Therefore, the IRM researcher proposes that local governments serve as a receptive conduit through which innovative tools of public accountability can be introduced. A number of tools have already been developed and applied internationally to enhance the public accountability of government bodies.[Note678: “Social Accountability E-Guide,” Social Development, The World Bank, 2017, http://bit.ly/2FeavNT; and K. Khadka and C. Bhattarai, Source Book for 21 Social Accountability Tools (Kathmandu: Programme for Accountability in Nepal, 2012), http://bit.ly/1hoEpN7.] Stakeholders should assess the Sri Lankan context to understand priority areas within local government that would benefit from increased public accountability.

Potential initiatives that are considered clearly relevant to public accountability at the local level must include a public-facing element. These initiatives must also call upon local authorities to justify their actions, act upon public feedback, and/or accept responsibility for the failure to complete a particular commitment. Such initiatives may include:

       Mandating independent and public auditing of local government expenditures and procurement;

       Introducing responsive complaints and appeals processes and mechanisms within the local authority (through these, citizens should be able to lodge, pursue, and track complaints against the authority for the failure to provide a particular service); and

       Conducting open and inclusive meetings with constituents of the local authority jurisdiction to explain council decisions and policies (these forums may empower citizens to discuss preferences and enable their contribution to setting the agenda).

Sri Lanka has over 330 local government authorities operating at three different levels. Thus, the researcher recommends that the government pilot potential initiatives with select local authorities, ensuring adequate geographic representation. If successful, the piloted initiatives may be scaled and introduced across all local government authorities in a phased manner.

It is also possible that successful implementation of these initiatives at the local level may encourage government institutions at the national level to follow suit. The national bodies could then introduce similar, appropriately tailored, measures to facilitate greater public accountability.

5. Anti-corruption Enforcement: Introduce public accountability in anti-corruption efforts.

The eradication of public corruption—along with the provision of a right to information—is an essential prerequisite to fostering open government. Thus, comprehensive efforts to ensure an effective anti-corruption framework are of utmost importance.

The action plan outlines many complementary measures to strengthen the anti-corruption framework in Sri Lanka. These measures include broadly enhancing public participation in corruption prevention, introducing independent monitoring of the implementation of obligations under the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and improving coordination among anti-corruption agencies. More specific measures also include amending legislation to permit the disclosure of information on political campaign financing and asset declarations.

Civil society stakeholders agree that these commitments will contribute to a stronger anti-corruption framework. However, public accountability—and, therefore, clear mechanisms for effective enforcement—remain notably absent. Therefore, this broad recommendation calls on government and civil society stakeholders to introduce specific provisions that allow the public to hold government and the state accountable for combating corruption.

As with the previous recommendation, initiatives that are considered clearly relevant to public accountability must include a public-facing element. They must also call upon the government to justify its actions, act upon public feedback, and/or accept responsibility for failure to meet a particular commitment. Beyond innovative new interventions, measures may include scaling existing commitments with clearly defined public accountability components. These components have been outlined through commitment-specific recommendations.

Table 5.1: Five Key Recommendations

1

Ownership: 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: 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: Introduce participatory mechanisms for the general public to interact with relevant government representatives on the implementation of national or subnational budgets. Measures may include social audits and participatory budgeting.

4

Local Accountability: Formally mandate and publish independent and public audits of local government expenditures and procurement.

5

Anti-corruption Enforcement: 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.


VI. Methodology and Sources 
VIEW MORE

The IRM progress report is written by researchers based in each OGP-participating country. All IRM reports undergo a process of quality control to ensure that the highest standards of research and due diligence have been applied.

Analysis of progress on OGP action plans is a combination of interviews, desk research, and feedback from nongovernmental stakeholder meetings. The IRM report builds on the findings of the government’s own self-assessment report and any other assessments of progress put out by civil society, the private sector, or international organisations.

Each IRM researcher carries out stakeholder meetings to ensure an accurate portrayal of events. Given budgetary and calendar constraints, the IRM cannot consult all interested or affected parties. Consequently, the IRM strives for methodological transparency and therefore, where possible, makes public the process of stakeholder engagement in research (detailed later in this section.) Some contexts require anonymity of interviewees and the IRM reviews the right to remove personal identifying information of these participants. Due to the necessary limitations of the method, the IRM strongly encourages commentary on public drafts of each report.

Each report undergoes a four-step review and quality-control process:

1.     Staff review: IRM staff reviews the report for grammar, readability, content, and adherence to IRM methodology.

2.     International Experts Panel (IEP) review: IEP reviews the content of the report for rigorous evidence to support findings, evaluates the extent to which the action plan applies OGP values, and provides technical recommendations for improving the implementation of commitments and realisation of OGP values through the action plan as a whole. (See below for IEP membership.)

3.     Prepublication review: Government and select civil society organisations are invited to provide comments on content of the draft IRM report.

4.     Public comment period: The public is invited to provide comments on the content of the draft IRM report.

This review process, including the procedure for incorporating comments received, is outlined in greater detail in Section III of the Procedures Manual.[Note679:  IRM Procedures Manual, V.3, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/irm-procedures-manual.]

Interviews and Focus Groups

Each IRM researcher is required to hold at least one public information-gathering event. Researchers should make a genuine effort to invite stakeholders outside of the “usual suspects” list of invitees already participating in existing processes. Supplementary means may be needed to gather the inputs of stakeholders in a more meaningful way (e.g., online surveys, written responses, follow-up interviews). Additionally, researchers perform specific interviews with responsible agencies when the commitments require more information than is provided in the self-assessment or is accessible online.

The IRM researcher in Sri Lanka conducted over 35 interviews with government and civil society representatives to inform this report. Most interviews were arranged through, often iterative, correspondence via email or telephone. The OGP Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also supported the researcher in securing interviews with certain government institutions. The IRM researcher conducted the interviews in person, over the phone, or via Skype. All in-person interviews were held in the capital, Colombo.

The IRM researcher interviewed at least one representative from each government institution primarily responsible for implementation of the commitments. Exceptions include the Ministry of Education, the Elections Commission, and the Office of the President. The exceptions exist in spite of numerous and varied attempts by the IRM researcher and the OGP Unit to reach relevant representatives at these institutions. For each commitment, the IRM researcher also conducted interviews with at least one key actor from a counterpart civil society organisation.

During the research cycle, the researcher also held a multistakeholder forum involving six key individuals from government and civil society. These individuals were responsible for the implementation of the OGP commitments on information and communication technology (Commitments 5 and 6). Details on each of the interviews are tabulated below.

 

#

SOURCE

DATE

FORMAT

THEME

 

GOVERNMENT STAKEHOLDERS

1

Mr Harim Peiris

Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and OGP Point of Contact – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

9 August 2017

In-Person Interview

Context; Leadership and Process

2

Ms Prashanthi Krishnamoorthy

Assistant Director / OGP, US, and Canada, UN Division – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Multiple

In-Person Interview

Leadership and Process

3

Dr Susie Perera

Director, Organisation Development – Ministry of Health, Nutrition, and Indigenous Medicine

6 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Health

4

Dr Amila Chandrasiri

Senior Registrar in Community Medicine – Ministry of Health, Nutrition, and Indigenous Medicine

6 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Health

5

Dr Buddhi Lokuketagoda

Consultant Community Physician, CKDu Unit – Ministry of Health, Nutrition, and Indigenous Medicine

20 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Health

6

Dr Kamal Jayasinghe

Chief Executive Officer – National Medicinal Drug Regulatory Authority

20 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Health

7

Dr Sriyani Ranasinghe

Consultant Community Physician – Health Education Bureau

25 October 2017

Telephone Interview

Health

8

Mr Waruna Sri-Dhanapala

Senior Assistant Secretary – Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure

16 October 2017

In-Person Interview*

Information and Communication Technology

9

Mr Asanka Suraweera

Programme Manager (GIC) – Information and Communication Technology Agency

16 October 2017

In-Person Interview*

Information and Communication Technology

10

Mr Thilina Piyumal

Point of Contact (GIC) – Information and Communication Technology Agency

16 October 2017

In-Person Interview*

Information and Communication Technology

11

Mr M. G. M. W. T. B. Dissanayake

Additional Secretary (Environment Policy and Planning) – Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment

23 October 2017

Telephone Interview

Environment

12

Mr S. Boralessa

Additional Secretary – Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government

27 September 2017

In-Person Interview

Local Government; Women in Politics

13

Ms Swarna Sumanasekera Chairperson – National Committee on Women, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs

13 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Women

14

Mr L.B.S.B. Dayaratne

Additional Secretary (Land) – Ministry of Lands and Parliamentary Affairs

19 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Women

(Land)

15

Ms Chandra Herath

Land Commissioner General – Land Commissioner’s Office

19 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Women

(Land)

16

Mr Sarath Jayamanne

Director General – Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption

20 September 2017

In-Person Interview

Corruption

17

Mr Piyatissa Ranasinghe Director General – Right to Information Commission

19 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Right to Information

18

Mr Sugath Kithsiri

Director, Development – Ministry of Finance and Mass Media

20 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Right to Information

CIVIL SOCIETY STAKEHOLDERS

 

19

Mr Asoka Obeyesekere

Executive Director – Transparency International Sri Lanka

29 August 2017

In-Person Interview

Context; Leadership and Process

20

Ms Sashee de Mel

Senior Manager, Programmes – Transparency International Sri Lanka

29 August 2017

In-Person Interview

Leadership and Process

21

Dr Gopa Kumar Thampi Director, Economic Governance – The Asia Foundation

15 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Context; Local Government; Women in Politics; Right to Information; Corruption

22

Dr Vinya Ariyaratne

General Secretary – Sarvodaya

26 October 2017

Skype Interview

Health

23

Ms Sarojini Kanendran

Chairperson – Viluthu and Centre for Human Resource Development

26 September 2017

In-Person Interview

Education

24

Ms Nandhini Wijayaratnam

Viluthu and Sri Lanka National Association of Counsellors

26 September 2017

In-Person Interview

Education

25

Mr Isura Silva

General Manager – Sarvodaya Fusion

11 & 16 October 2017

Skype & In-Person Interview*

Information and Communication Technology

26

Ms Mihiri Gunawardena Director – Public Interest Law Foundation

9 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Environment

27

Ms Hemanthi Goonasekera

Chief Executive Officer – Federation of Sri Lankan Local Government Authorities

22 September 2017

Skype Interview

Local Government; Women in Politics

28

Dr Ramani Jayasundere

Director, Gender and Justice – The Asia Foundation

17 October 2017

Skype Interview

Women; Women in Politics

29

Ms Shyamala Gomez

Executive Director – FOKUS

27 October 2017

Skype Interview

Women; Women in Politics

30

Mr M. Thirunavukarasu Attorney at Law; Independent Expert on Land Issues

12 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Women

(Land)

31

Prof Swarna Jayaweera

Joint Coordinator – Centre for Women’s Research

3 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Women; Women in Politics

32

Prof Chandra Gunawardena

Board Member – Centre for Women’s Research

3 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Women; Women in Politics

33

Dr Ramani Jayatilaka

Board Member – Centre for Women’s Research

3 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Women; Women in Politics

34

Ms Girty Gamage

Board Member – Centre for Women’s Research

3 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Women; Women in Politics

35

Ms Bimali Ameresekere

Technical Specialist, Gender and Women – United Nations Development Programme

27 October 2017

Skype Interview

Women; Women in Politics

36

Ms Sriyanie Wijesundara

Senior Researcher – Centre for Policy Alternatives

10 October 2017

Skype Interview

Women in Politics

37

Ms Sankhitha Gunaratne

Programme Manager – Transparency International Sri Lanka

17 October 2017

In-Person Interview

Corruption; Right to Information

 

* Multistakeholder forum interview

 

About the Independent Reporting Mechanism

The IRM is a key means by which government, civil society, and the private sector can track government development and implementation of OGP action plans on an annual basis. The design of research and quality control of such reports is carried out by the International Experts Panel, comprised of experts in transparency, participation, accountability, and social science research methods.

The current membership of the International Experts Panel is

       César Cruz-Rubio

       Mary Francoli

       Brendan Halloran

       Jeff Lovitt

       Fredline M’Cormack-Hale

       Showers Mawowa

       Juanita Olaya

       Quentin Reed

       Rick Snell

       Jean-Patrick Villeneuve

A small staff based in Washington, DC, shepherds reports through the IRM procss in close coordination with the researchers. Questions and comments about this report can be directed to the staff at irm@opengovpartnership.org.