Campaign for Sound National Policies

A press briefing on the Campaign for Sound National Policies was held yesterday at the Organisation of Professional Associations in Colombo. Dr. Sepali Kottegoda, Executive Director of Women and Media Collective (WMC) was on the panel that discussed the proposed 35 Ministry Cabinet under the 19th Amendment and the proposed ministry clustering for an enhanced government performance.

The campaign highlights that an adequate structure of policies are vital within these ministries and introduced policy outlines for each area formulated by over 100 academics and professionals through an inter-disciplinary workshop in June 2015. These outlines are an initial step in a 5 year programme for recommending sound national policy frameworks for Sri Lanka. Prof. Siri Hettige, Convener of the Campaign for Sound National Policies said “This is just a first step and we hope to carry this forward. We hope that the new government will accept these proposals. We are looking at development as a whole.” Prof. Hettige also stated that the campaign will focus on mentioned 35 Ministries in order to avoid complicating the process.

Dr. Kottegoda of WMC is the Coordinator of the Gender Equality policy and the policy outline can be found here.

In view of the recent political transition in Sri Lanka towards greater democracy and good governance, public demand for sound national policies has increased considerably. It is widely felt that concepts of democracy and good governance remain largely abstract for a majority of people in the country, unless the democratic space is widened and used to promote evidence-based national policies to address various issues they face.

The Campaign for Sound National Policies (CSNP) was launched in Colombo on the 22nd of June under the patronage of H.E. the President of Sri Lanka, Maithreepala Sirisena. The President mentioned that the initiative to formulate sound national policies can be considered as a national mission. Addressing the launching ceremony the President invited intellectuals and others with knowledge and experience in diverse fields to contribute to the development of public policies and submit them to the political leaders in the country. He further stated that in the 1950’s – 1960’s, there was a greater emphasis on national planning and policy formation. But, due to shortcomings in national policy making, we failed to achieve a national policy and plans. What we have witnessed in the recent past is change of policy even when the ministers change. In India, policies do not necessarily change with the change of government. The President invited the Campaign for Sound National Policies to propose how the 30 member cabinet of the next government should be formed on a scientific basis.

Therefore believing that this is the only way to have a better future for the entire population of the country the Centre for Development Research and Interventions (CDRI) organised workshops for experts from different fields, civil society, leaders and others to formulate policies to address the various issues in the country.