Imadr Asia Committee
No. 1149A, Kotte Road, Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka

Policy Dialogues

Series of Policy Dialogues by the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus

It has been scheduled to conduct a Series of Policy Dialogues by the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus in collaboration with the Strengthening Democratic Governance and Accountability Project (SDGAP)  of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its First Session will take place under the patronage of  the Hon. (Mrs.) Chandrani Bandara, Minister of Women and Child Affairs and the Chairperson of the Women Parliamentarians‘ Caucus, on Thursday, 10 May 2018  from 9.30 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. in Committee Room No. 2 of Parliament.


Lessons learnt from 25% quota for women in Local Government Elections, recommendations in promoting the Provincial Councils (Amend) Act No. 17 of 2017 and Violence Against Women Politicians (VAWP) experienced from the recent Local Government Election will be deliberated in this dialogue.

Introducing the ‘Colombo Development Dialogues’


Colombo, 01 April 2018 – The Colombo Development Dialogues are convened by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the South Asia Centre of the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE-SAC), bringing together a diverse group of development thinkers, practitioners and policy-makers from the public and private sectors to discuss relevant issues pertaining to current national / regional priorities. Held at least twice a year in collaboration with the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo, Dilmah Tea and Citra Social Innovation Lab, these Dialogues aim to generate awareness on different issues of interest and concern in Sri Lanka today, thereby setting an agenda for debates on development. Each Dialogue will focus on a key theme relevant to national development priorities, and produce a post-dialogue Policy Paper that will contribute to policy-making at the national level. The distinct feature of the Dialogues is the range of experts who will come together to develop an agenda, and discuss possible solutions to issues concerning Development in Sri Lanka.


Speaking about this initiative, UNDP Sri Lanka Country Director Mr. Jorn Sorensen stated, “UNDP is pleased to partner with LSE-SAC, the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo and Dilmah Tea, to facilitate these knowledge sharing dialogues. Starting this year, we look forward to convening some of the best academics from all over the world, together with our partners, in order to start conversations around vital sustainable human development areas for Sri Lanka, thus contributing to the 2030 Agenda”.


Speaking about this partnership, Dr. Mukulika Banerjee, Director of the LSE South Asia Centre, said, ‘the partnership we have established with UNDP Sri Lanka gives us an opportunity to facilitate engaging and meaningful Dialogues around focused themes areas of importance to Sri Lanka, with conscious attention to their wider relevance in South Asia.  We are delighted to initiate the Colombo Development Dialogues in collaboration with UNDP, a major knowledge broker in this region, with whom we share several concerns confronting South Asia in what promises to be the ‘Asian’ 21st century.”    


The partnership with LSE-SAC further facilitates this knowledge sharing through their wide network of global academics. This exchange of expert knowledge will also benefit post-graduate and research students through a ‘Master Class’, which is an additional feature of the Colombo Development Dialogues, facilitated by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo. Speaking about the Masterclass, Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo, Professor Nayani Melegoda stated, “The Masterclass and the Dialogues provide an exclusive opportunity for our students to gain theoretical insights and exposure into the global literature on development from the visiting academics. We are happy to partner with UNDP to facilitate this initiative.”


The neatly crafted thematic areas of these Dialogues, along with the Masterclass, will contribute to Sri Lanka’s development discourse as we progress towards achieving sustainable human development in the 2030 Agenda.


The CDD is also conducted in partnership with Dilmah Tea. Commenting on the partnership, the CEO of Dilmah Tea, Mr. Dilhan C. Fernando stated, “Sustainable human development requires conversation and communication. This convening of global and local expertise together with voices from across Sri Lanka is vital to not only achieve the country 2030 SDG targets, but also to prepare it for the future. My father, brother and I, together with Dilmah colleagues, are privileged to partner with UNDP, the LSE-SAC and the University of Colombo in this exercise of shaping tomorrow’s minds and contributing to today’s policy.”


The first Dialogue on ‘Integrated Development Impact through Partnerships and Innovation’ will be held in Colombo on Wednesday, 4 April 2018.  Speakers include Hon. Susil Premjayantha, Minister of Science, Technology and Research, Hon. Sajith Premadasa, Minister of Housing and Construction, Dr. Rajesh Venugopal, International Development, LSE, H.E. Tung-Lai Margie, EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Ms. Dulani Sirisena, Australian High Commission, Dr. Maneesha S. Wanasinghe, Senior Lecturer, University of Colombo, Mr. Carl Cruz, Chairman, Unilever Sri Lanka and Ms. Sonali Dayaratne, Policy and Design Specialist, UNDP Sri Lanka.


The Colombo Development Dialogues is convened by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the South Asia Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE-SAC), bringing together a diverse group of development thinkers, practitioners and policy-makers from the public and private sectors to discuss relevant issues pertaining to current national / regional priorities. Held at least twice a year in collaboration with the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo, Dilmah Tea and Citra Social Innovation Lab, these Dialogues will be held to generate debates and awareness on key thematic issues, thereby setting the agenda for the 2030 development landscape.


Diplomats from 23 countries attend Sri Lanka’s Foreign Policy and Economic Diplomacy Dialogue


The Sri Lanka Foreign Policy and Economic Diplomacy Dialogue, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commenced on Monday ( 15 October) with the participation of mid-career diplomats from 23 countries from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Australasia.

The two week-long programme is held as part of the Economic Diplomacy Programme (EDP) of the Foreign Ministry and will primarily focus on Sri Lanka’s Economy with special emphasis on its emergence as a ‘Hub of the Indian Ocean’ and as a trade, investment, and tourist destination, while showcasing Sri Lanka’s international brands, entrepreneurship, as well as important strides in research and innovation. It will also explore Sri Lanka’s rich history and culture, aspects of foreign policy including positions on international politics, and thematic issues – good governance, sustainable development, and right to information, social media and cyber security. Sri Lanka’s key government officials, academics, scientists, and business leaders will participate in the discussions, and a 3- day field visit will follow.

At the commencement of the session, the participants called on Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, who welcomed them and wished them a productive and enjoyable stay in Sri Lanka.

State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake who inaugurated the Dialogue, said Sri Lanka has always been a melting pot of diverse cultures and ethnicities as well as different religions, and its strategic geographical location has made it a unique international player since ancient times. Outlining the trajectory of Sri Lanka’s foreign relations and the challenges the country has faced through history, he said Sri Lanka was well positioned to be a knowledge center for international relations. In their interactions with each other and their Sri Lankan counterparts, he encouraged the visiting diplomats to be forward looking and to collectively seek to anticipate future trends and how to deal with them, in the region and the world.  

Acting Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha addressing the diplomats said their presence was a reflection of the importance their respective Governments placed on relations with Sri Lanka. He expressed confidence that through this Dialogue Sri Lanka will not only be informing them about how Sri Lanka is straddling the many politico- economic and social challenges of our times, but that in turn would also be informed of the perspectives their respective countries and regions have on each of these subjects. He said their remaining engaged with Sri Lanka – both professionally and personally, would be a tremendous support to the efforts by our respective Missions in or accredited to their capitals, as they seek to strengthen bilateral relations between the countries.


Under the EDP, having analyzed patterns of recent economic flows and the potential within each target market, the Foreign Ministry has set specific performance targets to be accomplished on exports, investment, tourism and foreign employment for each Mission. Also in collaboration with the relevant line Ministries and the private sector,
10 Sri Lanka Missions abroad in emerging markets are being supported in carrying out targeted campaigns that would enhance Sri Lanka’s global footprint and bring tangible economic benefits to Sri Lanka. Programmes are being initiated to promote ICT products and services and also organic food products in Sweden, apparel, textile & footwear in South Africa, fresh and processed food in Bahrain, Gems and Jewellery in Turkey, spices and apparel in Brazil, wellness tourism in the UAE, inward investment from the Republic of Korea and Japan, and outward investment in Myanmar and Nepal.


State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Grace Asirwatham and Additional Secretary/Bilateral Affairs Sumith Nakandala were associated at the inaugural session. The programme is being conducted in collaboration with the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute (BIDTI) and the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKI). The LKI’s Executive Director Dr. Ganeshan Wignaraja delivered the inaugural lecture on ‘The evolving Asian Economic Outlook and implications for Sri Lanka’, while the Director General of the BIDTI Pamela J. Deen and the Foreign Ministry’s Director/ International & Technical Cooperation Kapila Fonseka also addressed the participants.

Diplomats from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam, are attending these sessions.