Sri Lanka briefs diplomats based in New Delhi on progress

Citing the historic and revolutionary 2015 January 8th Presidential Election which brought about a new era in Sri Lanka with the general public unprecedentedly embracing the principles of good governance as a decisive electoral issue, Advisor to the Foreign Minister and Sri Lanka’s Point of Contact for Open Government Partnership (OGP) Harim Peiris told the New Delhi based envoys of the member States of the OPG, that Sri Lanka’s own domestic agenda aligns with the ethos upon which the OGP is established, and therefore, the country rightly deserves a place in the OGP Steering Committee.

Advisor Peiris was addressing an interactive session organized by the Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi, the Foreign Ministry said today.

Recalling the beginnings of the OPG in 2011 and how Sri Lanka was invited to become a member of the “new kids in the international bloc” at the Summit level meeting in 2015 in Mexico, and how Sri Lanka produced its own National Action Plan a year later, Advisor Peiris outlined Sri Lanka’s commitment towards good governance, anti-corruption, greater democratization and equitable and sustainable development.

In this context, Advisor Peiris underscored that the unique niche Sri Lanka finds itself in is reflected in the country’s commitment in seeking the establishment and strengthening of democratic institutes while facing simultaneously the challenges inherited from a long dragged conflict, including the imperative to deal with the past as well as in bringing about a lasting peace through an array of reconciliatory endeavours which are currently underway.

Advisor Peiris elaborated how Sri Lanka, one of Asia’s oldest representative and participatory democracies, has progressed over the last two years, increasingly creating space for the civil society to play its due role in civil life and in public policy.

He further observed that this background provides Sri Lanka the core rationale to seek election to the Steering Committee of the OPG as the first South Asian country, representing the global South. He said that the participation of Sri Lanka in the OGP Steering Committee could be mutually beneficial – while Sri Lanka could learn international best practices relevant to the ideals it upholds with great commitment, the OGP membership could in turn learn from Sri Lanka’s unique experiences.

The meeting ended with a Question and Answer session at which the latest political developments in Sri Lanka were elaborated. The briefing was well received by the audience.

High Commissioner Chitranganee Wagiswara also addressed the gathering, providing a synopsis of endeavours undertaken by the Government towards good governance and national reconciliation. (Colombo Gazette)


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