Sri Lanka—Strengthening Democratic Governance and Accountability Project (SDGAP)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2016-2020

Region: Asia and the Pacific

Country: Sri Lanka

Solutions: Governance Fragile States

Sri Lanka’s new government has taken bold steps toward political and social change, including reinforcing the central role of parliament, and has introduced and bolstered independent oversight commissions. With a Constitutional Assembly forming to debate a new constitution for further democratic consolidation, the opportunity exists for a renewed partnership between the United States and Sri Lanka. Within this setting, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the Strengthening Democratic Governance and Accountability Project (SDGAP), a three-year program to strengthen public accountability systems; improve planning, communication, policy reform, and implementation; and increase the participation of women and under-represented groups in Sri Lanka.

The USAID-funded Sri Lankan Parliament Project (SLPP), also implemented by DAI, has helped to lay the groundwork for SDGAP by successfully facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogues on key reforms and by bringing together the prime minister, cabinet ministers, members of parliament, commissioners, and leading civil society organizations. DAI expanded upon these relationships and applied a local systems approach in improving Sri Lanka’s existing systems we strengthened the relationship between government and civil society actors.

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Sample Activities

  • Build the capacity of component institutions through parliamentary committees and commissions and facilitate cooperation and information sharing across institutions and with the public to strengthen the overarching political system.
  • Assess how commissions and ministries use external research in policymaking and use results to create space for a broader group of stakeholders, including parliamentarians, nongovernmental organizations, think tanks, and female service users, to provide input into policy processes.
  • Engage with the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration to introduce international best practices into the role of public servants in policy development and implementation.
  • Provide technical assistance and grants to support government and civil society stakeholders to address priority laws and policies identified as affecting the rights of women and under-represented groups.

Select Results

  • Provided support to strengthen the laws in relation to corruption by drafting a consolidated law addressing, bribery, corruption, and asset declaration.
  • Supported the Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption to develop a National Action Plan for Combating Bribery and Corruption in Sri Lanka with four pillars: prevention; value-based education; institutional strengthening; and policy and legal reform. The consultative process spanned nine months across the nine provinces of the country with multi-party and multi-disciplinary stakeholder engagement.
  • Facilitated Sri Lanka’s participation in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) for the last three years, including the development of Sri Lanka’s national action plans.
  • Created a Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Responsive Budgeting manual in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs.


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