As part of a workshop in Colombo/Sri Lanka on “Better Policy through Evaluation”, organized by IPDET on behalf of the Global Evaluation Initiative (GEI), a debate was held in Parliament. The aim of the event was to convince parliamentarians of the value of evaluation for policy decisions.
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Stockmann (Director of the Center for Evaluation), stated that the countries of Asia and the Pacific still have an enormous amount of catching up to do compared to Europe and North and South America. The institutionalization of evaluation is only weakly developed. It is therefore all the more significant that Sri Lanka was the first country in South Asia to adopt a national evaluation policy. In addition, a parliamentary select committee on evaluation (PSC) has drafted a national evaluation law, although it is still awaiting enactment.
The workshop, which was attended by around 50 parliamentarians and academic staff in parliaments from 18 predominantly Southeast Asian countries, was used as a motivational boost by members of the Sri Lankan Parliament. In the debate, government and opposition representatives were united in the conviction that words should now be followed by deeds and the evaluation request should be passed.
Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana as well as Speaker of Parliament Susil Premajayantha demonstrated the benefits of evaluation for parliamentary work and for building good governance:
„The participatory, inclusive, and consultative process undertaken by the PSC in drafting the National Evaluation Law is commendable and reflects ownership and broad stakeholder participation. Also critical to promoting evidence-based policymaking is capacity building for the Parliamentary Research Department to provide evaluation findings to parliamentarians. Few parliaments around the world have experience institutionalizing evaluation, and our Parliament is now one of them. Therefore, I pledge our commitment to making Parliament a place for evidence-based policymaking.“ Hon. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana
Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa, in a blazing speech, called on the government to commission evaluations to present the results to parliamentarians and stressed the importance of working together for the goal of evidence-based policymaking:
„We have set out on the road to a culture of evaluation, but we still have a long way to go. Let us pull together to achieve sustainable development through a strong evidence-based policy system. So I see this event as a big step in promoting evaluation culture to move the country forward.” Hon. Sajith Premadasa
Read our article with all the details about the workshop here.