Ready for Take Off? Supporting Sri Lanka’s political transition

Sri Lanka is in the midst of a political transition that could have profound implications for the future of the South Asian island nation, elevating it to new levels of political stability and economic prosperity. This was a key takeaway of the delegation that visited the country in April to launch Democracy Reporting International’s latest project, ‘Accompanying Sri Lanka’s Democratic Transition’. The DRI delegation, which included Executive Director Michael Meyer-Resende and Chairman of the Board and former European Union Ambassador to Sri Lanka Illka Uusitalo, met with a number of key stakeholders to discuss the project, including representatives of parliament, civil society and the business community.

DRI’s first project in Sri Lanka is fast taking shape, with project activities set to begin in just a few weeks’ time. Supporting Sri Lanka’s political transition against the backdrop of its possible readmission to the EU’s General Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+), one of the key objectives of the project is to engage with the main issues and challenges facing this process. DRI’s initial activities are geared towards exploring with stakeholders the linkages between GSP+ and good governance, drawing on the international human rights standards integral to the scheme. GSP+ requires that beneficiary countries comply with 27 specific international conventions in order to remain members of the scheme.

In parallel to GSP+ readmission, Sri Lanka is eyeing another important prospect: a new constitution. The centrepiece of Sri Lanka’s current transition, the constitutional overhaul currently taking shape in the newly convened Constitutional Assembly carries with it the promise for establishing a new, democratic political framework. Meeting with Speaker of Parliament Hon. Karu Jayasuriya in April, DRI discussed its support for this critical process of constitution building.

Summarising the main takeaways from the delegation’s April mission and providing an introduction to the project context, DRI published the Briefing Paper Ready for Take Off? The Promise and Challenge of Sri Lanka’s Political Transition.


Photo: Sergio Carvajo/flickr

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