The Parliament held a stakeholder consultation for the draft National Evaluation Bill at the Parliament on 28th March 2019. The consultation was attended by about 40 participants that included members of parliament, senior public officials, representatives of development agencies, academia, researchers, and evaluation professionals. The welcome and opening remarks for the event were given by Hon. J M Ananda Kumarasiri, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka and Chair of the Sri Lanka Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation (SLPFE). The Senior Professor Sampath Amaratunga, the Vice chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura explained the role the universities can play in contributing to the parliamentary research services. Mr. V. Sivagnanasothy, Secretary Ministries of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development, Vocational Training and Skills Development and Youth Affairs emphasized the valuable contribution that the enhancement of the evaluation function of the Government can make towards informed decision making.
At the consultation, Hon. Kabir Hashim, Minister of Highways, Road Development and Petroleum Resources Development, and Chair of the Global Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation spoke outlining the context in which the parliamentarians’ engagement with promoting evidence-based decision making developed. Hon. Kabir Hashim emphasized the need to ensure that evaluation becomes so embedded in good governance that no policymaker or manager will hold an important meeting, or reach an important decision without having reviewed relevant evaluation information. The core business of the event was to initiate a wide consultative process on the draft Evaluation Bill. Mr. Dhammika Dasanayake, Secretary General of the Parliament of Sri Lanka introduced the Bill and moderated a discussion to bring about improvements. The Bill has been prepared for the purpose of strengthening the government’s evaluation function for learning and accountability. Knowledge gained from evaluations would inform decisions taken by legislators and program implementers to ensure good governance and accountability. The participants shared their inputs and further consultation will be held before finalizing the Bill.