The United Nations in Sri Lanka together with the National Policies and Economic Affairs Ministry launched UNLOCKED, an innovative and inclusive platform to support policy development.
UNLOCKED provides future changemakers the opportunity to speak up, share research and reach out to experts. The platform aims to enrich Sri Lanka’s policymaking process by nurturing new ideas and solutions.
UNLOCKED will feature thematic discussions, initiated by subject experts, suggesting solutions for the existing challenges. Thereafter, anyone with an interest in the topic can provide feedback on the issue being discussed.
The platform will address a variety of developmental issues, including extreme poverty, climate change and inequality. The discussion is expanded through offline events such as workshops, panel discussions and town hall events.
UNLOCKED puts the power in the hands of the public, to help everyday people come up with the solutions that will make a difference in their lives. Once a discussion has run its course, the key contributions will feed into policy briefs that innovatively address developmental challenges. These will be presented to the government, thereby ensuring that people have a say in the policies that impact them.
Endorsing the initiative, National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development and Youth Affairs Ministry Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy held that “UNLOCKED could play a vital role in bridging the gap between the public and policymakers by serving as a citizen-centric forum for policymaking”.
Launching the platform, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Hanaa Singer stated, “Policymaking for sustainable development needs to be an organic process that brings together the government and people. UNLOCKED provides the platform for bringing these two groups together, to develop policies that can aid Sri Lanka’s efforts in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.”
As the first theme of UNLOCKED addresses ‘Climate Change and Urban Resilience’, the launch was held ahead of the World Environment Day, celebrated annually on June 5. It was followed by a panel discussion led by speakers from UN HABITAT, the Institute of Policy Studies and Verité Research.
The topics presented, which ranged from mainstreaming climate resilience into urban policy to addressing implementation gaps in disaster management in Sri Lanka, spurred an engaging discussion with active participation from the audience.