Sri Lanka to use foresight tools in national planning

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lankan government has started work on using new scientific forecasting tools in national planning with support from world leaders in the field like Denmark and Malaysia.

Niroshan Perera, State Minister for National Policies and Economic Affairs, said the new tools will be used for planning to make Sri Lanka “the most open and competitive economy in south Asia.”
The country faced numerous constraints with an economy immersed in debt, ethnic and social issues yet to be solved with consensus and climatic challenges, he said.

“To overcome these challenges foresight and innovation can be used as effective tools in policy formulation,” Perera told the national summit on foresight and innovation held by United Nations Development Programme and Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs.
“Foresight methods allow us to envision different future scenarios and outcomes, identify risks and challenges, giving us the flexibility to build more resilient policy and options,” he said.

Thomas Prehn, Director of MindLab, a public sector innovation outfit in Denmark, advised the island to start small and make incremental changes.

What was required was a mindset change more than anything else, said Prehn whose MindLab is a government agency that encourages innovation in bureaucracies.

The summit that also featured speakers from the UN Pulse Lab – Jakarta, the UNDP Centre for Public Service Excellence – Singapore, GIZ –Germany, Superflux – UK, UNDP Kolba Lab – Armenia, and UNDP MiLab – Moldova.

Rushadi Abdul Rahim, director of MyForesight, the Malaysian government foresight institute, said changes like those brought about by the 4th industrial revolution make foresight an indispensable tool for government.

“Those who can anticipate and plan and respond to these changes will be the most likely to succeed,” he said.

The UNDP said foresight and Innovation are rapidly becoming tools that governments and other non-traditional partners for development are incorporating into their work.
(COLOMBO, May 25 2016)





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