Liyanage, Champika, Ginige, Kanchana, Amaratunga, Dilanthi and Haigh, Richard (2015) Policy Analysis in Prioritising Societal Challenges- the Case of Sri Lanka. In: 5th International Conference on Building Resilience. NCP, 453/1-13. ISBN 978-0-9943652-0-0

The 30-year war ended in Sri Lanka in 2009. Country is now heading towards local, regional
and national development through the development of infrastructure and services. However,
there are obstacles along the way in achieving the required development targets set by the different levels of governments. These obstacles, for the purpose of this paper, can be identified as ‘societal challenges’. According to the largest ever research and innovation programme of the
European Union named as Horizon 2020, there are seven areas of societal challenges, i.e.
Health, demographic change and wellbeing; Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry,
marine and maritime and inland water research, and the Bioeconomy; Secure, clean and efficient energy; Smart, green and integrated transport; Climate action, environment, resource
efficiency and raw materials; Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies; and Secure societies.
According to the EU, these seven societal challenges that need to be addressed for a country to prosper and move towards development. However, especially for a developing nation like Sri
Lanka it is difficult to address these seven challenges all at once. It should happen as a
systematic approach on a long-term basis. The paper, in this context, intends to investigate, of
the seven challenges, which is/are the critical societal challenge(s) to be addressed first in the
case of Sri Lanka. This is investigated using a questionnaire survey. Addressing the challenges
needs to happen as a top-down approach. One of the first steps towards that is the implementation of effective policies. Therefore, the main focus of the questionnaire survey is to assess the availability and effectiveness of policies in relation to addressing the societal challenges. The survey was conducted among 54 Sri Lankan experts on the seven areas of challenges.
The findings reveal that secure societies is the most critical challenge to be addressed followed
by climate action. According to the policy analysis, ‘health, demographic change and wellbeing’ is identified as the challenge, which has the highest number of related policies whilst the inclusive, innovative and reflective societies have the least. It is further revealed that the correlation between the availability of policies and their effectiveness are not always linear.

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