Colombo, Sri Lanka – A high-level roundtable on “International Project Management Best Practices for Effective Project Delivery” was organised by UNOPS to key decision makers in the Government of Sri Lanka on Monday, 26 February 2018. This meeting was organised to share best practices and lessons learnt in project management from the UNOPS global and local experiences to improve Sri Lanka’s project delivery. The Secretary to Treasury, Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga graced this occasion as Chief Guest. “I am very aware of the challenges faced by my colleagues in the ERD to ensure that the line ministries and the executing agencies involved in foreign and local funded projects discharge their duties and responsibilities efficiently to ensure that the projects under their management is implemented in a timely and efficient manner” he said. Furthermore, he noted “…UNOPS as the UN’s specialized agency on project management can offer us many insights to help us improve our project delivery capacity”.
Speaking at this roundtable, UNOPS Regional Director for Asia, Mr. Sanjay Mathur highlighted, “Effective project and programme delivery has become ever so important in the current development context of South Asia and in particular Sri Lanka, where many significant development projects are currently been conceptualized, planned, and implemented. Delivering services and managing projects benefitting the population, with good quality, on time and within budget has become essential for governments across the world”.
Sri Lanka being a developing country is at a critical juncture where effective project management has become an integral factor in country’s development. Globally, the losses incurred due to bad project management is approximately 10% (of the project budget) and can often be much higher. With UNOPS implementing approximately 1100 projects at any given time across the world, there are many lessons and best practices that can be shared with the government of Sri Lanka for improved project delivery, many of which are from UNOPS experience in delivering projects in Sri Lanka and South Asia.
Delivering the lead technical presentation for the roundtable, Mr. Charles Callanan (Director, UNOPS Nepal Operational Hub) highlighted, “Success in projects is not just from strong performance in one activity, but from the combined improvement of the assets, knowledge and institutions that support government efforts, especially when developing resilient infrastructure and resilient communities. UNOPS will continue to support our partners to overcome the inherent challenges in major projects and stay engaged in our positive and long term partnership with Government of Sri Lanka”. Furthermore, a presentation was delivered by the Department of National Planning about project prioritisation and appraisals moving forward, explaining the challenges and opportunities of the way it is been done in country. This was followed by an interactive panel discussion that discussed the opportunities and challenges in project delivery in Sri Lanka, amongst other.
Concluding the roundtable proceedings, Mr. Sudhir Muralidharan (Director a.i., UNOPS Sri Lanka and Maldives) highlighted that “UNOPS is committed to support the government of Sri Lanka and will continue this dialogue to support Sri Lanka to plan, develop, and implement projects that will contribute to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs).”