Project Status: On-going


Colombo Development Dialogues is convened by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the London School of Economics South Asia Centre (LSE SAC), and brings together a diverse group of development thinkers, influencers, practitioners, private sector and policy-makers with a specific focus on Sri Lanka and the South Asian region. Each Dialogue will focus on a key thematic area relevant to national development priorities and have a post dialogue policy paper that will contribute to the national policy making space.


The main feature of the Colombo Development Dialogues is the range of experts who will convene to set the agenda to discuss and provide holistic development solutions in line with the national priorities. Building on over 50 years of experience, UNDP believes in sharing knowledge and learning from those who have exposure and experience pertaining to relevant expertise, which will add value to the development discourse in Sri Lanka.

The partnership with LSE, further facilitates this knowledge sharing through their esteemed network of global academics. This knowledge-exchange and expertise will also benefit the undergraduate and graduate student body through the ‘Masterclass’ initiative which is an additional feature of the Colombo Development Dialogues, where research students will also gain global theoretical insights from the visiting academics. The ‘Masterclass’ initiative will be facilitated by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo. The neatly crafted thematic areas of these Dialogues along with the Masterclass demonstrate the commitment of UNDP and LSE SAC to contribute to the literature of development both locally and globally and to generate a much-needed conversation on our progress towards achieving sustainable human development in the 2030 Agenda.


Educate the audience and a student base on the extent of an identified theme/development challenge, with a focus on how it affects the lives of citizens in Sri Lanka and in the region.

Generate awareness on how these challenges are hindering countries in the region from achieving sustainable human development.

Brainstorm how can we address these challenges and what measures can be taken not only to comply with international obligations, but to also improve the livelihoods of their people.

Corroborate all the knowledge and information gathered at each dialogue into a policy paper that will be available to the public and generate further discussions around the said theme/development challenge.



Colombo Development Dialogues will be an invitee only event with around 125 participants expected to take part for each dialogue.

Key policy makers ranging from elected public representatives to senior public officials, influencers, private sector leaders, representatives of private sector platforms, academics, representatives from inter-governmental organizations, officials of the United Nations system, heads of national and regional think tanks and development policy institutes, relevant development journalists, youth, and students of the ‘Masterclass’ programme are expected to participate at each dialogue.

The inaugural Dialogue took place on April 04th and focus on the theme of “Integrated development impact through partnerships and innovation”. Preparations are underway currently for the next Dialogue scheduled to take place in August 2018 on the topic of ‘Water’.

To see a recap of the Dialogue, click here.