THE COLOMBO PLAN
The history of the Colombo Plan for Cooperative Economic and Social Development in Asia and the Pacific, is one of the oldest regional inter-governmental organizations dates far back as 1950, when the idea was first conceived to enhance economic and social development of the countries of the region. The Colombo Plan was established on 1 July 1951 by Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom and currently has expanded to 27 member countries including non-Commonwealth countries and countries belonging to regional groupings such as ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation). The Colombo Plan is a partnership concept of self-help and mutual-help in development aimed at socio-economic progress of its member countries.
The objectives of the Colombo Plan
- to promote interest in and support for the economic and social development of Asia and the Pacific;
- to promote technical cooperation and assist in the sharing and transfer of technology among member countries;
- to keep under review relevant information on technical cooperation between the member governments, multilateral and other agencies with a view to accelerate development through cooperative effort;
- to facilitate the transfer and sharing of the developmental experiences among member countries within the region with an emphasis on the concept of South-south cooperation.
The Organizational Structure of the Colombo Plan
The Consultative Committee, comprises all member governments and is the highest review and policy-making body of the Colombo Plan. Its biennial meetings (CCM) provide a forum for the exchange of views on current development problems faced by the member countries and review the work of the Colombo Plan in terms of economic and social development within the region.
The Colombo Plan Council, comprises heads of diplomatic missions of member governments who are resident in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The President of the Council is nominated from among its member countries annually on an alphabetical rotational basis. The Council meets every quarterly to identify important development issues facing its members and ensure the smooth implementation of the Consultative Committee`s decisions.
The Colombo Plan Secretariat, headed by a Secretary-General is located in Colombo, Sri Lanka, since 1951 and functions as the secretariat for the Consultative Committee and the Council. The Secretariat is responsible for the effective administration and implementation of the programmes of the Colombo Plan, in partnership with member countries and collaborating agencies.
A special characteristic of the Colombo Plan is that the administrative costs of the Council and the Secretariat are borne equally by all its member countries. However, the training programmes of the Colombo Plan are voluntarily funded by traditional as well as newly emerging donors among its member countries. Developing member countries are also encouraged to meet local currency costs whenever training programmes are held in their respective countries. The Colombo Plan training programmes are also funded by contributions from non-member governments and regional/international organizations.
The Colombo Plan has 4 permanent programmes:
- Drug Advisory Programme (DAP)
- Capacity Building Programme
- Gender Affairs Programme (GAP)
- Environment Programme