The Colombo Plan for Cooperative Economic and Social Development in Asia and the Pacific was conceived at the Commonwealth Conference on Foreign Affairs held in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in January 1950 and was launched on 1 July 1951 as a cooperative venture for the economic and social advancement of the peoples of South and Southeast Asia. Many prominent persons represented their respective countries at this Conference such as Percy Spender, Minister for External Affairs, Australia; Ernest Bevin, Foreign Secretary, Britain; Lester Pearson, Minister for External Affairs, Canada; Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs, India; Fredrick Doidge, Minister for External Affairs, New Zealand; Ghulam Mohammed, Minister of Finance, Pakistan and D.S. Senanayake, Prime Minister of Ceylon and J.R. Jayewardene, then Finance Minister and later President of Sri Lanka.
he objectives of the Colombo Plan
The Organizational Structure of the Colombo Plan
The Consultative Committee (CCM), comprises all member governments and is the highest review and policy making body of the Colombo Plan. Its biennial meetings provide a forum for the exchange of views on current development problems facing member countries and review the work of the Colombo Plan in 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 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 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: