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Colombo Plan celebrates 59th anniversary
Colombo Plan celebrates 59th anniversary

Ramani KANGARAARACHCHI

The Colombo Plan Secretariat will bring a group of 20 international participants to Colombo for entrepreneurship development under its program for private sector development.

Speaking at its 59th anniversary celebrations at JAIC Hilton, the Colombo Plan Secretariat ,Secretary General Patricia Yoon Moi Chia said that five places in this program will be given to Sri Lankans under special provision.

She said that human resource development is its main focus and the Colombo Plan has provided 16,082 scholarships for both long and short-term training to 23 member countries since its restructuring in 1995. She assured the member Governments that the Colombo Plan will continue to endeavour to reach new heights in the years to come. Moving ahead, it has the advice of a group of eminent persons to guide the Colombo Plan towards its strategic goals and Vision 2025, when it completes 75 years.

Chia said that she took over as the 20th Head of the organization in August 2007. That year 603 participants were trained. This figure has almost tripled to 1,736 last year, which was a 20 percent increase compared to 2008.This was done with the same operating budget of 2007, with only a 15 percent increase.

Essentially, this increase goes to the hiring of professional staff to drive three programs namely private sector development, drug advisory program and the public administration and environment and the long-term scholarships at Master degree level. Its other capacity-building programs address the Millennium Development Goals on poverty, gender development, sustainable environment and ways to build capacity of those in the Government, semi-government and private sector to promote the private sector development.

The Colombo Plan has currently 10 international officers from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. Three of these are voluntarily seconded by the Governments of Indonesia and Malaysia. Thirteen officers now support the programs, with 11 general and support staff.

Chia said that the gearing up of the level of our activities was made possible through the voluntary contributions of member countries and international agencies such as OPEC fund. Last year US$10 million was allocated and more than US$12 million is expected for the programs this year with another US$2 million in terms of cost-sharing from member countries.



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