The Colombo Plan Secretariat, headed by the Secretary-General participates in an advisory capacity at the Consultative Committee Meetings and assists the Colombo Plan Council in discharging its functions. The Secretary-General is in overall charge of all financial and administrative matters on which he/she reports to the Council. In addition, the Secretariat also implements all its programme activities working closely with the member governments, donor agencies, regional as well as international organizations and NGOs.
The Colombo Plan underwent an organizational transformation and renewal in 1995 and the then Colombo Plan Bureau became the Colombo Plan Secretariat to be headed by the Secretary-General, instead of a Director. The first Secretary-General was Dr. Kim Hak-su from Korea (January 1995 – March 1999) who was succeeded by Dr. Sarat Chandran, India (April 1999 – June 2003), Mr. Kittipan Kanjanapitkul from Thailand (June 2003 – August 2007) and Dato’ Patricia Yoon-Moi Chia from Malaysia (August 2007 – August 2011). The incumbent Secretary-General, Mr. Adam Maniku from the Maldives assumed duties on 15 August 2011 as the fifth Secretary-General of the Secretariat.
The operational expenses of the Secretariat are borne equally by the member countries through the payment of the annual mandatory membership fee.
The Secretariat staff consists of both local and international officers. International officers are either selected from nominations by member countries or seconded on a voluntary basis by member countries, which is the preferred mode since it is cost-effective to the Secretariat and provides beneficial exposure to the officers concerned.