PROMOTING SOUTH-SOUTH CO-OPERATION: Colombo Plan serves as vehicle – Minister Peiris

PROMOTING SOUTH-SOUTH CO-OPERATION:
Colombo Plan serves as vehicle – Minister Peiris

Disna MUDALIGE

The Colombo Plan served as a vehicle to promote South -South Cooperation and provided the strongest possible foundation for economic and social growth of a number of countries, said External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris.

He said that this characteristic of the Colombo Plan has also helped policy formulation in our country.

He said that South- South Cooperation has become a geopolitical reality with the heightened economic power and importance of regional countries such as China, India, New Zealand and South Africa in the contemporary context.

“This does not imply that we are turning our back on traditional friends.

“However we should look at our relations in a more pragmatic manner,” he observed.

He was addressing the inaugural session of the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Colombo Plan held at the Hilton Hotel yesterday.

He also commended the Colombo Plan’s adaptability to changing circumstances in the world.

“When several countries in the West discontinued their capital expenditure to the organization in 1994, the Colombo Plan arrived at a firm decision to revive by redefining its priorities in the context of the contemporary needs.

Accordingly, environment, development of public service, energizing the private sector, drugs and legislation to prevent drug trafficking and skills development were identified as fields which need special attention in the region,” he noted.

Minister Peiris also said that most of the projects initiated with the support of the Colombo Plan including the 60 diesel engines for the Railway Department, Hardy and Maradana technical colleges, Lakshapana hydro power plant and Katunayake Airport are still vibrant and successful ventures.

Colombo Plan Secretary General Dato Patricia Yoon-Moi Chia observed that Sri Lanka is the fourth highest ranking recipient country of Colombo Plan scholarships with about 1300 training opportunities awarded.

She noted that self-help and equality to all are unique features of the organization in which member countries are partners in development.

A first day cover and stamp were launched and Marine Drive road was gazetted to be named the Colombo Plan road to mark the 60th Anniversary. The Colombo Plan consists of 26 member countries in the Asia – Pacific region.

Colombo Plan Council President and Australian High Commissioner Kathy Klugman also spoke. International Monetary Cooperation Senior Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama delivered a special lecture. Urban Affairs Senior Minister A H M Fowzie, Finance, Planning Deputy Minister Geethanjana Gunawardena and Deputy Post Master General R D P Gamini also participated.

[Sourced from Daily News Saturday, 2 July, 2011]

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