You are on page 1of 2


The Colombo Plan is a regional organization that embodies the concept of collective intergovernmental
effort to strengthen economic and social development of member countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The
primary focus of all Colombo Plan activities is on human resources development.

The Colombo Plan is not intended as an integrated master plan to which national plans were expected to
conform. It is, instead, a framework for bi-lateral arrangements involving foreign aid and technical
assistance for the economic and social development of the region.

To promote interest in and support for the economic and social development of Asia and the
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 accelerating development
through cooperative effort;
To facilitate the transfer and sharing of the developmental experiences among member
countries within the region with emphasis on the concept of South-South cooperation.

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 four permanent programmes:
Long-Term Scholarships Programme (LTSP, estd: 1951)
Areas of study cover a wide spectrum of subjects from IT Management, Agriculture, Social Sciences,
Environmental, Diplomacy and International Relations and Public Policy. In total, Colombo Plan offers
46 scholarships per year to the member countries. From 2005 until 2009, the Colombo Plan had
sponsored 93 scholars in various fields under the LTSP.
Drug Advisory Programme (DAP, estd: 1973)
To address the growing drug demand reduction in the Asia and Pacific Region. During the last three
decades the DAP has assisted member countries in initiating the process of policy evolution, in finding
appropriate solutions on a bilateral and/or multi-lateral basis and in encouraging national efforts among
member countries toward drug demand reduction.
Programme for Private Sector Development (PPSD, estd: 1995)
Provides short-term training programmes for the development of the private sector, particularly the
development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The focus of the PPSD is on capacity building of
officials who are responsible for industrial development, SMEs development and entrepreneurship
development. By building up their capacity, it will enable them to become the vital catalyst in their
countries development agenda, particularly to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable economic
growth. The Programme`s scope covers technology transfer, business management and sharing of best
practices, trade liberalization, World Trade Organization and trade issues and industrialization policy.
Programme for Public Administration & Environment (PPA/E, estd: 1995)
The primary objective of this programme is to develop human capital in the public sector of the
Colombo Plan`s developing member countries, through short-term training programmes in prioritized
areas such as Public Governance, IT Management, Strategic Management, International Relations
Empowering Women Poverty Reduction, Project Management, Economic Planning & Management,
Teacher Training, Research in Biotechnology and Sustainable Environment Management.
In 2014, a programme on gender called the Gender Affairs Programme (GAP) was established. The
programme expects to address gender issues in the region.

The Plan now

Over the years, while adhering to the concept of human resource development and South-South
Cooperation in addressing issues of economic and social development, the programme content of the
Colombo Plan has been changing to take account of the needs of member countries in a fast changing
world economic environment. In the early years, the training programmes were more of a long-term
nature, while recent programmes have been focusing on providing advance skills and experience sharing
aimed at arriving at the best practices in different fields of economic and social activities as a means of
good policy making and governance. The current programmes of the Colombo Plan are in the areas of
public policy formulation in an environment of globalization and market economy, private sector
development as a prime mover for growth, drug use and dependence prevention and treatment in member
countries and addressing gender issues.

Early criticism
The Plan has been criticized on various grounds. Some Asians see in it only the hand of British
imperialism, especially as it is not aimed at developing national self-sufficiency. It offers an almost
exclusively economic solution for problems which are also political and social. Dangerous issues such as
landlordism and the organization of labour, which invite Communist exploitation, are barely touched on,
doubtless because it seemed politically inexpedient to raise such questions.

Present members
The Colombo Plan currently has 27 members, including countries in the Asia-Pacific region, 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).
- Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, South
Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua
New Guinea, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United States, Vietnam.

Past members
There have been four Past members of the Colombo Plan including two founding members in 1950,
Canada and the United Kingdom. South Vietnam joined in 1951 and on 2 Jul 1976 was succeeded by
Socialist Republic of Vietnam which withdrew in 1978. Vietnam was a provisional member from 5 Nov
2001 to 18 Nov 2003 until it was accepted in 2004.
- Canada, United Kingdom, Cambodia, South Vietnam.