Colombo Plan has to increase brand recognition: Patricia Yoon-Moi Chia

Entrepreneurship Development Programme to showcase successful Sri Lankan companies


by Zacki Jabbar

The Colombo Plan has to increase brand recognition in the region, particularly in the host country Sri Lanka, Secretary General of the Colombo Secretariat Patricia Yoon-Moi Chia said yesterday.

Delivering the welcome address at the inaugural session of the 60th anniversary of the Colombo Plan at the Hilton Hotel, she said that the unique feature of the 26-member organization was its concept of self and mutual help, where member countries are partners in development.

"As the Colombo Plan ventures into the future, it needs to continue to serve the interests of all members despite facing an increasingly difficult voluntary funding environment. We have to further increase the recognition of our brand in the region particularly in the host country, Sri Lanka. Under my administration, several activities have been planned and held in Colombo, including community outreach programmes" Patricia said adding that the continuous support of Australia, Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore and the United States of America in their support of the Colombo Plan, through voluntary funding and co-hosting of events as well as provision of resource persons for its activities was greatly appreciated.

Colombo Plan has also been an important component of the foreign policy of the donor countries of Australia, Canda, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Japan, United States of America and all the recipient developing countries including Sri Lanka, she said.

The organizations hallmark activity - the Colombo Plan scholarships continue to be provided albeit in Public Administration and Environment, Private Sector Development and Drug Advisory Programme, using the South-South Cooperation approach between the developed and developing member countries. This 2,000 places for all the programmes compared with 500 in 2007 are to be provided, Patiricia said adding that Sri Lanka was the fourth highest ranking recipient of scholarships, with a total of about 1,300 training opportunities awarded so far.

"Our focus on human capital development has not changed over the last six decades. It is a means to alleviate poverty and nation building. Today, we have with us 24 international participants for the Fourth Training Programme on Entrepreneurship Development using the Blue Ocean Strategy 2011 from 12 member countries .Several successful Sri Lankan companies will be showcased and a network established among the 12 participating countries."

She attributed Colombo Plan’s longevity to being one of the few international organizations which covers several sub-regions in scope from the East to SEA, SAARC, West Asia and the Pacific countries.

Through the years Sri Lanka has had a special relationship with the Colombo Plan as its former President J. R. Jayewardene was the chief architect of the cooperation framework of the organisation, Patricia said.

Colombo Plans involvement in some of the development and institutional projects in Sri Lanka, she said includes the 50 diesel locomotives for the Railway Department, Hardy Technical College in Ampara which trained the skilled manpower needed by the accelerated Galoya Valley Project, Universities of Moratuwa and Peradeniya, Maradana Technical College, Lakshapana Hydro Power Station, Katunayake Airport, MILCO Dental Nursing School, Colombo Harbour, Tea Research Institute and the Gannoruwa Agricultural Center.

To coincide with the 60th anniversary celebrations a first day cover and stamp was launched and the Marine Drive has been gazetted to be named the Colombo Plan Road. On July 4, there will be tree planting ceremony at the Hardy Technical Institute, which was established by the Colombo Plan with Canadian assistance. Four special publications have also been printed.

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