Vietnamese Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Phan Kieu Thu and President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena. (Source: Colombopage.com)

The Colombo Plan for Cooperative Economic and Social Development in Asia and the Pacific was initiated by the UK at the Commonwealth Conference on Foreign Affairs in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in January 1950 and was launched on July 1, 1951 as a cooperative venture for economic and social advancement of the peoples of South and Southeast Asia.

The Colombo Plan aims to help its member countries promote socio-economic development, poverty reduction, environmental protection and gender equality.

With 27 official members, the plan is a forum for discussing development needs, sharing experience, implementing programmes for stronger socio-economic development and supporting less developed countries in the region.

The Colombo Plan mainly operates through organising training courses, helping its member nations develop human resources. It now runs four training programmes including the Drug Advisory Programme (DAP), the Programme for Public Administration & Environment (PPA & ENV), the Programme for Private Sector Development (PPSD) and the Long-Term Scholarships Programme (LTSP).

Since its official membership of the organisation in 2003, Vietnam has sent nearly 400 officials to attend training courses within the Colombo Plan’s cooperation programmes, in the fields of drug prevention, public administration, reproductive health, and environmental protection.

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