To commemorate the occasion the Pakistan Post Office is issuing a postage stamp of 2O-Paisa denomination on the said date.
The Colombo Plan was conceived and announced at the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers’ Conference held in Colombo in January 1950. Political independence having been achieved, economic develo-pment had become an urgent problem in South and South-East Asia. Gradually, as confidence in the Plan and appreciation of its potentialities developed, its member-ship grew, both of countries within the region and of countries outside the region, from the original seven Commonwealth countries in l950to24 today including 16 non-Commonwealth countries. The area has now extended beyond South and South-East Asia covering a region which extends from Iran in the West to the Philippines in the East, from the Republic of Korea in the North to Indonesia in the South, embracing a population of over 1,000 million people.
Colombo Plan is a collective concept of the country’s own efforts, assisted by other members, towards economic development. This assistance represents international co-operation which the Colombo Plan embodies. Contributions from member countries are not put into any central fund. There is no master plan for the area of South and Southeast Asia, nor any compulsion from out-side. The basic factor of the Colombo Plan is that all aid is bilaterally negotiat-ed. The receiving country determines its needs and begins negotiations with a donor country in the best way to fulfil them. No one from outside intervenes or interferes. From the beginning, the concept of co-operation and equality among members was emphasized. Altho-ugh the original plans were multilateral in approach, bilateral arrangements became the accepted pattern, while the Plan itself took the form of an umbrella, rather than a self-contained international development organisation. It is this bilateral mode of operation and respect for the sensibility and sovereignty of the peoples concerned which has helped to make the Colombo Plan popular.There are three focal points around which the Colombo Plan revolves
(I) The Consultative Committee: it is the top policy-making body consisting of Ministers of member Governments. This Committee meets each year. Its task is to survey the development of the area, assess the needs, and to examine how international co-operation in the twin forms of capital aid and technical assist-ance—can help to fill the gaps in national resources and speed up the pace of development.
(2) The Colombo Plan Council: It meets regularly in Colombo. The Council comprises the representatives of all the Colombo Plan countries. It does not deal with questions of Capital aid. Its task is limited to promoting and co-ordinating technical assistance in the area.
(3) The Colombo Plan Bureau It is entrusted with four main jobs
(i) servicing the Council,
(ii) recording all the technical assistance given in the area,
(iii) developing a programme of intra--regional training, and
(iv) disseminating information on the Plan as a whole.
In all its deliberations, either in the Consultative Committee or in the Council, there is no voting. This unwrit-ten “ principle of unanimity “ (there is no constitution except for the Council and Rules for the Bureau) is unique among international organisations. The result is that over the years the Colombo Plan has built up a reservoir of goodwill and understanding which may be a somewhat intangible factor but which is nevertheless a very real and valuable asset.
The founders of the Plan apparently had no long-term perspective although they showed originality in choosing a period of six years for its life-span rather than the customary five. Subsequent action by the Consultative Committee has extended the Plan three times, each for a five-year period—1956•61, 1961-66, 1966.71. The question of further exten-sion of the Plan will be considered in October this year in Victoria (Canada) when the Canadian Government will host the 20th Meeting of the Consulta-tive Committee. Assistance is given on a Government--to-Government basis. Non-Government organisations may also receive assistance, but such requests must be sponsored by the Government of the country concerned. Assistance takes two principal forms:-
(I) Capital Aid in the form of grants and loans for national development projects ; commodities including food-grains, fertilizers, consumer goods specialised equipment Including machine-ry, farm and laboratory equipment, transport vehicles.
(2) Technical Co-operation, repre-sented by services of experts and techni-cians; facilities for study in advanced tech-nology in various fields to trainees from South and South-East Asia; the supply of special equipment for training and rese-arch; and intra-regional training.