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Colombo plan’s Drug Advisory programme oldest, best - Secretary General Patricia Yoon-Moi Chia

The Colombo Plan has the oldest and the best Drug Advisory Programme (DAP) in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Colombo Plan DAP was established in 1973 to address the increasing drug menace which threatened the development and stability of the region, said the Colombo Plan Secretary General Patricia Yoon-Moi Chia at the Colombo Plan 57th Anniversary celebration held in Colombo yesterday.

The Colombo Plan Council President Prof. W. D. Lakshman was the chief guest. The Colombo Plan Fun Walk held yesterday around the Viharamahadevi Park to celebrate the occasion.

Schoolchildren, Colombo Plan Officials and the public participated at the Walk.

Cultural Troupes of Lyceum International School and Tathsarani Dance Academy and Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) performed at the Open-air Theatre at the Viharamahadevi Park.

The DAP focuses on the development of human capital in member countries in the field of drug demand and supply reduction, with funding support by the Government of the United States and 14 other contributing member countries, Chia said.

The Colombo Plan Secretary General emphasised that about 90% of our activities are in the area of drug demand reduction.

This is significant in view of the fact the UN agency only address less than 10% of its budget for drug demand reduction.

“We will definitely fill the major gap in international assistance and cooperation in the field of drug demand reduction.”

There are many challenges in today’s International cooperation. Unprecedented oil prices and skyrocketing food prices make it is very difficult environment for development.

The Colombo Plan will endeavour to be flexible to adjust to these challenging circumstances, she added. Quoting ‘Helen Keller’ Chia said “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.”

In this spirit, “I will endeavour to do my best and keep the sunshine in the Colombo Plan.” she said.

“I would like to give assurance to all member and non-member countries that the Colombo Plan will endeavour to engage anyone and everyone in order to achieve our Vision for 2025.

In other words, we plan to have partnerships with any like-minded countries and organisations to cooperate in areas of mutual interest.

The Colombo Plan has among its members the richest countries in the world and also the least developed as well.”

It is the role of the Colombo Plan to be the honest broker or catalyst in mobilizing the needed resources to meet the needs of developing member countries, particularly in meeting the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

To do so the same spirit of generosity that has been exhibited in the establishment of the Colombo Plan, will be needed from member countries to continue the philosophy of self-help and mutual-help, the Colombo Plan Secretary-General said.

India, Iran, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are now providing many training programmes in the areas of public administration, environment and private sector development to other member countries.

This support also includes the long-term scholarships, the hallmark of the Colombo Plan. Currently, the Colombo Plan provides about 30 post-graduate scholarships per year and we hope this number will continue to increase with more partner agencies coming on board, she added.

Chia said that the achievements and milestones of the Colombo Plan for the last 57 years of its implementation have been well documented.

Being born out of the historical forces in a post war Asia Pacific region, the Colombo Plan could be called the “Mother of all development and agencies.”

The fact that we have provided about 10,000 scholarships to officials from member governments, NGOs and even non-member countries, from 1995 to June 2008, speaks of the continuing relevance of the Colombo Plan.



Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
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LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
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