Addressing the inaugural session of the 47th Consultative Committee Meeting of The Colombo
Plan on August 11, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that The Colombo Plan’s work
and experience in the areas of socio-economic development will be a source of strength as
member countries grapple with the challenges of the post-pandemic world. As the global
climate calls for even more focus on social and economic development, The Colombo Plan
member states must build upon existing cooperation and explore new avenues for cooperation
in a new and challenging global environment.
Recalling that the success of the organizations cause depends on the commitment, contribution
and meaningful action of all member states, the Minister Gunawardena requested advanced
states to continue extending their support to The Colombo Plan so that it may sustain and
further develop meaningful programmes for the developing member states in the quest for
shared prosperity for all.
In keeping with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s vision of ‘Green and Smart’ cities, within the
Government’s environmental policy, Vistas of Prosperity & Splendour, Foreign Minister
Dinesh Gunawardena announced Sri Lanka’s willingness to take leadership to promote
programmes within The Colombo Plan on building sustainable green cities. Speaking on the
globally topical issue of rapid urbanization and the need for sustainable cities and increasing
green spaces, the Minister Gunawardena said rapid urbanization has a greater impact on
developing countries and poorer nations who are constantly playing technological catch-up. As
building sustainable cities requires investment, he said, countries must be supported through
assistance such as capacity building, access to green technology, energy and infrastructure, and
the development of sustainable and reliable public services.
The Foreign Minister Gunawardena also quoted Prof. Ranil Senanayake, leading Sri Lankan
global environmentalist, in his proposed paradigm shift in green environmental discussions, to
provide positive returns to offset financial debt of nations which have shown ecological
contribution and commitment.
In his welcoming remarks, Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage recalled that
The Colombo Plan has made history as one of the earliest attempts at international cooperation
by recognizing the importance of human resources development and south-south cooperation.
He observed The Colombo Plan’s significance today as an economic group with a combined
population of about 40% of the world’s population and a total GDP of about US$ 37 Trillion.
The Secretary-General of The Colombo Plan Ambassador Phan Kieu Thu addressed the session
as well and commended the contribution made by Sri Lanka and other Members States to the
deliberations of The Colombo Plan.
Sri Lanka is hosting the two day 47th Consultative Committee Meeting for the fifth time since
the inception of The Colombo Plan and the first time in twenty years. Additional Secretary for
Economic Affairs of the Foreign Ministry P.M Amza chaired the Consultative Committee
Meeting while the Sri Lanka Delegation comprised Acting Director General/ Economic Affairs
H. M. K. Herath, Director/Economic Affairs Priyanga Wickramasinghe and Acting Director
Economic Affairs Ahamed Razee.
Sri Lanka is a founding member of The Colombo Plan which was conceived at the 1950
Commonwealth Conference on Foreign Affairs in Colombo, as a cooperative endeavour. It was
established in 1951 and has grown from the initial seven member states to twenty-seven in
2021. For the past 70 years, the organization has been headquartered in Colombo.
11 August, 2021