Kathmandu, September 9:
The 44th Colombo Plan Consultative Committee meeting began here from today. Nepal got an opportunity to hold the meeting after a gap of 37 years. Nepal had acquired the Colombo Plan membership in 1952. Nepal for the first in 1977 had organised the Committee meeting.The Colombo Plan, established in 1950, is a regional orgnisation for cooperative economic and social development in the Asia-Pacific region. Besides, it is focused on human resources development for the alleviation of poverty, promotion of good governance, development of education and health sectors and physical infrastructure of member countries through collective inter-governmental efforts.
A total of 27 countries in the Asia-Pacific region (SAARC and ASEAN groupings) are participating in the meeting jointly organised by National Planning Commission (NPC) and Colombo Plan Secretariat. The meeting is expected to share experiences of member countries attained in endeavours for infrastructure development, establishment of good governance and human resources development, among others. The Colombo Plan offers scholarship quotas for member countries for higher education under different faculties including information and technology, medical science and engineering. The consultative committee meeting is organised in every two years. The 43rd meeting was held in Indonesia in 2012. The next meeting is to be held in Fiji in 2016.
Inaugurating the meeting, Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said Nepal has increased investment in physical infrastructure development, health and education sectors to meet the Millennium Development Goal. Nepal is making efforts to transform itself from developing country to the least developed country. NPC Vice Chairman Prof Dr Govinda Raj Pokhrel informed that Nepal witnessed 5.2 per cent economic growth rate last fiscal year. Agriculture and tourism are the bases for attaining economic growth, he said, adding poverty and increasing unemployment problems are challenges for meeting the development goals. He further said development efforts have been affected by global climate change.
President of Colombo Plan Council, Harimawan Suyitno said the plan is dedicated to preparing a roadmap for economic prosperity in the region with the reduction of poverty. NPC Joint Secretary Lal Shanakr Ghimire said it is the matter of pride that Nepal got an opportunity to hold the meeting after a long time. He expressed his hope that the meeting would help find a new course for the Colombo Plan.