The Colombo Plan sounds rather exciting and Robert Ludlum-esque… As it turns out, it’s an organisation established in 1951 which represents a collective intergovernmental effort to strengthen economic and social development of member countries in the Asia Pacific region.
It was initially conceived as a way to bring British and Australian investment into developing nations that were at risk of becoming communist regimes but things have moved on. An early emphasis on infrastructure and capital investment has become more of an institute of good government and best practice in policymaking with some shared programmes. Its membership has changed too, to a broader reach of nations across Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, and with the USA being the lead “western” nation. It hasn’t all been idyllic, with concerns about where and how funding has been used, and it still faces accusations of trying to bring economic solutions to social and insitutional issues.
Despite this stamp, Australia is no longer a member.