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South Asian Rotarians adopt Colombo Declaration after key meeting

Sep 6, 2011 4:47:17 PM - www.ft.lk

Rotarians in South Asia yesterday adopted a far reaching and crucial Colombo Declaration aimed at enhancing development and cooperation following the conclusion of a three-day gathering.

The Colombo Declaration agreed includes a 15-point draft action plan to realise the broader goal of helping the nations of South Asia in furtherance of cooperation and development to perpetuate prosperity, understanding and peace.
The Action Plan is as follows:
Establish an appropriate mechanism including creation of a foundation with national affiliates to coordinate joint action by Rotary clubs and other agencies in the South Asian region.
Periodically hold a Rotary South Asian Conference to review progress and take forward Rotary plans for the development of the region.
Explore the possibility of a Rotary Goodwill Ship that will carry Rotary doctors and medicine to coastal areas of South Asia, develop local medical expertise
Promote South Asian country exchanges, in art, education or trade and develop linkages between institutions in the countries of the region.  
Organise periodic Rotary Festival of South Asia which will be held by rotation in each country of South Asia to promote mutual appreciation of cultural heritage.
Conduct periodically a Paul Harris Cricket Tournament for South Asian countries. Advocate increase in percentage of national budgets allocated for social and economic development using goodwill ambassadors and the media.                                 
Empower women by developing micro credit linked projects specific to the needs and rights of women.
Partner with educational institutions, industry associations and government in developing vocational skills that would drastically reduce unemployment and vulnerable employment in the region.
Rotary Clubs in the region to take the lead in fostering a climate of mutual trust among people and institutions in the region.
Through Rotary programmes, organise Club to Club exchanges within the region, of students, teachers and Rotary volunteers between countries in the region.
Initiate projects in literacy, vocational training and health amongst South Asian countries.
Plan inter country health care networks that should be established amongst the South Asian countries to diagnose and treat diseases through Tele-medicine.
Create a website: To explore joint business opportunities and share best practices in management between countries.
Compile a Rotary Yellow Pages Business Directory of professions and businesses in South Asia
Have a blog for promoting prosperity for peace. This will also help attract younger people in this initiative
Have social media for promoting these initiatives
Create a health section run by Rotary medical professionals.
Rotary will collaborate with centres of learning excellence to conduct webinars.
Commissioning mobile clinics to preventing maternal and child mortality, increasing awareness of low cost nutrition and population
Rotary Clubs to adopt woman and children ward in sister towns in other countries.
Harness Rotary resources to create and replicate affordable health care models.
Implement Micro Health Insurance scheme with public-private partnership.
Rotary to be the catalyst in the development of common regional standards in medical, equipment and services.
The basis for the Colombo Declaration is that the South Asian region, shares a strong cultural heritage and is home to over one fifth of humanity; and the shared culture and civilisation of the region offers immense opportunities to realise common growth aspirations. This potential needs to be fully realised through greater collaboration amongst the countries in the region and that true development in the South Asian region can be achieved by fostering human development  (as indicated by the Human Development Index) and prosperity through cooperation and economic progress.
The Rotary South Asia Conference on Development and Cooperation affirmed the need for bold and innovative approaches towards greater mutual cooperation, trust and understanding between the countries; Greater tolerance by each country in the region towards one another; Enhanced exchange of thoughts, ideas and technology; Increased cultural exchange; Easier movement of people within the region; and Substantive trade, commerce and investments amongst the countries.
The Conference reiterated Rotary’s abiding commitment to reach within its organisational resources and embrace humanitarian ideals that unite the people of South Asia and called upon Rotary Clubs in this region individually and collectively to build enduring partnerships with one another, with governments, business enterprises, civil society and media in fulfilling these potentials and aspirations. It also undertook to adopt challenging goals with specific action plans including appropriate implementation and review mechanisms which will strengthen its efforts to help the nations of South Asia in furtherance of cooperation and development to perpetuate prosperity, understanding and peace. It was decided to commend the Colombo Declaration to all Rotary International districts in South Asia.

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