Stronger secretariat on summit agenda

  • Members propose more executive, administrative role for Kathmandu
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
Stronger secretariat on summit agenda

Nov 19, 2014-

Member states have proposed to assign more executive and administrative role to the Saarc Secretariat.

While the move is expected to empower the secretariat in line with those of regional groupings like the EU and the Asean, the secretariat would be kept from dealing with core political, security and strategic matters.

The recent Saarc Council of Ministers meeting in Male and the meeting of the Programming Committee in Kathmandu have proposed to revamp the secretariat.

If the upcoming summit endorses the proposal, the Kathmandu headquarters can execute and monitor sub-regional and regional projects in coordination with the stakeholders. That would make the regional grouping more dynamic and result-oriented.

Reports of several studies conducted in the past by member states, independent institutions and the secretariat itself on how to strengthen the secretariat had not been heeded. For the first time, there is a unanimous voice among the member states that the secretariat should be strengthened, said a Nepal government official.

“Definitely, the Saarc secretariat should be upgraded,” said Nishchal Nath Pandey, who is actively involved in initiating the Saarc dialogue in the region and beyond.

Officials involved in the Saarc process say the secretariat needs to graduate from a “postal secretariat,” whose only involvement is in preparing the agenda for meetings, forwarding them to member states, calling meetings and preparing reports.

Pandey says that Saarc needs more experts in various fields and more teeth to execute commitments made in several forums.

As per the proposal to be tabled at the summit, the secretariat will implement the decisions at various levels, execute regional and sub-regional projects, monitor agreements and process proposals from member states and Observers.

According to the proposed five-point resolution, every proposal should first land in the secretariat whereby it reviews the progress, sets deadline and coordinates

with the stakeholders. The secretariat also stands to receive more resources and equipment.

 

Published: 20-11-2014 09:27

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