Saarc to trim regional centres

  • A meeting of Programming Committee held on Saturday decides to cut the number of centres to five from 11
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
Saarc to trim regional centres

Nov 22, 2014-

The 49th session of the Saarc Programming Committee on Saturday decided to close down three regional centres and merge four, lowering their number to five from 11.

The move aims to end duplication of work carried out by the regional centres and to cut costs. The meeting decided to scrap the Kathmandu-based Saarc Information Centre, Saarc Human Resource Development Centre, Islamabad; and the New Delhi-based Saarc Documentation Centre.

The meeting decided to merge the Saarc Forestry Centre in Bhutan, Saarc Disaster Management Centre, New Delhi; Saarc Coastal Zone Management Centre in the Maldives, and the Saarc Meteorological Research Centre in Dhaka into one to set up the Saarc Environment and Disaster Management Centre.

Amid claims of the member states to host the new centre, the meeting could not decide where to install it. According to Yagya Bahadur Hamal, leader of the Nepali delegation, the decision has been forwarded to the Saarc Standing Committee, whose foreign secretary-level meeting will begin on Sunday.

Members of the regional grouping had also agreed to focus on result-oriented activities by implementing past agreements and pacts, said Hamal. The meeting decided to keep the regional centres lean, adopt a new working modality and offer lucrative packages to the staff of the centres for their phased closure. The Saarc Information Centre and the Saarc Documentation Centre will dissolve into the secretariat. The meeting decided to permanently shut the Human Resource Development Centre based in Pakistan.

The Saarc Agriculture Centre established in Dhaka in 1988, the Saarc Tuberculosis Centre established in Kathmandu in 1982, the Saarc Energy Centre established in Pakistan in 2006, and the Cultural Centre established in Sri Lanka in 2009 will continue to function. The meeting also adopted a calendar of activities for 2015 and forwarded it to the foreign secretary-level meeting.

The meeting discussed the plan for the closure and merger of some regional centres, as recommended by the committee’s earlier meeting, the Foreign Ministry stated. “The meeting also reviewed the status of implementation of the recommendations of its earlier meetings,” it said.

The closure and merger will complete by December, 2016.

Published: 23-11-2014 09:20

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