Saarc to set up regional planning council

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Dec 2, 2014-

The South Asian nations have agreed to set up a separate Saarc Regional Planning Council to execute regional projects in a better coordinated manner. In the wake of the recently concluded 18th Saarc Summit and according to the proposal forwarded by the Saarc Secretariat, the new body will conduct feasibility study on regional projects and recommend them to the member states.

The proposal was approved by various Saarc mechanisms, including programming committee, standing committee and Saarc council of minister, before it was endorsed by the summit, said Saarc Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa.

According to him, the six technical committees of Saarc, responsible for implementation, coordination, and monitoring of programmes in the region, will be dissolved, along with the four working groups that have been overseeing the programmes in their respective areas, and proposing mechanisms and sources of finance to help implement projects to help achieve the set targets.

The technical committees focused on the field of agriculture and rural development, technical committee on health and population activities, women, youth and children, science and technology, transport, and environment. And the working groups on biotechnology, energy, information and communication technology, and tourism.

Thapa said the duties of the Saarc technical committees and working groups will be merged and brought under the aegis of the council. The Saarc Secretariat will be preparing the modality and mandate for the council, along with conceptual note.

Similarly, the council will also determine the potential and scope of regional cooperation in the agreed areas, formulate programmes, prepare projects, and determine financial implications of sectoral programmes.

It will also perform the tasks of recommending apportionment of costs, implementing and coordinating of sectoral programmes, and monitoring the progress and implementation of projects.

“Before preparing conceptual note and mandate of the council, we will also look into the practices in other regional organisations,” said Thapa.

During the Saarc regional meeting, the member states had stressed that there must be a regional cooperation strategy pursued with political will and commitment of the member states and while pursuing economic cooperation, proper synergic coordination between the regional and national plans and programmes of action.

Other projects and programmes pushed by the nine Observer nations of the regional grouping will be excluded from the council. The regional projects and programmes will be formulated and implemented through the council.  A separate funding mechanism will be sought to execute the projects, according to Thapa.


Published: 03-12-2014 09:16

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