4 reports tabled at Saarc meet

- LAL PRASAD SHARMA, Pokhara

Mar 15, 2016-

Four reports forwarded by Saarc Specialised Agencies were tabled for discussion at the 52nd Programming Committee Meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation that began in Pokhara on Monday.

According to Mani Sharma Bhattarai, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who leads the Nepali delegation to the meeting, said that the chiefs of Saarc University, Saarc Development Fund, Saarc Arbitration Centre and Regional Standard Organisation submitted their reports.

Nepal, as the current chair of the regional bloc, has faced a lot of criticism for “inadequate efforts to steer the Saarc’s progress”. Officials blame the earthquakes last year, sustained political 

standoff in Nepal and the border blockage for the lack of progress.

The mini Saarc summit will discuss the progress made in the past and chart out the future roadmap where the grouping needs to be headed, said an official. There were numerous complaints and grievances among the members about the Saarc’s lacklustre progress, he added.

The focus was on how to provide momentum for Saarc, finalising the calendar of events and setting the date for the new summit.

The meeting also discussed the decisions made by the earlier meeting and the status of their implementation but no decision was made, he added. The agendas taken up were education, trade, arbitration and other aspects of regional cooperation, which would also be discussed by the foreign secretaries and the foreign ministers later. 

The decisions and recommendations made by the programming committee will be forwarded to the Saarc Standing Committee involving the foreign secretaries, which begins on Wednesday.

Published: 15-03-2016 08:42

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