Nepal calls for making Saarc more effective

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 13, 2017-Nepal has called for making the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) more effective and result-oriented. 

Nepal, the founding member and current chair of Saarc, has also underlined 

the need of further strengthening the regional bloc, which celebrated the 33rd year of the signing the Saarc Charter, to expedite development and improve living standards of the people of the region. 

Saarc, which initially had seven members, is now an eight-member bloc after the inclusion of Afghanistan in April 2007. 

Addressing the 54th Saarc Programming Committee Meeting, which started at the Saarc Secretariat in Kathmandu on Tuesday, Mani Prasad Bhattarai, committee chair and chief of the Regional Organisation Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, laid stress on implementation of the decisions made by Saarc and its subordinate bodies. 

Stating that Saarc activities must be made people-oriented, Bhattarai called for cooperation and coordination among the member states for its further progress and prosperity.

Similarly, Saarc Secretary-General Amjad Hussain B Sial said the Saarc member states had made sustained endeavours to reinvigorate the Saarc process.

“The eighth meeting of the interior or home ministers and the sixth meeting of health ministers were held in Colombo in July 2017. The informal meetings of the council of ministers and finance ministers were also held respectively in May and September this year. Several other meetings of Saarc bodies were held this year,” he said. 

However, a number of Saarc activities had to be postponed due to lack of adequate confirmations for participation, he added. “In our view, we should rationalise the work of Saarc mechanisms, as directed by our leaders. But, once we agree to the calendar of activities, these should be held as planned for smooth, efficient and effective progress.”

The two-day meeting will dwell on budget issues of the Saarc Secretariat, Saarc five regional centres and four specialised bodies. 

A total of 50 people are taking part in the event. 

The Saarc process faced a setback last year after the scheduled 19th summit in Islamabad was postponed following India’s decision to pull out, citing an increase in cross-border terrorist attacks. 

The summit was to be held on November 9-10 in Islamabad. 

Published: 13-12-2017 07:05

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