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Section B 2
It is an organization of South Asian nations, which was established on 8 December 1985 when the government of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka formally adopted its charter providing for the promotion of economic and social progress, cultural development within the South Asia region and also for friendship and cooperation with other developing countries. It is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is dedicated to economic, technological, social, and cultural development emphasizing collective self-reliance. Its seven founding members are Sri Lanka, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, Afghanistan joined the organization in 2007.
to promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life; to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to provide all individuals the opportunity to live in dignity and to realize their full potential; to promote and strengthen selective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia; to contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another's problems; to promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields; to strengthen cooperation with other developing countries; to strengthen cooperation among themselves in international forums on matters of common interest; and to cooperate with international and regional organisations with similar aims and purposes. to maintain peace in the region
History The first concrete proposal for establishing a framework for regional cooperation in South Asia was made by the late president of Bangladesh, Ziaur Rahman, on May 2, 1980. Prior to this, the idea of regional cooperation in South Asia was discussed in at least three conferences: the Asian Relation Conference in New Delhi in April 1947, the Baguio Conference in the Philippines in May 1950, and the Colombo Powers Conference in April 1954. In the late 1970s, SAARC nations agreed upon the creation of a trade bloc consisting of South Asian countries. The idea of regional cooperation in South Asia was again mooted in May 1980. The foreign ministers of the seven countries met for the first time in Colombo in April 1981. The Committee of the Whole, which met in Colombo in August 1985, identified five broad areas for regional cooperation. New areas of cooperation were added in
Promotion of SAARC Culture online, Launching of a SAARC Website on Culture, Production of cultural source materials on South Asia, Cooperation with other Organizations, Establish linkage between Culture and other sectors in attaining social and economic development, Cooperation in the field of product development and promotion of cultural products, SAARC Exchange Program on Culture are the salient features of the Agenda for Culture
Economics, Trade & Finance
Cooperation in standards SAARC agreement on trade & services Cooperation in Avoidance of Double Taxation Customs cooperation SAARC trade fans SAPTA Protocol Revised Sensitive Lists under SAFTA SAARC Preferential trading agreement .
Environment & Energy COP Meetings SAARC Statement ON Climate Change 7 -18 December 2009 The Member States of SAARC remain concerned about the adverse effects of climate change on human lives, livelihoods, and populations in South Asia The island states, low-lying regions and long coastlines of South Asia face serious threats from climatic variations, and adverse effects of climate change including sea level rise. The Himalayan region and adjacent mountainous countries and river basins are also particularly vulnerable to catastrophic consequences of accelerated glacial melt and associated sks' SAARC reiterates that, in view of the historically high levels of GHG emissions, to which South Asia made insignificant contribution, adherence to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is critical in combating climate change in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Convention and its Kyoto protocol.
FUNDING MECHANISM & POVERTY ALIVATION SAARC Development Fund (SDF)
In 1996, a first funding mechanism was created in SAARC, „South Asian Development Fund (SADF)„, merging the SAARC Fund for Regional Projects (SFRP) and the SAARC Regional Fund. Objectives were to support : Industrial development, Poverty alleviation, Protection of environment, Institutional/human resource development Promotion of social and infrastructure development projects in the SAARC region
Science & Technology Recognizing the escalating revolution in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector and the tremendous opportunities and daunting challenges emanated there-from, the issue of communications received due prominence in the SAARC process. The Heads of State or Government at their Ninth SAARC Summit (Male‟, May 1997), noted that inadequate communications facilities amongst the Member States were a major hindrance to closer economic cooperation. They stressed the importance of developing infrastructure and adequate communications networks among Member States to reinforce the process of economic cooperation. In this regard, they highlighted the need for the simplification of complex documentation procedures and transactional software to facilitate economic interaction across the region.
Charter Desirous of promoting peace, stability, amity and progress in the region through strict adherence to the principles of the UNITED NATIONS CHARTER and NON-ALIGNMENT, particularly respect for the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, national independence, non-use of force and non-interference in the internal affairs of other States and peaceful settlement of all disputes. Conscious that in an increasingly interdependent world, the objectives of peace, freedom, social justice and economic prosperity are best achieved in the SOUTH ASIAN region by fostering mutual understanding, good neighbourly relations and meaningful cooperation among the Member States which are bound by ties of history and culture. Aware of the common problems, interests and aspirations of the peoples of SOUTH ASIA and the need for joint action and enhanced cooperation within their respective political and economic systems and cultural traditions.
Convinced that regional cooperation among the countries of SOUTH ASIA is mutually beneficial, desirable and necessary for promoting the welfare and improving the quality of life of the peoples of the region. Convinced further that economic, social and technical cooperation among the countries of SOUTH ASIA would contribute significantly to national and collective self-reliance. Recognising that increased cooperation, contacts and exchanges among the countries of the region will contribute to the promotion of friendship and understanding among their peoples. Recalling the DECLARATION signed by their Foreign Ministers in NEW DELHI on August 2, 1983 and noting the progress achieved in regional cooperation. Reaffirming their determination to promote such cooperation within an institutional framework
Respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, political equality and independence of all members states Non-interference in the internal matters is one of its objectives Cooperation for mutual benefit All decisions to be taken unanimously and need a quorum of all eight members Functions
Coordinates and monitors implementation of activities. Prepares for and services meetings Channel of communication between the Association and its Member States as well as other regional organizations.
The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987 and was inaugurated by Late King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal. SAARC Secretariat is headed by the Secretary General who is appointed by the Council of Ministers from the Member Countries for a three year term. The present Secretary General of SAARC is Mr. H.E. Ahmed Saleem a Maldivian diplomat.
Council of ministers:
It consists of the Foreign Ministers of the Member States. The Council of Ministers meets twice a year. Extraordinary sessions of the Council may be held by agreement among the member States.
Formulation of the policies. Review of the progress of cooperation. Decision on new areas and general interest of cooperation. Establishment of additional mechanism as deemed necessary.
The SAARC Secretariat is supported by Regional Centres which are established in Member States in order to promote regional cooperation. They are managed by Governing Boards comprising of representatives from all the Member States. The Director of the Centre acts as Member Secretary to the Governing Board which reports to the Programming Committee. The regional centres are: SAARC Agricultural Centre (SAC), Dhaka SAARC Meteorological Research Centre (SMRC), Dhaka SAARC Tuberculosis Centre (STC), Kathmandu
Cont. SAARC Documentation Centre (SDC), New Delhi 5. SAARC Human Resources Development Centre (SHRDC), Islamabad 6. SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre (SCZMC), Maldives 7. SAARC Information Centre (SIC), Nepal 8. SAARC Energy Centre (SEC), Pakistan 9. SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC), India 10. SAARC Development Fund (SDF), Bhutan 11. SAARC Forestry Centre (SFC), Bhutan 12. SAARC Cultural Centre (SCC), Sri Lanka
Apex and recognised bodies:
SAARC has six Apex Bodies, which are:
SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI) SAARCLAW (South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation In Law) South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) South Asia Foundation (SAF) South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC) Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL)
Political Issues SAARC has intentionally laid more stress on “core issues” rather than more decisive political issues like Kashmir dispute. Political dialogue is often conducted on the margins of SAARC meetings. During the 12th and 13th SAARC Summits, extreme emphasis was laid upon greater cooperation between the SAARC members to fight Terrorism.
SAPTA South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement
Signed on 11th April 1993 in Dhaka Framework for Tariff conessions Promoting trade and economic cooperation India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka are non-least developed countries. Recognition of the special needs of the least developed states and agreement on concrete preferential measures in their favour. Four rounds of trade negotiations have been concluded under SAPTA covering over 5000 commodities.
SAFTA South Asian Free Trade Area
The Agreement was reached at the 12th SAARC summit at Islamabad. The seven foreign ministers of the region signed a framework on SAFTA with zero customs duty on the trade practically all products in the region by end of 2016. In the final five year phase ending 2012, the 20% duty will be reduced to zero in a series of annual cuts. The least developed nations in South Asia consisting of Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Maldives have an additional three years to reduce tariffs to zero.
SAARC visa exemption scheme:
The SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme was launched in 1992. • The leaders at the Fourth Summit (Islamabad,1988), decided that certain categories of dignitaries should be entitled to a Special Travel document, which would exempt them from visas within the region. • As directed by the Summit, the Council of Ministers regularly kept under review the list of entitled categories. Currently the list included 24 categories of entitled persons, which include Dignitaries, Judges of higher courts, Parliamentarians, Senior Officials, Businessmen, Journalists, Sportsmen etc. • The Visa Stickers are issued by the respective Member States to the entitled categories of that particular country. • The validity of the Visa Sticker is generally for one year. The implementation is reviewed regularly by the Immigration Authorities of SAAR Member States.
The Twelfth Summit (Islamabad,2004) approved the institution of the SAARC Award to honour and encourage outstanding individuals and organisations within the region. The main objectives of the SAARC Award are: To encourage individuals and organisations based in South Asia to undertake programmes and activities complementing the efforts of SAARC To encourage individuals and organisations in South Asia contributing to the improvement of the conditions of women and children To honour outstanding contributions and achievements of individuals and organisations within the region in the fields of peace, development, poverty alleviation, environment protection and regional cooperation making the SAARC Award the most prestigious Award in the region. To honour any other outstanding contributions and achievements, not covered above, of individuals and organisations in the region. The SAARC Award comprises a gold medal, a letter of citation and cash prize of US $ 25,000.Since institution of SAARC Award in 2004, it has been awarded only once and the Award was posthumously conferred upon Late President Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh.
Members of SAARC
Afghanistan • Bangladesh • Bhutan • India
Iran Mauritius Myanmar United states
Australia China European Union Japan
• • •
Maldives Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka
Potential future members China Myanmar Russia
Secretaries – General Abdul Hasan : January, 1985 (first) Ahmed Saleem : March, 2012 to present
7-8 December, 1985 in Bangladesh Host leader : Ataur Rehman Khan (First) 10-11 November, 2011 in Maldives Host leader : Mohammed waheed hasan manik (Last) 2013 in Nepal Host leader : Khil Raj Regmi (Expected)
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