INTRODUCTION The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and political organization of eight countries in Southern Asia. It was established on December 8, 1985 by India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan. In April 2007, at the Associations 14th summit, Afghanistan became its eighth member.
CONTD….. Sheelkant Sharma is the current secretary & Mahinda Rajapaksa is the current chairman of SAARC which is headquartered at Kathmandu. It aims to accelerate the process of economic and social development in Member States. SAARC provides a platform for the peoples of South Asia to work together in the spirit understanding.
OBJECTIVES To promote the welfare of the peoples 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 collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia;
To contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one anothers 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 organizations with similar aims and purposes.
SECRETARIAT The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987 and was inaugurated by Late King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal It is headed by a Secretary General The Secretariat coordinates and monitors implementation of activities, prepares for and services meetings, and serves as a channel of communication between the Association and its Member States as well as other regional organizations The SAARC Secretariat and Member States observe 8 December as the SAARC Charter Day.
IPA (INTEGRATED PROGRAMME OF ACTION) The Declaration on South Asian Regional Cooperation was adopted by the Foreign Ministers in 1983 in New Delhi. During the meeting, the Ministers also launched the Integrated Programme of Action (IPA) in nine agreed areas namely:- Agriculture Rural Development Telecommunications Meteorology Health and Population Activities Transport Postal Services Science and Technology Sports, Arts and Culture
1. To direct the SAFTA Ministerial Council to intensify efforts to fully and effectively implement SAFTA and the work on reduction in Sensitive Lists as well as early resolution of non-tariff barriers and expediting the process of harmonizing standards and customs procedures. 2. To direct the SAARC Finance Ministers to chart a proposal that would allow for greater flow of financial capital and intra-regional long-term investment. 3. To hold the Twelfth SAARC Trade Fair along with SAARC Travel and Tourism Fair in Kulhudhuffushi, Maldives in 2012.
To direct the Secretary General to ensure completion of the preparatory work on the Indian Ocean Cargo and Passenger Ferry Service, including the Feasibility Study, by the end of 2011, in order to launch the Service. 6. To direct the conclusion of the Inter-governmental Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation and the Study on the Regional Power Exchange Concept as also the work related to SAARC Market for Electricity. 7. To make available an appropriate percentage of national income towards the respective countries’ renewable energy investments, subject to the approval of national arrangements.
For the first time in its history, the declaration specifically mentions terrorism. SAARC foreign ministers signed agreements on charter of the US $ 307 million SAARC Development Fund, the South Asian Regional Standards Organization, Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters (including terrorism), and taking Afghanistan into SAFTA.
DESIGNATED SAARC YEARS 1989 SAARC Year of Combating Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking 1990 SAARC Year of Girl Child 1991 SAARC Year of Shelter 1992 SAARC Year of Environment 1993 SAARC Year of Disabled Persons 1994 SAARC Year of the Youth 1995 SAARC Year of Poverty Eradication 1996 SAARC Year of Literacy 1997 SAARC Year of Participatory Governance 1999 SAARC Year of Biodiversity 2002-2003 SAARC Year of Contribution of Youth to Environment 2004 SAARC Awareness Year for TB and HIV/AIDS 2006 South Asia Tourism Year
SAARC DECADES 1991-2000 SAARC Decade of the Girl Child. 2001-2010 SAARC Decade of the Rights of the Child.