South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC): Principal Organs and Summits

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is association (South Asian) for regional cooperation was founded as a movement toward collective progress for the involved nations of South Asia. The organization promoted political cooperation between these strategic nations for the mutual progression of the countries socially, economically, and culturally.
Created On: Mar 29, 2016 15:01 IST

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is association (South Asian) for regional cooperation was founded as a movement toward collective progress for the involved nations of South Asia. The organization promoted political cooperation between these strategic nations for the mutual progression of the countries socially, economically, and culturally. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka were the founding members. In 2007, Afghanistan joined SAARC and bringing the total number of members of SAARC up to eight. Australia, China, the European Union, Japan, Iran, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea, and the United States of America are nine observer states

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History behind the formation of SAARC

In November 1980, the idea of regional co-operation among South Asian Countries was raised. But the idea of association trace back to the three conferences: the Asian Relations Conference held in New Delhi on April 1947; the Baguio Conference in the Philippines on May 1950; and the Colombo Powers Conference held in Sri Lanka in April 1954.

After consultations, the foreign secretaries of the seven founding countries—Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka—met for the first time in Colombo in April 1981. This was followed a few months later by a meeting of the Committee of the Whole, which identified five broad areas for regional cooperation. The foreign ministers, at their first meeting in New Delhi in August 1983, adopted the Declaration on South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and formally launched the Integrated Program of Action (IPA) in the five agreed areas of cooperation: agriculture; rural development; telecommunications; meteorology; and health and population activities.

Later, transport; postal services; scientific and technological cooperation; and sports, arts, and culture were added to the IPA. Afghanistan became the newest member of SAARC at the 13th annual summit in 2005. China and Japan were granted observer status at the same.

Principal Organs of SAARC

The apex bodies of SAARC are discussed below:

  • The Heads of State or Government during the Ninth SAARC Summit agreed that a process of informal political consultations would prove useful in promoting peace, stability, amity, and accelerated socio-economic cooperation in the region.
  • Council of Ministers: The Council, comprising the Foreign Ministers of Member States, generally meets twice a year. The Council may also meet in extraordinary circumstances by agreement of Member States.
  • Standing Committee of Foreign Secretaries: The Committee provides overall monitoring and coordination, determines priorities, mobilizes resources, and approves projects and financing. It may meet as often as deemed necessary but in practice normally meets twice a year and submits its reports to the Council of Ministers.
  • The Standing Committee may also set up Action Committees comprising Member States concerned with implementation of projects per Article VII of the Charter. The Standing Committee is assisted by a Programming Committee, an ad hoc body, comprising senior officials, to scrutinize the Secretariat Budget, finalize the Calendar of Activities, and take up any other matter assigned to it by the Standing Committee. The Programming Committee also has been entrusted to consider the reports of the Technical Committees and the SAARC Regional Centers and submit its comments to the Standing Committee.
  • Secretariat: The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987. Its role is to coordinate and monitor the implementation of SAARC activities, service the meetings of the association and serve as the channel of communication between SAARC and other international organizations.

It is comprises the secretary-general, seven directors, and the general services staff. The secretary-general is appointed by the Council of Ministers on the principle of rotation, for a non-renewable tenure of three years.

SAARC Summits Dates and Host Cities

Number

Date

Country

Host

Host leader

1st

7–8 December 1985

Bangladesh

Dhaka

Ataur Rahman Khan

2nd

16–17 November 1986

India

Bengaluru

Jayanth M Gowda

3rd

2–4 November 1987

Nepal

Kathmandu

Marich Man Singh Shrestha

4th

29–31 December 1988

Pakistan

Islamabad

Benazir Bhutto

5th

21–23 November 1990

Maldives

Malé

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom

6th

21 December 1991

Sri Lanka

Colombo

Ranasinghe Premadasa

7th

10–11 April 1993

Bangladesh

Dhaka

Khaleda Zia

8th

2–4 May 1995

India

New Delhi

P V Narasimha Rao

9th

12–14 May 1997

Maldives

Malé

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom

10th

29–31 July 1998

Sri Lanka

Colombo

Chandrika Kumaratunga

11th

4–6 January 2002

Nepal

Kathmandu

Sher Bahadur Deuba

12th

2–6 January 2004

Pakistan

Islamabad

Zafarullah Khan Jamali

13th

12–13 November 2005

Bangladesh

Dhaka

Khaleda Zia

14th

3–4 April 2007

India

New Delhi

Manmohan Singh

15th

1–3 August 2008

Sri Lanka

Colombo

Mahinda Rajapaksa

16th

28–29 April 2010

Bhutan

Thimphu

Jigme Thinley

17th

10–11 November 2011

Maldives

Addu

Mohammed Nasheed

18th

26-27 November 2014

Nepal

Kathmandu

Sushil Koirala

19th

September 2016

Nepal

Islamabad

Nawaz Sharif

Source: www.mapsofworld.com

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