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South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Member States and Observers, Principal Organs, SAARC Centers and more SAARC related information in brief.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia.
Important information on SAARC

8 Member States and their Capitals: 

  1. Nepal (Kathmandu)
  2. Bhutan (Thimpu)
  3. India (New Delhi)
  4. Bangladesh (Dhaka)
  5. Pakistan (Islamabad)
  6. Sri Lanka (Sri Jayabardanepura Kotte)
  7. Maldives (Male)
  8. Afghanistan (Kabul): (Membership by 14th SAARC Summit 2007)

9 Observers

**JACK MA MIE**
  1. Japan
  2. Australia
  3. China
  4. Korea (South)
  5. Mauritius
  6. America (US)
  7. Myanmar
  8. Iran
  9. European Union
  • SAARC: South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
  • BIMSTEC: Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation
  • MGC: Mekong Ganga Cooperation (6 member states)
  • ASEAN: Association of South East Asian Nations (10 member states)
  • ECO: Economic Cooperation Organization
  • TC: Turkic Council
  • SCO: Shangai Cooperation Organization
  • GCC: Gulf Cooperation Council
  • ACD: Asia Cooperation Dialogue

History of SAARC:

First summit: 7 and 8 December of 1985 held in Dhaka
Summit was hosted by the President of Bangladesh Hussain Ershad
The declaration signed by 
  1. King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk
  2. President of Pakistan Zia-ul-Haq
  3. Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi
  4. King of Nepal Birendra Shah
  5. President of Sri Lanka JR Jayewardene, and
  6. President of Maldives Maumoon Gayoom.

Potential Future members

Myanmar has expressed interest in upgrading its status from an observer to a full member of SAARC. Russia has applied for observer status membership of SAARC. Turkey applied for observer status membership of SAARC in 2012. South Africa has participated in meetings.

SAARC Charter 

10 Articles signed by Head of States/Government
Article I: OBJECTIVES
Article II: PRINCIPLES 
Article IIIMEETINGS OF THE HEADS OF STATE OR GOVERNMENT
Article IVCOUNCIL OF MINISTERS
Article V: STANDING COMMITTEE
Article VI: TECHNICAL COMMITTEES
Article VII: ACTION COMMITTEES
Article VIII: SECRETARIAT
Article IX: FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS
Article X: GENERAL PROVISIONS

Principal Organs of SAARC

  1. The Summit Conference/Meeting of Heads of State/Government
  2. Council of Ministers    
  3. Standing Committee
  4. SAARC Programming Committees
  5. Technical Committees
  6. Action Committees: The Standing Committee may set up Action Committees comprising the Member States concerned with the implementation of projects involving more than two but not all Member States.
  7. Secretariat 

Participations on the SAARC Meetings

  1. SAARC Summit: Head of States/Government (Once every 2/2 years or more often as and when considered necessary by the Member States*)
  2. Council of Ministers: Foreign Ministers of Member States (Every year*)
  3. Standing Committee: Foreign Secretaries of SAARC (Every year* or meet as often as deemed necessary)
  4. Programme Committee/Charter Body: Foreign Deputy Secretaries (2 times a year*)
*Formerly the periodic meeting time was 1, 2, and meet as often as deemed necessary respectively. The 18th SAARC summit changed it as above.

SAARC Secretariat

  • 1 Secretary-General, 1/1 Directors from each member states and other officers as per need.
  • SAARC Secretariat is established in Tridevi Marg Kathmandu Nepal (16 January 1987, Inauguration by King Birendra)
  • Secretary-General of SAARC (13th): Mr. Amjad Hussain B. Sial (1 March 2017 - Present) 
  • Tenure of SAARC SG: 3 years (Formerly was 2 years, 9th SAARC summit 1997 extend to 3)

SAARC Regional Centres:

From 18th SAARC Kathmandu Summit 11 RC convert to 5. 

  • SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC), Dhaka 
  • SAARC Energy Centre (SEC), Islamabad 
  • SAARC Cultural Centre (SCC), Colombo, Sri Lanka 
  • SAARC Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Centre (STAC), Kathmandu 
  • SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC), India

SAARC SPECIALIZED BODIES

  1. SAARC Development Fund (SDF): The 13th SAARC Summit (Dhaka, 12-13 November 2005) decided to establish SAARC Development Fund (SDF) as a comprehensive funding mechanism with the provision of three Windows (Social, Economic and Infrastructure).
  2. SOUTH ASIAN UNIVERSITY (SAU): The Agreement for the Establishment of South Asian University was signed by the Ministers of Foreign/External Affairs of the MSs of SAARC during the 14th SAARC Summit (New Delhi, 4 April 2007).
  3. SOUTH ASIAN REGIONAL STANDARDS ORGANIZATION (SARSO): The fifteenth SAARC Summit paved the way for establishing SARSO in order to harmonize standards and promote cooperation in the fields of metrology, accreditation and conformity assessment for enhancing the capacity of the respective national institutions in carrying out their technical tasks. The agreement on SARSO came into effect on 25th August 2011.
  4. SAARC ARBITRATION COUNCIL (SAC): The agreement on SARCO was signed during the Thirteenth Summit and came into effect on 2 July 2007. SARCO was established with a view to resolving cost-effective settlement of disputes via arbitration within the region.

SAARC Apex bodies

 1  
 SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI) 
 2
 South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in Law (SAARCLAW) 
 3 
 South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA)
 4
 South Asia Foundation (SAF)
 5
 Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL)
 6
 South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC)











The recognized body of SAARC 

  1  
  Association of Management and Development Institutions in South Asia (AMDISA)
  2  
  South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation of Architects (SAARCH)
  3 
 Federation of State Insurance Organizations of SAARC Countries (FSIO)
  4
  SAARC Diploma Engineers Forum (SDEF)
  5
  Radiological Society of SAARC Countries (RSSC)
  6
  SAARC Teachers Federation (STF)
  7
  SAARC Surgical Care Society (SSCS)
  8
  South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA)
  9
  SAARC Women’s Association (SWA)
  10 
  Hindukush Himalayan Grassroots Women’s Natural Resources Management (HIMAWANTI)
  11 
  Federation of Association of Pediatric Surgeons of SAARC Countries (FAPSS)
  12
  South Asian Federation of Exchanges (SAFE)
  13
  SAARC Federation of Oncologists (SFO)
  14
  South Asia Association of National Scout Organization (SAANSO)
  15
  South Asian Network of Economic Research Institute (SANEI)
  16
  SAARC Academy of Ophthalmology (SAO)
  17
  South Asian Women Development Forum (SAWDF)
  18
  Self Employed Women Association (SEWA



















Extra Note

  • SAARC was founded in the First summit, 7 and 8 December of 1985 held in Dhaka
  • Girija Prasad Koirala is the Head of Government participating SAARC summit most time from Nepal (5 times: 6th, 7th 10th, 14th), King Birendra (4 times: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th)
  • Rajiv Gandhi is the only one Head of Government (PM) to sign in SAARC Declaration. All other are Heads of States. 
  • Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (commonly known as Kotte) is the official capital of Sri Lanka. Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is a satellite city and within the urban area of Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo.
  • The concept of SAARC was firstly given by Ziaur Rahman (7th president of Bangladesh) and Late King Birendra.
  • SAARC comprises 3% of the world's area21% of the world's population and 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy, as of 2015.
  • Till now 2 Secretary General, Yadav Kanta Silwal 4th (1 Jan 1994 - 31 Dec 1995) and Arjun Bahadur Thapa 12th (1 Mar 2014 - 28 Feb 2017) are from Nepal.
  • Landlocked countries in SAARC are 3: Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. The Island countries are 2: Sri Lanka and the Maldives. 
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GITAB - Knowledge Hub: South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Member States and Observers, Principal Organs, SAARC Centers and more SAARC related information in brief.
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