Kathmandu: The 57th session of the Program Committee of the South Asian Association for Regional Assistance began at the SAARC Secretariat.
Including the Heads of the SAARC Department from the ministries of foreign /external affairs or national focal points of SAARC member states, the Program Committee is the Charter Body of SAARC.
Foreign Secretary of Nepal and Chairman of the SAARC Standing Committee, Mr. Shanker Das Bairagi said-“SAARC has become well networked, widely recognized and established regional body during its 35 years of operation.”He highlighted the importance of SAARC for promoting the welfare of the people of South Asia and the need to further reinvigorate it to address challenges while reaping benefits from opportunities.
The cost of non-cooperation was enormous and that regional cooperation in South Asia was not a choice, but a compulsion.”Regional cooperation is one of the priorities of Nepal’s foreign policy. As a founding member and current Chair, Nepal’s commitment to the principles and objectives of SAARC is unflinching,”- he added.
Secretary-General of SAARC, Mr. Amjad Hussain B Sial said-“Drawing satisfaction from the progress we have made this year we should continue to work hard to achieve the coveted objectives enshrined in the SAARC Charter, as well as the goal of South Asian Economic Union, as envisioned by our leaders.”
He mentioned that the raison d’etre for the creation of SAARC is to promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life through accelerated social progress and economic development. It is of utmost importance to regularly convene the meetings of the Charter bodies at all levels. Stating that summits provide renewed impetus to SAARC, he hoped that a consensus will be reached soon among the member states to convene the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad.
Nepal foreign Ministry Joint Secretary, Mr. Ram Prasad Subedi will review the progress of regional cooperation in several areas of priority areas for SAARC.
In addition to discussing the SAARC calendar for 2020, the committee will review issues related to SAARC Secretariat, Specialized Bodies and Regional Centers, including their budget and calendar of activities for 2020. A two-day session of the program committee also brought together the heads of SAARC Special Bodies and SAARC Regional Centers. The last meeting of the Program Committee was held in December- 2018 at the SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu, according to a release issued by the SAARC Secretariat.