founded in 1985 outh Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), organization of South Asian nations, was and dedicated to economic, technological, social, and cultural development emphasizing collective self-reliance.
Features of SAARC
- Its seven founding members are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan joined the organization in 2007.
- Headquarters are in Kathmandu, Nepal. The Secretariat was established in 1987.
- The 11 stated areas of cooperation are
. education, culture, and sports
health, population, and child welfare
. environment and meteorology
. rural development (including the SAARC Youth Volunteers Program)
. science and technology
. women in development
. prevention of drug trafficking and drug abuse
- The charter stipulates that decisions are to be unanimous and that bilateral and contentious issues are to be avoided.
- Meetings are held at the Summit level, usually on an annual basis. First Summit was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
- Cooperation in the SAARC is based on respect for the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, noninterference in internal affairs of the member states and mutual benefit.
- Regional cooperation is seen as a complement to the bilateral and multilateral relations of SAARC members.
- 1905-Foreign ministry officials of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka meet for the first time in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
- 1983-At an international conference held in New Delhi, the foreign ministers of the seven countries adopted the Declaration on South Asian Association Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and formally launched the Integrated Programme of Action (IPA).
- 1985-SAARC is established when its charter is formally approved.
- 2009-Australia, China, the EU, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea, and the United States become observers of SAARC.
Achievements of SAARC
- SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA) was signed in 1993 and entered into force in 1995. The agreement provided for a positive list; the trade of the items on the positive list could be regulated.
- The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) is an agreement reached in 2004 to create SAARC free trade area. The members of SAARC signed a framework agreement on SAFTA to reduce customs duties of all traded goods to zero by the year 2016.
- Major instruments of SAFTA:
. Trade liberalisation programme
. Rules of Origin
. Institutional arrangements
. Consultations and dispute settlement procedures
. Safeguard measures
. Special provisions for least developing countries of SAARC.
- Food Bank
It was recognized originally to facilitate an emergency source for facing a crisis in shortage or a natural disaster, floods, earthquakes, and other issues.
- Development Fund
The objective was to promote the welfare of the people of the South Asian region; to improve their quality of life, economic growth, social progress and poverty.
- South Asian University
It is an international university established in 2010 by the SAARC desk. It is offering postgraduate and doctoral programs in several disciplines.