The South Asian Association for regional Cooperation SAARC

Meeting the development needs of SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION /SAARC region, by Anu Mahmud, Sat, 5 May 2007, in The New Nation.

3 excerpts: The leaders observed the need for accelerating development of renewable energy which would be discussed in the South Asia Energy Dialogue to be held in Delhi. The leaders also asked for concerted efforts to quickly implement the various initiatives under the SAARC Plan of Action on Environment. The Declaration stated, the leaders emphasised that SAFTA should be implemented in ‘letter and spirit, but also stressed that to realise its full potential, SAFTA should integrate trade in services …

… The leaders called for an extension of the SAARC Regional Multimodel Transport Study (SRMTS) to include Afghanistan and called for early implementation of the recommendations contained in the study in phases. They welcomed the entry of Afghanistan into SAARC as a new member and China, Japan, the European Union, South Korea, and the USA as observers. They also welcomed Iran to be associated with the South Asian forum as observer.

The Delhi summit decided to designate one rural community as SAARC village in each member-state to showcase home-grown innovative models of developments. Such uplift models will be replicated across the region as the leaders acknowledged that there is’ a wide range of home-grown best practices and innovative solutions for transforming the lives of peoples in South Asia’.

It was noted that the SAARC Development Fund (SDF) is an important pillar that would bring concrete benefits to the people of the region. The summiteers directed at the earliest and agreed that the resources for the fund would be mobilised both from within and outside the region …

… The vision of a South Asian community, where there would be smooth flow of goods, services, peoples, technologies, knowledge, capital, culture and ideas in the region mentioned in the Declaration stated is, definitely in line with the hopes and aspirations of the 1.5 billion people of South Asia. In the Declaration, the eight leaders committed to adopt the SAARC Development Goals in their national policies, harmonising customs procedures, expanding cooperation in energy and ICT sector and implementing social charter.

The leaders observed the need for accelerating development of renewable energy which would be discussed in the South Asia Energy Dialogue to be held in Delhi. The leaders also asked for concerted efforts to quickly implement the various initiatives under the SAARC Plan of Action on Environment. The Declaration stated, the leaders emphasised that SAFTA should be implemented in ‘letter and spirit, but also stressed that to realise its full potential, SAFTA should integrate trade in services.

They called for quick finalisation of the Agreement in the services sector, and the Agreement on Investment Promotion and Protection. The leaders also asked for the World Trade Organisation to show commitment for successful conclusion to the Doha Round. With the adoption of such realistic decisions and acceptance of the US and Iran as observers in the SAARC to widen the scope of the group’s cooperation with others,sw it is hoped that the countries of the region would be able to rise above historical mistrusts to pursue a common future for the peoples of the region. (full text).

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