The two-day meeting of SAARC Programming Committee was held in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. All eight members participated in the meeting.
This was the first senior level meeting of Association since postponement of 19th SAARC Summit in November 2016 after four nations Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India had requested for it following escalation of tension between India and Pakistan over the issue of terrorism.
- The Programming Committee is the lowest level mechanism in SAARC after the SAARC Standing Committee, which is held at the foreign secretary level, and SAARC Council of Ministers held at foreign minister level.
- This meeting was originally scheduled ahead of the November 2016 Islamabad SAARC summit which could not be convened following its postponement.
- In Kathmandu meeting, the committee had discussed various administrative and financial issues related to SAARC Secretariat and its bodies.
- It also had discussed issues related to budget of the SAARC Secretariat and five regional centres of SAARC, among others.
About the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
- SAARC is regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union in South Asia. It promotes development of economical and regional integration.
- As of 2015, SAARC member countries compromise of 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 9.12% of the global economy.
- SAARC Secretariat: Kathmandu (Nepal)
- Member Countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan (joined in 2007).
- Nine observer states: Australia, China, European Union, Japan, Iran, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea, and United States.
- Formation History: The idea for the SAARC was proposed by Ziaur Rahman, the then President of Bangladesh on May 2, 1980.
- The seven founding countries had met for first time in April 1981 and then in 1985, they created SAARC Charter. The first SAARC summit was held in Dhaka (Bangladesh) in December 1985.