Flag of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
  • Acronym: SAARC
  • Type: Regional Intergovernmental Organization
  • Membership: 8 member states
  • Establishment: Established on 8 December 1985
  • Official Language(s): English
  • Headquarters: Kathmandu, Nepal

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a manifestation of the regionalism that aims to promote development through mutual assistance, increased collaboration, and collective self-reliance within the South Asian community. It serves as a platform for the people of South Asia to work together in a spirit of friendship, trust, and understanding.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation History

SAARC was established when its Charter was formally adopted on 8 December 1985 by the Heads of State or Government of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan became a member of SAARC in 2007. The establishment of SAARC was a response to the complex geopolitical dynamics of the South Asian region and the need for a united front to tackle regional issues and promote development.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Structure

SAARC has a multi-tiered structure comprising the Summit, the Council of Ministers, the Standing Committee, the Technical Committees, the Secretariat, and several Regional Centres. The Summit, which is the highest authority in SAARC, is attended by the Heads of State or Government of the member states and meets biennially. The Council of Ministers, consisting of the Foreign Ministers of the member states, formulates policies, reviews progress, and decides on new areas of cooperation.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Membership

Membership in SAARC is open to any sovereign country in South Asia. The current membership includes eight South Asian countries. SAARC promotes the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and improves their quality of life through accelerated economic growth, social progress, and cultural development in the region.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Objectives

Regional Integration

SAARC aims to promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life. This objective is pursued through the acceleration of economic growth, social progress, and cultural development.

Sustainable Development

SAARC is committed to promoting sustainable development in South Asia. It aims to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Social Progress

SAARC works towards enhancing the quality of life and well-being of the people of the region. It aims to promote social progress by reducing poverty, improving health and education, and ensuring a dignified life for all citizens.

Cultural Development

SAARC aims to strengthen the cultural ties among member states. It encourages people-to-people contact and cultural exchanges to foster mutual understanding and respect among the peoples of South Asia.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Funding

SAARC is funded through contributions from its member states. The contribution mechanism is based on an agreed formula, and it ensures that the organization has the necessary resources to carry out its activities and initiatives effectively.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Projects

Regional Connectivity Projects

SAARC undertakes projects aimed at enhancing regional connectivity. This includes developing transportation networks, energy grids, and digital infrastructure to facilitate trade and cooperation among member states.

Social Development Initiatives

SAARC is involved in a range of initiatives aimed at social development, including projects in health, education, and women’s empowerment. These initiatives aim to improve the quality of life and provide equal opportunities for all citizens in the region.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Members

Full Members

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Bangladesh
  3. Bhutan
  4. India
  5. Maldives
  6. Nepal
  7. Pakistan
  8. Sri Lanka

SAARC continues to strive towards building a cohesive and integrated South Asia, where the potential of its people is fully harnessed to create a synergistic and collaborative environment. The organization’s endeavors in promoting regional integration, sustainable development, social progress, and cultural development have laid the foundation for a prosperous and united South Asian region. Through collective efforts and a shared vision, SAARC aims to transform South Asia into a region of peace, stability, and prosperity.

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