The first meeting of the SAARC Sectoral Technical Committee on Food and Agricultural Products was held in the SAARC Secretariat on 24th August 2011. This was followed by the Eighth Meeting of the SAARC Standards Coordination Board on 25th and 26th August 2011.
The main outcomes/highlights of the above two meetings are as follows;
1. After detailed deliberations, draft proposed SAARC Standards on refined sugar, biscuits and instant noodles have been formulated with respect to the three products. The member states would hold consultations with their stakeholders on the drafts and send their comments to the SAARC Secretariat for circulation among all Member States so that these could be recommended to the higher bodies for consideration and adoption.
2. With the ratification of the agreement on the establishment of South Asian Regional Standards Organization or SARSO by Afghanistan, all member states have now ratified the agreement. As per the provisions in the agreement, a notification for the establishment of SARSO was issued by the SAARC Secretariat on 25th August 2011. With this notification, the SAARC Standards Coordination Board stands dissolved. The first meeting of the SARSO Governing board is expected to take place in Dhaka, Bangladesh by December this year.
3. Harmonization of standards will now be attempted in the areas of building materials and jute, textiles and leather in the next three months.