The Fifty-sixth Session of the Programming Committee of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) commenced today in Kathmandu. The Programming Committee is a Charter Body of SAARC.
Mr. Krishna Prasad Dhakal, Joint Secretary (SAARC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal chaired the meeting. The two-day Session of the Programming Committee brings together Heads of SAARC Divisions (Joint Secretary/Director General) from the Ministries of Foreign/External Affairs or National Focal Points of the Member States of SAARC.
The Committee will review the current status of regional cooperation in the identified areas. The Committee will also finalize the budgets and Calendars of Activities of the SAARC Secretariat, Specialized Bodies and Regional Centres.
H. E. Mr. Amjad Hussain B. Sial, Secretary General of SAARC, addressed the Fifty-sixth Session of the Programming Committee this morning.
In his address, the Secretary General underscored the need to ensure implementation of the activities once agreed to by the Member States, including those at the Ministerial level. Stating that improved intra-regional connectivity is essential to promote economic relations, tourism and people-to-people contacts, he expressed the hope that the three regional Agreements on Motor Vehicles, Railways and Air Services would be concluded soon. He also highlighted the importance of project-based collaboration to bring dividends of regional cooperation to the peoples in the region.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Krishna Prasad Dhakal, Joint Secretary and Chairperson of the Programming Committee, reiterated unflinching commitment of Nepal to the SAARC process. He also appreciated the role of the SAARC Secretariat and excellent arrangements made for the meeting.
The Programming Committee last met at the SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu on 06 July 2018.
Kathmandu, 11 December 2018