The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to foster collaboration between the two organizations in mutually agreed areas.
SAARC comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as its members, while CIRDAP consists of six SAARC Countries (excepting Bhutan and the Maldives) as well as Fiji, Indonesia, Iran, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, with its headquarters based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
H. E. Mr. Arjun B. Thapa, Secretary-General of SAARC, and Dr. Cecep Effendi, Director-General of CIRDAP inked the Memorandum of Understanding at the SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu today. The present MoU replaces the erstwhile MoU signed in 2007 that expired in 2010.
The MoU signed today stands to open up a vista of opportunities for both the organizations to complement each other’s efforts in rural development and implement joint projects. Prospective areas of cooperation outlined in the MoU include: rural development and women empowerment through agro-processing, promoting inter-regional trade in agricultural products, adopting techniques of climate smart agriculture, generating user friendly database on rural statistics, establishing a virtual and multi-stakeholder supported Rural Development Information System (RDIS), formulating and implementing strategic Action Plan for rural development in the region and adopting an Integrated Rural Development Policy for South Asia.
CIRDAP was established in 1979 in Dhaka to assist its membership in national action, promote regional cooperation and act as a servicing institution for the promotion of integrated rural development in the Asia Pacific region. SAARC came into existence in 1985 with the principal objectives of promoting the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and improving their quality of life by accelerating economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region.