Press Release


H. E. Mr. Ahmed Saleem, Secretary-General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) addressed the Inaugural Session of the Ministerial Segment of the Sixth Asian and Pacific Population Conference in Bangkok today.

Addressing the Inaugural Session, the Secretary-General highlighted the important initiatives taken by SAARC in promoting the social agenda in the region. In his Address, he made a special reference to the SAARC Social Charter adopted in January 2004. He stated, “The SAARC Social Charter addresses the issue of promotion of the rights and well-being of the child that the child should be entitled to grow and develop in health with due protection. The Charter not only advocates special services to be provided to the child and mother, but also identifies specific steps to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality rates. Most importantly, the Charter highlights the need for education, literacy and skill development amongst the youth, and elimination of early marriage in the region.”

Elaborating on the measures taken by SAARC in the social sector, the Secretary-General further said, “The SAARC Convention on Regional Arrangements for the Promotion of Child Welfare in South Asia and the SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution are other important regional instruments. Going beyond the regional instruments, I am happy to state that SAARC has begun implementation of regional projects, such as the one on Maternal and Child Health. This year,SAARC will initiate a regional project for Women and Children to provide services to victims and survivors of human trafficking.”

The Conference brings together many distinguished Ministers and Senior Officials, Parliamentarians and civil society representatives from about forty countries and territories from the Asian and Pacific Region to chart out the regional population and development agenda for the next decade.  The Conference that is organized jointly by UNESCAP and UNFPA will conclude on 20 September 2013. A Senior Officials' Meeting preceded the Ministerial Segement of the Conference from 16 to 18 September 2013.

Mr. Ahmar Ismail, Director, who heads the Energy, Transport, Science and Technology Division represented the SAARC Secretariat at the Senior Officials' Meeting.