Press Release

Secretary General of SAARC H.E. Mr. Md. Golam Sarwar inaugurated as Chief Guest today a painting exhibition at Siddhartha Art Gallery in Kathmandu. Entitled "From Mountains to the Delta", the exhibition features paintings by eminent artists from Nepal and Bangladesh.

In his brief remarks, Secretary General, highlighting the close cultural connection shared by the countries in South Asia, stated that SAARC encourages initiatives that promote linkages among the peoples.
The exhibition is organised by the Embassy of Bangladesh in Kathmandu together with Siddhartha Art Gallery and will remain open till 10 May 2024.

During the three-day official visit to Nepal, the Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary) of the People's Republic of Bangladesh H.E. Mr. Masud Bin Momen paid a courtesy visit to the SAARC Secretariat on 17 April 2024. H. E. Mr. Masud had served as Director at the SAARC Secretariat from July 2001 to July 2004 and currently, he is the member from Bangladesh to the SAARC Standing Committee.

Upon arrival at the SAARC Secretariat, the visiting Foreign Secretary was received by the Officer- In –Charge and welcome was also accorded by the SAARC Directors. The Secretariat organized a High tea at the Secretariat in honour of the visiting dignitary.


The Foreign Secretary was accompanied by H.E. the Ambassador of Bangladesh to Nepal and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh and the Embassy of Bangladesh in Kathmandu.

SAARC Secretariat


17 April 2024

Secretary General of SAARC, Ambassador Golam Sarwar undertook an official visit to

the United States and paid a courtesy call on H.E. António Guterres, Secretary General

of the United Nations in the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 08 April 2024.

At the outset, Secretary General Guterres welcomed Ambassador Sarwar and expressed

desire of the United Nations to strengthen cooperation with SAARC, which represents the

“Large Chunk of Global Population”.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Sarwar appreciated UN Secretary General for

United Nations’ steadfast commitment and support to SAARC, which is an Observer

Organisation of the United Nations since 2004.

The visiting Secretary General of SAARC had extensive discussions on further

strengthening of relations between SAARC and United Nations in multiple areas of mutual

interest especially Climate Change, Food Security and Renewable Energy collaborations.

While highlighting that SAARC has signed Memorandums of Understating(MoUs) with


UNESCO, WHO, UNAIDS, UNFPA and UNWOMEN, Ambassador Sarwar further stated

that several of these MoUs need to be updated taking the account of present context in

order to augment the existing ties between two parties.

Given the potential of reinforcing project-based collaboration between both organizations,

Ambassador Sarwar proposed a joint meeting of the SAARC Secretariat and UN

Agencies in Kathmandu at the SAARC Secretariat, in the near future as a brainstorming

session to identify forthcoming areas for further collaboration.

Welcoming the proposal, Secretary General Guterres emphasized on the elevation of the

cooperation between SAARC and the United Nations. He also instantly instructed his

office to connect the SAARC Secretariat with relevant officials of the United Nations

Headquarters for the sake of effective Sectoral Cooperation.

With a view to boost the effectiveness and sustainability of the Secretariat, Ambassador

Sarwar explored the avenues for capacity building opportunities for the officials of the

SAARC Secretariat.

Secretary General Guterres assured continued UN support and assistance toward

SAARC and both dignitaries during the meeting agreed to work closely to further enhance

the existing ties between SAARC and UN in the coming years.


SAARC Secretariat


09 April 2024

The Programming Committee of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) convened its Fifty-ninth Session at the SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu, on 06-07 March 2024.

The Programming Committee’s in-person Session was held after a gap of four years. The Fifty-seventh Session of the Programming Committee was held in physical mode at the SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu on 19 December 2019, while its Fifty-eighth Session was held virtually on 15 December 2020.

The Government of Nepal currently holds the Chair of the SAARC Programming Committee, comprising National Focal Points of SAARC and Heads of SAARC Division (Joint Secretary/Director General) from the Ministries of Foreign/External Affairs of the Member States, namely, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

H. E. Ms. Sewa Lamsal, Foreign Secretary of the Government of Nepal and Chairperson of the SAARC Standing Committee, graced the Inaugural Session of the Programming Committee with her gracious presence as Chief Guest. In her Inaugural Address, while welcoming the delegates to the Programming Committee’s Session, the Foreign Secretary highlighted the need of holding regular meetings of the Charter Bodies of SAARC, including the Programming Committee. As the current Chair of SAARC, the Foreign Secretary expressed the resolve of the Government of Nepal to take necessary measures to steer the SAARC process, overcoming the challenges facing SAARC collectively. Recognizing SAARC as the viable platform for promoting peace and prosperity in South Asia through regional cooperation, she said that the Association holds enormous potential to strengthen regional collaboration in areas, such as trade, finance, transport, power, connectivity as well as people-to-people contacts.

H. E. Mr. Md. Golam Sarwar, Secretary General of SAARC, also addressed the Inaugural Session. In his Address, the Secretary General of SAARC highlighted the urgent need to make SAARC more and more “people-centric” so as to win the trust and confidence of the peoples across the region. He also stressed the need to promote people-to-people contacts as well as Public-Private Partnership to complement inter-governmental efforts in attaining the Charter objectives of SAARC. In order to give further momentum to the SAARC process, he highlighted the need to activate Action Committees, as provided for in Article VII of the SAARC Charter, to give way to project-based sub-regional cooperation with the involvement of more than two Member States. He further stated that considering the present scenario, the SAARC Secretariat has redoubled its efforts to bolster SAARC’s engagement with its development partners and the Observer States to keep the process of regional cooperation vibrant as well as to augment SAARC’s visibility globally. In concluding his remarks, Ambassador Sarwar said, "We are strong individually, but we are the strongest collectively." He further stated, "If we are tall, we can touch the roof, but if we are together, we can touch the sky."

Ms. Rita Dhital, Joint Secretary (Regional Organizations Division), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal, chaired the Fifty-ninth Session of the Programming Committee in her capacity as the current Chair of the Committee.  In her opening remarks, the Chair thanked the Member States for their concurrence to hold the Fifty-ninth Session of the Programming Committee in Kathmandu. The Chair also welcomed the National Focal Points of SAARC and delegates from the Member States to the Programming Committee’s in-person Session in Kathmandu. She expressed the confidence that with active participation and insightful interventions of the National Focal Points, the Committee would be able to accomplish its work successfully.

Convening in Kathmandu, the two-day Session of the Programming Committee reviewed the current status of regional cooperation in the identified areas since its last Session and gave guidance for forward movement in areas where the progress of work was tardy. The Committee finalized the budgets and Calendars of Activities of the SAARC Secretariat, Specialized Bodies and Regional Centres for 2024. It also finalized the nomination of Dr. Shahzad Afzal from Pakistan for appointment as the Director General of the South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO), based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The Fifty-ninth Session of the Programming Committee had the participation of Heads of all Specialized Bodies and Regional Centres from various capitals of SAARC.


SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu, 07 March 2024