Press Release

H. E. Mr. Amjad Hussain B. Sial, Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), hosted a Reception this evening to commemorate the Thirty-fourth SAARC Charter Day (08 December 2018).

 

Rt. Hon. Mr. Nanda Bahadur Pun, Vice President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, was the Chief Guest of the occasion.

 

A large number of dignitaries and officials from the Government of Nepal, leaders of political parties, resident Ambassadors, heads of regional and international organizations, representatives from civil society and business community, as well as professionals from various fields attended the function.

 

In his Welcome Remarks, the Secretary General expressed sincere gratitude to the Rt. Hon. Vice President for gracing the event with his august presence. He also welcomed the guests to the function.

 

In his address, the Secretary General said, “Over the last thirty-three years, SAARC has made steady progress toward socio-economic development in the region, which is fundamental to the promotion of the welfare of the peoples and improving their quality of life.”

 

He further stated, “Endowed with vast human and natural resources, South Asia has immense potential. With sustained endeavours, we will surely be able to realize the region’s fullest potential. Essentially, therefore, SAARC is the beacon of hope and aspiration, and a matter of pride for all South Asians. SAARC is our common identity, our inspiration and our future.”

 

The Secretary General extended warmest felicitation to the peoples and Governments of the Member States on the auspicious occasion of the Thirty-fourth SAARC Charter Day.

 

During the First Summit in Dhaka, the Heads of State or Government adopted the Charter of SAARC on 08 December 1985, marking the beginning of a new era of regional cooperation in the history of South Asia.

 

Established with the primary objective of promoting the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and improving their quality of life, SAARC promotes regional collaboration in almost every aspect of development activity having a bearing on the life and livelihood of the peoples of the region.

Kathmandu, 07 December 2018


H. E. Mr. Amjad Hussain B. Sial, Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), called on Rt. Hon’ble Mr. Nanda Bahadur Pun, Vice President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal today.

 

During his call on the Rt. Hon. Vice President, the Secretary General invited him to grace with his august presence the Thirty-fourth SAARC Charter Day Commemoration Ceremony being organized on 07 December 2018. The Rt. Hon. Vice President had been pleased to accept the invitation.

 

During the meeting, the Rt. Hon. Vice President, while underscoring the need for early convening of the Nineteenth SAARC Summit, stated that Nepal, as the current Chair of SAARC, has been in active consultation with the Member States for evolving a consensus on a new set of dates for the Summit. He expressed the hope that other Member States would agree to early convening of the Nineteenth Summit.

 

The Rt. Hon. Vice President also appreciated the role played by the Secretary General for taking forward the SAARC process. The dignitary expressed the confidence that SAARC will gain momentum from his long experience, strenuous efforts and able leadership.

 

The Secretary General expressed appreciation to the Government of Nepal for its unflinching commitment to the SAARC process and sustained efforts being made by the leadership for early convening of the Nineteenth SAARC Summit. He also thanked the Rt. Hon. Vice President for the support given by the Government of Nepal to the work of the SAARC Secretariat. He expressed the hope that he will continue to receive full support from the Government of Nepal in future as well.

 

Kathmandu, 22 November 2018


A 15-member delegation from the Network of Homebased Workers in South Asia (Homenet South Asia) paid a visit to the SAARC Headquarters in Kathmandu this afternoon. The delegation was led by Ms. Chandni Joshi, Enforcer, Homenet South Asia Trust.

 

In addition to office bearers and members of Homenet South Asia, the delegation comprised office bearers of SABAH in Bhutan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who assembled in Kathmandu for the Tenth Annual General Meeting of SABAH Nepal.

 

The Secretary General received the delegation.

In his briefing to the visiting delegation, the Secretary General elucidated the genesis, objectives and principles of SAARC, including its institutional set up, Secretariat, Regional Centres and Specialized Bodies. He presented the areas of regional cooperation being pursued under the aegis of SAARC, which, inter alia, included communication; connectivity; agriculture; public health; energy; environment; and economic cooperation. He also touched upon the agreements and conventions adopted by SAARC to facilitate regional cooperation in a number of areas.

 

In his presentation, the Secretary General referred to the ongoing project-based collaboration under the auspices of the SAARC Development Fund, established in 2010, as the umbrella funding mechanism of SAARC. He also highlighted SAARC’s ongoing collaboration with its Observers, and regional and international organizations, several of which are the Specialized Agencies of the United Nations.

 

Speaking about the way forward, he underscored the importance of regular convening of the meetings of the Charter Bodies of SAARC, including the Summit, in providing renewed impetus to the SAARC process. Improved intra-SAARC connectivity, economic relations and tourism facilitate SAARC’s speedy progression towards the visionary goal of the South Asian Economic Union (SAEU), he affirmed.

 

The presentation was followed by an interactive session in which the visiting members of the delegation raised several pertinent questions.

 

SABAH is the first pilot project funded by the SAARC Development Fund under its Social Window. The project that lasted for six years from 2009 to 2015 was intended to empower home-based workers through economic self-sufficiency by harnessing their indigenous skills for producing market-oriented products.

 

A self-sustaining entity since 2016, SABAH continues to thrive across South Asia, bringing ample opportunities to the home-based workers. In essence, SABAH empowers the women.

Kathmandu, 02 November 2018


“Economic empowerment of women falling below the poverty line has to be our primary objective, if we were to achieve gender equality and accelerated economic growth in South Asia,” said H. E. Mr. Amjad Hussain B. Sial, Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

 

The Secretary General, as the Chief Guest, made these remarks addressing the Inaugural Session of the Tenth Annual General Meeting of the SAARC Business Association of Home-based Workers (SABAH) in Kathmandu today. Chief Patron of SABAH, Ms. Chandni Joshi; Chairperson of SABAH; UN Resident Coordinator; and Head of UNWomen in Kathmandu also addressed the Meeting.

 

The Secretary General stated, “During SAARC Summits, our leaders have underscored the need to improve the social and economic status of women. The resolve of our leaders to empower women is manifest in SAARC’s Social and Economic Agenda aimed at promoting their economic and financial emancipation.”

In his Address, the Secretary General referred to the SAARC Social Charter which he defined as “one of the major initiatives taken by SAARC.” The Charter incorporates a broad range of targets to be achieved across the region for empowering women. “Another such important initiative is the SAARC Gender Policy Advocacy Group (GPAG) that aims at promoting gender equality and empowering women,” he said.

 

“As we are aware, women who are working in the informal sector are the ones who are facing hardships and challenges, while their contribution is not recognized formally. Against this backdrop, the establishment of SABAH is a positive step in creating opportunities for home-based women workers in the region,” the Secretary General asserted.

 

SABAH is the first pilot project funded by the SAARC Development Fund under its Social Window. The project that lasted for six years from 2009 to 2015 was intended to empower home-based workers through economic self-sufficiency by harnessing their indigenous skills for producing market-oriented products.

 

The Secretary General further said, “It is very heartening to note that SABAH today has been able to establish itself as an important entity in South Asia. In essence, SABAH is contributing to the promotion of the spirit of SAARC at the grassroots level in South Asia.”

 

In concluding his remarks, the Secretary General stated, “SABAH has actually developed a model for poverty alleviation. It is in this context that I wish to encourage development partners to collaborate with SABAH in reaching the unreached with a view to alleviating rural poverty at a faster pace.”

Kathmandu, 31 October 2018