Press Release

PRESS RELEASE

The Informal Meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers was held in virtual mode today. 

Hon’ble Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, chaired the Informal Meeting, attended by the Hon’ble Ministers of Foreign/External Affairs of all the Member States of SAARC. 

In his opening remarks, the Chair underscored the importance of collective efforts for strengthening regional cooperation to cope with the emerging challenges posed by the global pandemic. In this context, he emphasized the need to reinvigorate the SAARC process to make it more focused and result-oriented in meeting the hopes and aspirations of the people of South Asia.

In their country statements, the Hon’ble Ministers of Foreign/External Affairs apprised the Council about the status of implementation of SAARC decisions as well as initiatives taken at the national level to fight the challenges posed by the pandemic. The Hon’ble Ministers also emphasized the need to work collectively to overcome the adverse impacts of the pandemic in the region. In this context, they appreciated the initiative of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India in convening the SAARC Leaders’ Video Conference on COVID-19 in March this year. They also reviewed the subsequent regional initiatives undertaken to fight against the pandemic. 

H. E. Mr. Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, Secretary General of SAARC, also addressed the Informal Meeting. In his address, the Secretary General presented a progress report on regional cooperation since the last informal meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers. Referring to the SAARC Charter, he stated that SAARC holds the potential to promote effective regional cooperation in every sphere of development, including for addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic.

 

 Kathmandu, 24 September 2020


The Fifteenth Informal Meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers was held on 16 September 2020 from 1 PM to 3 PM (Manila Time) in Virtual Mode, on the sidelines of 53rd Annual Meeting of Asian Development Bank (ADB), also being held in Virtual Mode on 17-18 September 2020. The Meeting, attended by the Hon’ble Finance Ministers/Heads of Delegations from all the SAARC Member States, was held under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Nepal, H. E. Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali.

 

In his opening statement, the Chairman thanked ADB for its continuous support to SAARC. He also commended excellent arrangements made by SAARC Secretariat and ADB for the Meeting in Virtual Mode for the first time. Indicating the huge challenges posed by the COVID 19 pandemic, he stated that solidarity and collective efforts should be the priority to fight the pandemic and its negative impacts on important areas of the economy.

 

The Secretary General of SAARC, H.E. Mr. Esala R. Weerakoon, made a statement in the context of the Meeting’s theme "COVID - 19 and South Asian Economies" and highlighted the adverse impacts of the pandemic on the economies of the Member States of SAARC and the need for measures to deal and address them. He also underlined the importance of collective action at this time of crisis. Praising the immediate and swift response taken by the Members to address the adverse impacts of the pandemic and especially SAARC Leader’s agreement to the proposal of the Hon Prime Minister of India to create a SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund to which all the countries have pledged their voluntary contributions, he mentioned that interventions and proactive measures are required to be continued.

 

Mr Shixin Chen, Vice President of the Asian Development Bank, (Operations I) briefed the Meeting about the initiatives and financial commitments already made by ADB for the region along with the status of collaboration between ADB and SAARC. He reaffirmed ADB’s commitment to continue collaboration with SAARC for economic development and prosperity of the peoples in the region especially in view of the COVID 19 and its negative impacts.  

 

The Finance Ministers/Heads of Delegation briefed the Meeting about the measures taken to fight and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic along with current status of economic progress achieved by them, appreciated the contribution made by ADB in their economic growth and hoped that SAARC would make further progress to achieve its full potential for the benefit of peoples of the region.

 

Mr Yasuyuki Sawada, Chief Economist and Director General, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department of the ADB made a presentation on the important theme of this Meeting, "COVID - 19 and South Asian Economies". The presentation highlighted the present situation of the pandemic, its possible impacts on economies along with challenges and opportunities in the region.

 

Kathmandu, 16 September 2020

 


H. E. Mr. Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), paid an introductory courtesy call on the Rt. Hon. Mrs. Bidhya Devi Bhandari, President of Nepal, today.

 

During the call on, the Rt. Hon. President felicitated the Secretary General on his appointment as the fourteenth Secretary General of SAARC. The Rt. Hon. President underscored the need of early convening of the Nineteenth SAARC Summit and stated that Nepal, as the current Chair of SAARC, has been making continuous efforts and consultations with other Member States to create a conducive environment for the next Summit. SAARC has an important role to play in tackling the common regional problems and challenges like COVID-19 Pandemic and poverty in South Asia, the Rt. Hon. President said. She also expressed confidence that the Secretary General would play an active role to further strengthen the SAARC process.

 

While appreciating the valuable support given to the SAARC Secretariat by the Government of Nepal, the Secretary General expressed the hope that he would be able to receive similar support and guidance from the Government of Nepal in discharging his responsibility as the Secretary General. The Secretary General expressed his gratitude to the Government of Nepal for endorsing his nomination as the Secretary General of SAARC. The Secretary General assumed office on 01 March 2020.

Kathmandu, 07 July 2020


H. E. Mr. Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), paid an introductory courtesy call on the Rt. Hon. Mr. KP Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal, today at his residence in Baluwatar, Kathmandu.

 

The Prime Minister felicitated the Secretary General on his appointment as the fourteenth Secretary General of SAARC. The Prime Minister expressed confidence that with his vast diplomatic experience in and knowledge about South Asia, the Secretary General would be able to make a tremendous contribution to further strengthen the SAARC process. The Prime Minister assured him of full support of the Government of Nepal in fulfilling his mandate as the Secretary General.

 

The Secretary General expressed his gratitude to the Government of Nepal for endorsing his nomination as the Secretary General of SAARC. While appreciating the valuable support given to the SAARC Secretariat by the Government of Nepal, the Secretary General expressed the hope that the Government of Nepal would also lend similar support and guidance to him in the accomplishment of his responsibility as the Secretary General.

 

The Prime Minister underlined the urgency of early convening of the Nineteenth SAARC Summit and stated that Nepal, as the current Chair of SAARC, has been making continuous efforts and consultations with other Member States to create a conducive environment for the next Summit. The Prime Minister underscored the importance and relevance of SAARC to achieve common development aspirations such as SDGs as well as to deal with common challenges like COVID-19 Pandemic and poverty in the region. While referring to the SAARC Leaders’ Video Conference to combat COVID-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister stressed the need to revitalize and further strengthen the SAARC process to promote the welfare and quality of life of the people in the region.

 

The Secretary General briefed the Prime Minister about the recent activities of the SAARC Secretariat including those on the fight against COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

Kathmandu, 15 June 2020