SAARC Specialized Bodies

SAARC has established new institutions such as SAARC Arbitration Council (SARCO), South Asian University (SAU), SAARC Development Fund (SDF) Secretariat and SAARC Regional Standards Organization (SARSO) which have mandates and structures different from the Regional Centers.



The 13th SAARC Summit (Dhaka, 12-13 November 2005) decided to establish SAARC Development Fund (SDF) as a comprehensive funding mechanism with the provision of three Windows (Social, Economic and Infrastructure).


SDF Secretariat was formally commissioned in April 2010 in Thimphu during the Sixteenth SAARC Summit with the primary objective of funding project-based collaboration. Since then, SDF has been funding projects approved by the SDF Board under its Social Window.


SDF is governed by a Board consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Finance of the Member States. The Governing Council of SDF (Finance Ministers of MSs) oversees the functioning of the Board.


MS have also been emphasizing on opening up of the two remaining windows of SDF, i.e. Economic and Infrastructure Windows.



The Agreement for the Establishment of South Asian University was signed by the Ministers of Foreign/External Affairs of the MSs of SAARC during the Fourteenth SAARC Summit (New Delhi, 4 April 2007).


As per Article 7 of the Agreement of the SAU, it is necessary for the MS to recognize the Degrees and Certificates awarded by the SAU at par with the respective Degrees and Certificates awarded by the National Universities / Institutions.



The fifteenth SAARC Summit paved the way for establishing SARSO in order to harmonize standards and promote cooperation in the fields of metrology, accreditation and conformity assessment for enhancing the capacity of the respective national institutions in carrying out their technical tasks. The agreement on SARSO came into effect on 25th August 2011.



The agreement on SARCO was signed during the Thirteenth Summit and came into effect on 2 July 2007. SARCO was established with a view to resolve cost-effective settlement of disputes via arbitration within the region.