SAARC summit pledges to pursue practices rather than precepts
05 April, 2007
NEW DELHI: SAARC summit has concluded here Wednesday with the member countries pledging to work jointly for development and prosperity of the regions and elimination of poverty, terrorism, crimes and injustices.
A 30-point joint declaration was issued on the conclusion of the conference
Declaration said the member countries will bolster cooperation among them for the socio economic development of the region besides improving the quality of the life of their people.
The declaration added that people to people contact will be promoted so that member countries could emerge as a single South Asian community. The movement of different goods will be eased and programs aimed at reducing poverty will be launched so that social infrastructure is improved.
All the member countries have been asked to enhance their budget on this count. The member countries have agreed that an independent South Asian Commission for poverty Alleviation would be set up so that the objectives for the development of SAARC could be achieved.
All the member countries would hammer out a plan of action designed for reducing poverty on top priority basis. Transport system in the region would be revamped. Custom clearance and other facilitating steps will be improved. A SAARC regional multi model transport study will be undertaken with the inclusion of Afghanistan.
The declaration further said SAARC will be reactivated effectively and the member countries will move towards practice rather than precept. Concrete and vibrant projects will be launched. SAARC development fund will be set up so that people of the region could benefit from it.
The heads of the member countries have issued directives that the fund be operationalized. The cooperation among the member countries will be expanded in energy sector.
The member countries also expressed their concern over looming threats to environment. They reaffirmed their determination to boost cooperation among them for the protection of environment. The year 2007 has been named as Green South Asia in this respect.
The declaration stressed that the member countries would enhance cooperation in information and communication technology. Telecom tariff will be rationalized on parity basis in this connection. National and regional telecom infrastructure will be upgraded and the member countries will ensure implementation of SAFTA. The heads of the member countries were of the view that the process of implementation of SAFTA should be reviewed on regular basis.
The member countries would also sign a treaty for the promotion and protection of investment. A SAARC standard coordination board will be established.
The member countries appreciated the initiative for finalization of framework on promotion of cooperation in financial matters saying the SAARC countries will enter into an agreement following conclusion of this framework. The experts from member countries will continue to work in this respect. A road map will be evolved for establishment of South Asian Custom Union and South Asia Economic Union. It will be done in phases.
SAARC scholarship scheme will be initiated for the students. Bangladesh will hold first SAARC youth camp. It was decided to operate South Asian university in India. All the heads of member countries have signed the accord in this connection. A steering committee will be constituted to work out charter, business plan, rules, procedure of the university.
Women will be empowered and more focus will be placed on uplift projects for the women and children. The member countries underscored the need for taking joint measures to counter the challenges of poverty, diseases, terrorism and disasters.
SAARC food bank will be set up to ensure food security. The accord has been signed to this effect.
The member countries described the terrorism potent threat for peace and security of the region and condemned the terrorism in all its forms and manifestations saying SAARC countries slam the target killing of the citizens. They reaffirmed their commitment to work together to stamp out terrorism. The implementation of the regional and global convention will be ensured.
They reiterated the resolve that the funding to the terrorist will be discouraged. They will be prevented from securing funds.
SAARC interior ministers meeting will be held in India in October.
The conference also decided to accord status of observer to Iran. Next summit will take place in Maldives.