South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Charter Day is annually observed on December 8th to mark the signing of the SAARC Charter in 1985 that established the regional group – SAARC.
- The 8th December 2021 marks the observance of the 37th SAARC Charter Day.
The charter was signed by the Leaders of SAARC Countries Heads of State or Government of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the First SAARC Summit held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Note: In 2007, at the 14th SAARC Summit held in New Delhi, India, Afghanistan was admitted as the 8th Member of the SAARC.
i.The members of the SAARC aim to promote stability, peace, and progress in the region. So far, the SAARC has organised 18 summits since 1985.
ii.At present the SAARC focuses on regional cooperation in all fields of development activity which will impact the livelihood of people.
- South Asian University (SAU), New Delhi (India)
- South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO), Dhaka (Bangladesh)
- SAARC Development Fund (SDF), Thimphu (Bhutan)
- SAARC Arbitration Council (SARCO), Islamabad (Pakistan)
Main Features of the SAARC Charter:
i.According to the article 1 of the charter, the objectives of the SAARC is,
- to promote the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and to improve their quality of life.
- to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to provide all individuals the opportunity to live in dignity and to realize their full potentials.
- to promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia.
- to contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another’s problems.
- to promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields.
- to strengthen cooperation with other developing countries.
- to strengthen cooperation among themselves in international forums on matters of common interests.
- to cooperate with international and regional organizations with similar aims and purposes.
ii.Article 3 states that the Heads of State or Government of SAARC countries shall meet once a year or more often as and when considered necessary by the Member States.
iii.According to article 10, the Bilateral and contentious issues are excluded from the deliberations of the Association.
About South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC):
SAARC Chairmanship– Nepal
Secretary General– H.E Mr. Esala Ruwan Weerakoon (Sri Lanka)
Secretariat– Kathmandu, Nepal