Home India News SAARC countries commit to close cooperation on rural development

SAARC countries commit to close cooperation on rural development


New Delhi: Committing themselves to close cooperation for rural development in the region, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries Saturday said they will exchange information and fund projects related to the field.

A two-day meeting of the SAARC cabinet secretaries concluded here Saturday after deliberation on issues of common concern like administrative reforms, rural development, performance management and e-governance.

The meeting was attended by all the cabinet secretaries from the SAARC member states.

SAARC is an economic and political organisation of eight South Asian nations — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The cabinet secretaries decided that SAARC member states in collaboration with the SAARC secretariat would identify one or more regional projects in areas of rural development for implementation out of the funds available under the SAARC development fund, an official statement said.

“Various institutions in SAARC member countries have developed rural development models. These models will be made available to the SAARC secretariat, which will then put together an Index of Rural Development Models. Further exchange of information and knowledge on rural development models will take place based on the felt needs of member countries,” the statement added.

Emphasising the need to strengthen administrative and delivery mechanism, the meeting noted that “SAARC is transforming from a declaratory body to implementation body now”.

The cabinet secretaries deliberated upon areas where significant innovations have been tried in various member states to benefit their citizens.

The challenges of performance management and evaluation were also discussed. They also deliberated on the use of e-governance for improving service delivery for citizens and agreed that there is scope for collaboration in these areas.

“Member states would share information on best practices in the field of administrative reforms by preparing a compendium and hosting the best practices on websites of SAARC member states,” the statement said.

“Regional collaboration among the SAARC institutions and officials would be institutionalized by creating a network of institutions, reserving training slots in prestigious institutions and exchange of visits,” it added.