The SAARC Development Fund (SDF) celebrated 35th SAARC
Charter Day today. The SAARC Charter establishing South Asian Association for
Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was adopted on 8 December 1985 by the SAARC Heads
of State or Government during their first-ever Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The SAARC Charter recognizes the regions shared history and common destiny, and the determination of the SAARC Member States - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - to foster mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation for peace and prosperity. The objective of SAARC is to accelerate the process of social, economic and cultural development in the region.
In April 2010, SAARC Development Fund was inaugurated by the Heads of States/Governments of SAARC Member States during the Sixteenth SAARC Summit held in Thimphu, Bhutan.
CEO of SDF, Dr Sunil Motiwal, said that the SAARC Development Fund, as an umbrella financial institution for SAARC projects and programs is fully committed to promote "Regional Integration and Economic Cooperation among the SAARC Member States through project funding and collaboration." He said that SAARC Development Fund continues to undertake a number of initiatives for the strategic growth of the SAARC region, such as forging relationships with partners for taking up joint initiatives and co-funding of projects.
Currently, SDF is implementing 90 projects in all SAARC Member States under its Social, Economic and Infrastructure funding windows with a total fund commitment/allocation of USD 198.24 million. 48 projects (in 7 areas) have been successfully completed to benefit thousands of people in SAARC Member States.
The 35th SAARC Charter Day celebration brought together high-ranking government officials, resident Ambassadors, heads of international organizations, civil society representatives and implementing agencies of SDF funded projects, among others for an evening of music and food from eight SAARC Member States.
Honble Foreign Minister Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji said that SAARC has seen substantial progress but there have also been a lot of challenges. "The vision of SAARC to foster cooperation among the countries and to work towards prosperity and wellbeing of the people, all the eight SAARC countries have been working hard towards this vision," he said. He commended SDF for implementing the regional projects towards alleviating poverty and improving the welfare of the people of this region.
In his address at the program, CEO SDF, Dr. Sunil Motiwal said that further, more than 10 bankable projects are also under active consideration of SDF to co-finance in SAARC Member States.
"On SAARC Charter Day, SDF avails itself of the opportunity to renew its commitment and would like thank the people and the governments of eight SAARC Member States for your conviction and support for the strategic growth of this region," said Dr Motiwal.
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