The Inter-Summit Session of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) will be held in Pokhara, Nepal from 14-17 March 2016. The meeting will provide an opportunity for member states to assess the progress of decisions that had been taken in various SAARC forums, including decisions of the 18th SAARC Summit held in November 2014 in Kathmandu, and identify priority issues to be taken forward in SAARC related activities and programmes.
The 52nd session of the Programming Committee of SAARC at the level of Director General will commence from 14-15 March, with the 42nd Standing Committee of SAARC, held at the level of Foreign Secretaries following on 16 March 2016. These meetings would prepare the ground for the 37th session of the SAARC Council of Ministers. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will lead the Sri Lanka delegation to the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers meeting will be opened by the Rt. Hon’ble K.P. Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal on 17 March 2016.
This session will be the last high level meeting before the 19th SAARC Summit takes place in November of this year in Pakistan, when it takes over the Chairmanship of SAARC.
During the Ministerial meeting, the Foreign Ministers are expected to sign the SAARC Youth Charter, which would provide a regional framework and platform for Member States to develop appropriate national policies and plans for youth. The Foreign Ministers will also amend the Charter of the SAARC Development Fund (SDF) to simplify the process for member states to apply for funds for development projects.
On the sidelines of the Council meeting, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will also hold bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister of Nepal, and several of his SAARC counterparts.
During the Foreign Minister’s stay in Nepal, he is expected to inspect the reconstruction of two heritage temples in Kathmandu; the Buddhist temple “Anandakuti Vihar” and “Rato Macchindranath Hindu Temple", that has been undertaken by Sri Lanka, following their extensive damage caused by the earthquake in April 2015.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
14 March 2016