Meeting: The SAARC Development Fund Governing Council met in Kathmandu, Nepal following the SAARC finance secretaries and ministers meeting on August 19 and 20 respectively.

The meetings assessed the progress in implementation of the Sixth Meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers’ recommendations including SAARC Development Fund (SDF). It also discussed cooperation in trade, economic and financial sectors among the member states and the way forward for allowing greater flow of financial capital and intra-regional long-term investments.

Finance Secretary Lam Dorji, who led the Bhutanese delegation, urged all member states to develop a holistic and comprehensive package of actionable measures by exploring the whole range of partnership available for deepening regional cooperation. He also highlighted the status of macro-economic developments in Bhutan and reported the status of cooperation in the field of financial sector pursued by Bhutan under the aegis of SAARC.

On establishment of SAARC Development Bank, he said that it is premature at this stage since SDF is just evolving and needs the support and guidance of all member states. Following this, the member states directed the SDF chief executive officer to prepare an implementation strategic plan of SDF activities within six months. The meeting emphasised to strengthen the existing social window of SDF and expedite in operationalising the economic and infrastructure windows.

Finance and foreign ministry officials attended the meetings. The ministers and secretaries will next meet in Pakistan in 2016.

Staff reporter