SAARC: The United Nations Development Program in Asia and the Pacific is partnering with the SAARC Development Fund to support the South Asian countries in attaining the recently adopted Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.

The partnership, which envisions cooperation on areas such as energy access, micro-credit, women’s empowerment and climate change, was formalized with a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Kuala Lumpur last week.

Assistant Secretary General and Regional Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia and Pacific Haoliang Xu and the Chief Executive Officer of the SDF (Dr) Sunil Motiwal signed the MoU.

“I am delighted to announce this strategic partnership with the SDF. We will together take advantage of this tremendous opportunity to create even more economic growth in the region, while fostering social good and sustainable development for people in SAARC countries,” Haoliang Xu said.

Since its inception, the SDF has served as an ‘umbrella financial mechanism’ for all projects and programme undertaken by SAARC– an economic and geopolitical organization of eight countries in South Asia.

“This partnership will play a significant role in regional integration and cooperation among SAARC member states, as together we can mobilize funding for larger social, economic and infrastructure projects to benefit the people of the region,” (Dr) Sunil Motiwal said.

The SDF has a fund of over USD 400 million and efforts are being made to leverage these resources through partnerships and co-financing to maximize development benefits to the SAARC region.

Under the MOU, UNDP will provide policy and program support at the country and regional levels to undertake initiatives and bring to bear best global practice and learning on key development issues. UNDP and SDF will work collaboratively to explore and leverage resources for co-funding development efforts in SAARC Member States.