Deliberations have begun in the capital on ways to making the upcoming 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu productive and meaningful.
The summit is expected to promote the principals of the SAARC Charter and prove to be a milestone in uplifting the socio-economic living standard of the people in the region.
Speaking at a seminar on "Bringing SAARC Closer to the People: A Nepali Perspective" organized by the Institute of Foreign Affairs and SAARC Secretariat in the capital today, various experts and analysts suggested increasing the effectiveness of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement reached among the member countries.
Founded in 1985 with the objective of alleviating poverty and working on areas of common concern, the regional body has lately been giving emphasis to promotion of bilateral investments.
Speaking at the programme, Minister for Foreign Affairs Madhav Prasad Ghimire said the member countries need to work for sustainable development and peace in the region by minimizing poverty, the energy crisis and impact of climate change.
Trade, bilateral investment, security, expansion of regional communications, tourism and people-to-people relations are the roadmap to the prosperity of south Asia, he added.
General Secretary of SAARC Ahmad Saleem said works have begun to link SAARC member countries through rail and road network and emphasized on economic development in order to promote people-to-people relations in the region.
Further deliberations among the member states are required to utilize the natural and human resources as well as to promote export from the region, he added.
Executive Director of the Academy Dr Rishi Raj Adhikari and Deputy Director Kush N. Shrestha expressed the view that the SAARC Summit in Kathmandu should focus on economic development of the region.
In the second session of the programme later in the day, Dr Netra Timalsena and Yog Bahadur Hamal will be presenting working papers on 'SAARC yesterday, today and tomorrow from the people's perspective' and 'Challenges to SAARC'.