3 February 2014, Male'; In its role as current chair of SAARC, the Maldives will host the Thirty-Fifth Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers and its preceding meetings from February 17-20 February 2014. The four-day event is to be held at Bandos Island Resort & Spa.
In accordance with this year’s theme, 'Towards Regional Resilience', the Council of Ministers will reflect upon important regional issues including: poverty, agriculture and food security; climate change and environment; education; connectivity; trade and finance; health; combating terrorism and drug trafficking; maritime security and piracy; energy security; and the social sector. In this regard, the session will provide valuable direction for SAARC policy and processes in the years ahead.
As part of the Session’s work program, the Council will consider a comprehensive study to strengthen SAARC mechanisms and decision-making towards furthering the objectives enshrined in the SAARC Charter reforming SAARC processes as a whole. The Council will also review existing guidelines relating to SAARC's engagement with observer countries, in order to maximize the benefits gained from such engagement. Furthermore, the Council will discuss possibilities for fast-tracking projects to promote social and economic development in the region, thereby enabling SAARC to play a greater role in realizing the hopes and aspirations of the people of the region.
The Thirty-Fifth Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers will be the first occasion the SAARC Foreign Ministers have met since the 17th SAARC Summit, held on 10-11 November 2011.