22 November 2014, Kathmandu;The 49th Session of the Programming Committee of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was held today in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu.
As the Chair of SAARC since November 2011, the Maldives Head of Delegation, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ms. Farzana Zahir opened the meeting and handed over the Seat to the Head of Delegation of Nepal as the new incoming Chair. In her remarks, Ms. Zahir thanked all Member States for their support and cooperation extended to the Maldives during its Chairmanship.
Key deliberations of the meeting focused on the phasing-out of the selective closure and merger of the Associationâ€™s Regional Centres as well as matters relating to the establishment of the new SAARC Environment and Disaster Management Centre (SEDMC). The closing down and merger of the Regional Centers is an initiative of the Maldives aimed at restructuring SAARC and strengthening its mechanisms and processes. It is also premised on making SAARC more effective and result-oriented.
The 49th Session of the Programming Committee is followed by a two day Session of the Standing Committee of SAARC, scheduled to be held from 23-24 November 2014.