SDF to fuel regional development

Kathmandu, February 20:

Experts from the SAARC member states — India, Nep-al, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan and Bhu-tan — are in the capital to discuss the proposed SAARC Development Fund (SDF) in a bid to start various projects.

At a beginning of the three-day long programme on ‘SAARC Financing Mechanisms’, organised jointly by SAARC and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Nepal Resident Mission, Sultan Hafeez Rahman, country Director of ADB, said, “The meeting of experts is being held here at a time when regional cooperation in South Asia is gaining momentum.”

He said that ADB reiterates its comment for peace and development in the region to see sound economic development. “ADB recognises its role in development projects,” he said adding that the suggestions and recommendations given by SAARC financial experts in this meeting would be instrumental in materialising SDF.

Sufiur Rahman, director of SAARC Secretariat said that member states in the SAARC region have tried to establish SAARC Development Fund (SADF) in 1995, however, SA-DF has not been able to materialise.

“As SAARC enters into its third decade, the regional body once again pronounces its determination to conceive and implement regional projects,” he said.

SAARC experts have currently recommended to reconstitute the SADF into a new entity, SDF, and the recommendation has also been endorsed in principle by the Council of Ministers

in November.

Subsequently, the thirteenth Summit entrusted finance ministers to make recommendations on the operational modalities of SDF.

The home-work aims to focus on thematic aspects of creating a regional fund.