Development fund in offing: SAARC experts

Kathmandu, February 25:

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) financial experts recommended modalities and operational aspects for the creation of the proposed SAARC Development Fund (SDF) as the umbrella financing institution for all SAARC projects and programmes at a two-day meeting in Kathmandu that ended yesterday.

The meeting of the financial experts also made recommendations on the early operationalisation of a $300 million Social Window to undertake poverty alleviation and social development projects. The meting recommended the mobilisation of almost the entire amount of the initial corpus from assessed contribution of the SAARC countries.

According to the statement issued by the SAARC Secretariat today, it also outlined General Operational Principal of the SDF and its governing broad as well as the terms of reference for the Social Window.

The statement said the proposed SAARC development fund will have three windows. Besides the Social Window, there would be economic and infrastructure windows. The funds, according to the statement, may be mobilised from within and beyond the region.

The recommendations of the financial experts would be considered by the SAARC finance ministers, as they meet in Islamabad in March 2006. The 13th SAARC Summit had entrusted the Finance Ministers to make recommendations on the establishment of the proposed SDF.