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The Secretary–General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, is the head of the SAARC Secretariat, which is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal.[1] The SAARC is an economic and geopolitical union between the eight South Asian member nations, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.[2] The Secretary-General is appointed for a three-year term by election by a council of Ministers from member states. The Secretary-General is assisted by eight deputies, one from each nation, who also reside in Kathmandu.[1] The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987 by the Bangladeshi diplomat Abul Ahsan, who was its first Secretary-General, and was inaugurated by King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal. Since its creation, its member nations have contributed to a total of thirteen General Secretaries. Pakistan’s Diplomat Amjad Hussain B. Sial is the current Secretary-General, having assumed charge on March 1, 2017.[3]

Overview

Secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in Kathmandu, Nepal

Residence

The SAARC Secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. It coordinates and monitors the implementation of activities, hosts meetings, and serves as a channel of communication between the Association and its member states as well as other regional organisations.[1]

The Secretary-General is assisted by eight Directors on deputation from the member states, and the SAARC Secretariat includes officials from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.[1]

Regional Centres

The SAARC Secretariat is supported by the following regional centres established in member states to promote regional co-operation. These centres are managed by governing boards composed of representatives from all the member states, the SAARC Secretariat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Host Government. The Director of the Centre acts as Member Secretary to the Governing Board which reports to the Programming Committee.

  • SAARC Agricultural Centre (SAC), Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • SAARC Meteorological Research Centre (SMRC), Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • SAARC Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Centre (STAC), Kathmandu, Nepal
  • SAARC Documentation Centre (SDC), New Delhi, India
  • SAARC Human Resources Development Centre (SHRDC), Islamabad, Pakistan
  • SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre (SCZMC), Maldives
  • SAARC Information Centre (SIC), Nepal
  • SAARC Energy Centre (SEC), Pakistan
  • SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC), India
  • SAARC Development Fund(SDF), Bhutan
  • SAARC Forestry Centre (SFC), Bhutan
  • SAARC Cultural Centre (SCC), Sri Lanka[4]

History

There have been 12 democratically elected holders of the office of Secretary-General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).[1] Bangladesh held the first summit in Dhaka, where the Bangladeshi diplomat, Abul Ahsan was elected its first Secretary-General. Since then, 11 more General Secretaries have been selected from each member nation, so far with the exception of Afghanistan.[1] The Nepalese diplomat, Arjun Bahadur Thapa, was incumbent Secretary-General having been appointed to his post on 31 March 2014. His tenure has recently been completed and Amjed Hussain B. Sial has been appointed as general seceratery from 1 March 2017.[1]

Secretaries General of the SAARC

References