Created: 22 January 2015
On 8th January 2015, a team of People's SAARC delegates met with His Excellency Mr. Arjun Bahadur Thapa, Secretary General of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) at SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu to hand over the Declaration of People's SAARC Regional Convergence 2014. Mrs. Sharmila Karki, convener of the People's SAARC Regional Convergence, said that the Declaration was the common voice of the south Asian people that emerged from an extensive discussion among the civil society representatives across the region.
Delegates drew attention of the SAARC Secretary General by emphasizing that "although the SAARC Declaration endorsed by the south Asian heads of the states was inclusive, intended to address the regional problem and advocated for development, peace, and prosperity; the implementation aspects were poor." As such, Secretary General was also suggested that "SAARC and member states need to seriously think about effective implementation of what they agreed upon during each SAARC summit". Importantly, the delegates also urged "the SAARC to provide adequate space to the civil society in the formal SAARC process and its summit as being provided by UN and ASEAN.” Delegates stressed "SAARC should mainstream people's issues and ensure representation of civil society in SAARC and without the support of people, development efforts of the state cannot gear up."
Receiving the People's SAARC Declaration, His Excellency Mr. Arjun Bahadur Thapa appreciated the efforts of CSOs to identify regional agendas. He expressed his commitment that the input of the Declaration will be given to the respective SAARC countries so they could link their priorities to the issues raised by the civil society. He also said that he will try to find ways to connect civil society to the official SAARC system and process to provide space to them. In addition, he promised the delegates to keep in touch with People's SAARC in the days to come. Informing that that new agendas such as issue of labour and migration have got entry in the SAARC Declaration in 18th summit, he said that SAARC would take initiation to make member states responsible to implement the declaration they signed during past summits.
The delegates of People's SAARC included members of working and organizing committees of People's SAARC Regional Convergence 2014 who are immediately available in Kathmandu. Ms. Sharmila Karki, Mr. Sarba Raj Khadka, Ms. Shanta Laxmi Shrestha, Mr. Samir Nepal, Mr. Gopal Khanal, Mr. Kedar Khadka, Mr. Bhawani Kharel, Mr. Daya Sagar Shrestha and Mr. Bigyan Sharma were among the delegates.
The three day People’s SAARC Convergence was concluded on 24th November 2014 in Jawalakhel, Lalitpur issuing a Declaration and reaffirming its solemn commitments toward peace, justice, security, human rights, and democracy in the region for equality for all and to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination.