KATHMANDU, Feb 25 (BSS): SAARC financial experts in their recent meeting here recommended modalities and operational aspects for creation of the proposed SAARC Development Fund (SDF), as the umbrella financing institution for all SAARC projects and programmes.
During the meeting held between February 23 and 24 in the capital city of the Himalayan Kingdom, the experts also recommended early operationalisation of a US dollar 300 million Social Window to undertake the poverty alleviation and social development projects.
The meeting recommended mobilising almost the entire amounts of the initial corpus from the assessed contribution of the SAARC countries. It also outlined general operational principle of the SDF and its governing board as well as the terms of reference for the social window.
The social window would have principal focus on poverty alleviation. It would also fund regional projects on education, health, human resources development, and extend support to the vulnerable or the disadvantaged segments of the society, meet the funding needs of communities and micro-enterprises.
The proposed SDF would have three windows. Besides the social window, there would be economic and infrastructure windows. Funds may be mobilised from within and beyond the region.
The economic window would fund other non-infrastructure commercial projects. The fund would be professionally managed and have a permanent secretariat.
The SAARC financial experts also held extensive discussion on the economic and the infrastructure windows and recommended further examination of all related issues.
While addressing the financial experts at the inaugural session, SAARC Secretary General Chenkyab Dorji touched upon the background and urgency on the operationalisation of the proposed SDF.
He called upon the experts to be realistic and to recommend practicable ways to allow the SDF to start functioning soon, by outlining the terms of reference of its social window and reaching consensus on its operational modalities.
The recommendations of the financial experts would be considered by the SAARC finance ministers (FMs), when they will meet in Islamabad in March.
The 13th SAARC summit entrusted the FMs to make recommendations on the establishment of the proposed SDF.