- The Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Her
Excellency Begum Khaleda Zia, the King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme
Singye Wangchuck, the Prime Minister of the Republic of India, His
Excellency Mr. P.V. Narasimha Rao, the President of the Republic of
Maldives, His Excellency Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the Prime
Minister of Nepal, the Rt. Hon. Manmohan Adhikari, the President of
the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, His Excellency Mr. Farooq Ahmad
Khan Leghari and the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic
of Sri Lanka, Her Excellency Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
met at the Eighth Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional
Cooperation (SAARC) at New Delhi, India on 2-4 May 1995.
- The Heads of State or Government expressed their satisfaction on
the achievements of the First Decade of SAARC and resolved to
celebrate its completion of the First Decade both in the individual
Member States and collectively. They endorsed the proposal of the
Council of Ministers to convene a Commemorative Session of the
Council on the theme "SAARC - Vision for the Second Decade"
to identify the areas on which SAARC should focus in its Second
- The Heads of State or Government reaffirmed their resolve to
intensify regional cooperation in order to accelerate the process of
promoting the welfare and improving the quality of life of the
peoples of South Asia. They reiterated their commitment to the
principles and objectives enshrined in the SAARC Charter,
particularly, to the principles of sovereign equality, territorial
integrity, national independence, non-use of force and
non-interference in each other's internal affairs. They recalled
their conviction that in an increasingly interdependent world,
regional cooperation was a dynamic instrument for promoting economic
prosperity, mutual understanding and good neighbourly relations to
achieve the objectives of peace and stability in South Asia. In this
context, a climate of peace and stability would contribute to the
ERADICATION OF POVERTY IN SOUTH ASIA
- The Heads of State or Government reaffirmed their commitment to
the eradication of poverty in South Asia, preferably by the year
2002 A.D. through an Agenda of Action.
- The Leaders endorsed the recommendations of the Finance/Planning
Ministers' Meeting held in Dhaka in July 1994 which recommended that
a mechanism should be set up which would act as a forum for exchange
of information on poverty eradication programmes, in the context of
the policies and strategies adopted, particularly exchange of
information on technologies that are relevant to efforts at poverty
eradication. They agreed that this process could be strengthened by
sharing and exchanging relevant studies carried out by independent
research institutions and experts. This mechanism would be in the
form of a three-tier institutional structure as recommended in the
Report and would meet once a year. They noted that such a mechanism
has been set up enabling the procedures of exchange of information
to commence and welcomed the offer of India to host the first round
of the three-tier mechanism.
- The Heads of State or Government directed that the next meeting
of Finance/Planning Ministers consider the efficacy of such
mechanism towards eradicating poverty in the region and report on
the progress achieved to the Ninth SAARC Summit, through the Council
- In this context, they decided to declare 1995 as the "SAARC
Year of Poverty Eradication".
- Acknowledging that the abiding human qualities of dignity,
creativity and productive potential are eroded by chronic poverty,
the Heads of State or Government reiterated their commitment to
empowering the poor for enhanced growth consistent with human
development and equity.
- Recognizing that poverty is a complex multi-dimensional problem
with origins in both national and international domains,
country-specific programmes to tackle poverty and international
efforts supporting national efforts and the parallel process of
creating a supportive international environment conducive to
economic growth and social development of developing countries, are
crucial for a solution to this problem. The World Summit for Social
Development recognized the need for focusing the attention of the
international community on and support the special needs of
countries and regions in which there are substantial concentrations
of people living in poverty, in particular those in South Asia and
which face serious difficulties in achieving social and economic
development. The Heads of State or Government reiterated their
commitment to eradicate poverty and noted with appreciation the
outcome of the World Summit for Social Development.
- The Heads of State or Government committed themselves to
addressing the fundamental causes of poverty and to provide for the
basic needs of all. They reaffirmed their commitment to work for
guaranteeing the realisation of the rights of all, in particular
those of the poor, to food, work, shelter, health, education,
resources and information.
- The Heads of State or Government reaffirmed their commitment to
provide expanded opportunities to the poor to enhance their overall
capacities and improve living conditions and to adequate economic
and social protection during unemployment, disability and old age.
While recognising the need to improve, expand and deregulate markets
to promote sustained economic growth they felt it was essential to
mitigate any negative features created by the market forces and make
all efforts to make the markets friendly to the poor. The Heads of
State or Government reaffirmed the necessity to ensure that
financial systems and other public policies are geared towards
poverty eradication and warned against increase in socially divisive
- The Heads of State or Government agreed that the Governments of
SAARC countries will have to play a lead role in promoting the
support structures needed for poverty eradication, including
people's institutions and non-governmental organisations in the
context of organising the people and fostering decentralisation and
local self-governance and encouraging organisation of the poor, in
the context of their social and economic interests.
SAARC PREFERENTIAL TRADING ARRANGEMENT (SAPTA)
- The Heads of State or Government noted with satisfaction that
subsequent to the signing of the Framework Agreement on SAARC
Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA) during their Seventh Summit
in Dhaka in April 1993, the first round of trade negotiations to
exchange trade concessions among Member States has been completed.
They directed that all necessary steps should be taken to facilitate
ratification by all Member States and operationalise SAPTA by the
end of 1995 as mandated.
- The Leaders reiterated their firm belief that the
operationalisation of SAPTA will herald the beginning of a new and
significant process of regional cooperation and would lend strength
to SAARC as an institution for promoting the welfare of the peoples
of South Asia.
- In view of the fast changing international economic environment,
creation of major trading and economic groupings, establishment of
the World Trade Organisation subsequent to the successful conclusion
of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and
unilateral economic liberalisation measures being adopted by Member
Countries, the Heads of State or Government emphasised the urgency
of broadening and deepening cooperation within a specific and rapid
time-frame in the core areas of trade and economic relations in the
region. These developments call for added urgency to achieve more
progress towards operationalisation of SAPTA and intensification of
cooperation to expand regional trade. To that end, they decided that
the "Components" and "Additional Measures"
identified in Articles 4 and 6 respectively of the SAPTA Agreement
should be implemented.
INTEGRATED PROGRAMME OF ACTION
- The Heads of State or Government noted the progress made through
the Integrated Programme of Action covering a number of crucial
areas and activities.
- The Leaders welcomed the establishment of the SAARC Documentation
Centre (SDC) in New Delhi in May 1994 and the SAARC Meteorological
Research Centre (SMRC) at Dhaka in January this year.
WOMEN IN DEVELOPMENT
- Noting that increased political and social consciousness in the
region had highlighted the issues of elimination of gender-disparity
and empowerment of women which are essential for their
socio-economic development, the Heads of State or Government
underlined the urgency of addressing these issues through further
- The Leaders endorsed the "Kathmandu Resolution on Women and
Family Health", adopted by the Ministerial Conference on Women
and Family Health in Kathmandu in November 1993, and expressed
satisfaction that appropriate programmes were being undertaken to
implement the Resolution at the national level by the Member States.
- The Leaders noted the progress in the implementation of the Plan
of Action to mark 1991-2000 as the 'SAARC Decade of the Girl-Child',
and requested the Council of Ministers to conduct a comprehensive
mid-decade review for presentation to the Ninth SAARC Summit.
- Recognising the serious threat faced by certain groups of Girl
Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances (GCEDC) including
those orphaned, disabled and exploited, the Leaders decided that an
urgent appraisal of the situation of these children be undertaken by
the Council of Ministers and specific recommendations be presented
to the Ninth SAARC Summit.
- Considering that the exploitation of the Girl Child is a direct
reflection of the status of women in society, the Leaders reaffirmed
their resolve to take necessary measures to eliminate all forms of
discrimination against women and girl-children.
- The Heads of State or Government expressed satisfaction that the
annual reviews of the situation of children in SAARC countries for
the years 1993 and 1994 had been completed which indicated reduction
in infant mortality and significant progress in the immunisation
programme for children in the region.
- Recalling the mid-decade goals of the World Summit for Children,
the Heads of State or Government resolved to intensify their efforts
both at the national and regional levels for attainment of these
- The Leaders welcomed that all Member States have become party to
the Convention on the Rights of the Child. They felt that the
recently held Cairo International Conference on Population and
Development (ICPD) in September 1994 and the Copenhagen World Summit
on Social Development in March 1995 had imparted fresh impetus to
the on-going efforts for the survival, protection and development of
children in South Asia.
- The Heads of State or Government endorsed the Malé
Resolution on Youth adopted by the Ministerial Conference on Youth
in South Asia held in the Maldives in May 1994 and noted that the
Conference had, inter-alia, served to focus attention on the status
of the youth and the challenges faced by them. The Leaders noted
with satisfaction that the Agenda for Action incorporated in the
Resolution is being implemented by Member States with a view to
integrating the youth into the process of national development. They
noted with satisfaction that the SAARC Youth Resolution had been
adopted and the SAARC Youth Awards Scheme has been established.
- The Leaders expressed satisfaction on the implementation of the
Plan of Action to mark 1994 as the SAARC Year of the Youth in Member
States and resolved to continue the momentum generated in Member
PERSONS WITH DISABILITY
- The Heads of State or Government noted with satisfaction that the
Ministerial Conference on Disabled Persons was held in Islamabad in
December 1993. They endorsed the Islamabad Resolution on Disabled
Persons and the recommendations of the Conference and noted that the
Conference had further increased awareness among the peoples of
South Asia regarding the needs and problems of the disabled persons.
They welcomed the activities and programmes launched by the Member
States in pursuance of the Resolution for the protection and
promotion of persons with disability.
- The Heads of State or Government, recognising that housing was a
basic right for all people and that, in addition to governmental
efforts, private initiatives of the people and non-governmental
agencies should be supported, reaffirmed their commitment to work
towards the global objective of "Shelter for All by the Year
- The Heads of State or Government noted that illiteracy is one of
the major causes of poverty, backwardness and social injustices and
called on the Member States to initiate more concrete programmes
aimed at eradicating illiteracy in the region preferably by the year
2000 A.D. They decided to observe 1996 as the "SAARC Year of
- Reaffirming the need for a concerted action for the protection
and preservation of the environment, the Heads of State or
Government expressed their satisfaction over the formulation of a
common position by Member States prior to the World Conference on
Natural Disaster Reduction and the presentation of the collective
position at the Yokohama Conference. They recognised that
international cooperation is vital for building up national
capabilities, transfer of appropriate technology and promotion of
multilateral projects and research efforts in natural disaster
- The Heads of State or Government expressed their deep concern at
the unabated degradation of the environment and recurrence of
devastating natural disasters. They also underscored the risks and
dangers involved in overlooking the challenge posed by these
problems. They expressed their commitment to implementing at all
levels - national, bilateral, regional and global - programmes for
the protection and preservation of the environment and prevention of
its degradation. The Heads of State or Government stressed the
importance of continuing the on-going SAARC activities in the field
- The Heads of State or Government noted that although some work
has been carried out in the area of disseminating information on the
problems of environmental degradation and their impact on the
region, progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the
SAARC Regional Study on the Causes and Consequences of Natural
Disasters and the Protection and Preservation of the Environment and
the Regional Study on Greenhouse Effect and its Impact on the
Region, which were completed in 1992, had been slow. They stressed
the importance of effective and speedy implementation of the
recommendations of the two Studies and requested Member States to
take all necessary steps without further delay in vital areas such
as sharing and developing scientific capabilities to protect and
manage the environment. They further directed the Technical
Committee on Environment to monitor the progress made in the
implementation of the recommendations of the two Studies, and submit
a report to the Ninth Summit through the Council of Ministers.
- The Heads of State or Government recalled the decisions expressed
in the Dhaka Declaration of April, 1993 on the outcome of the United
Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) of June,
1992 and reiterated the urgent need to ensure the flow of new and
additional resources that are adequate and predictable to
successfully implement the programmes of Agenda 21. They also
recalled the United Nations minimum target for developed countries
of 0.7 percent of GNP as Official Development Assistance, a target
which is yet to be approximated by most developed countries. The
Heads of State or Government also noted that international actions
in the area of environment protection should be based on partnership
and collective endeavours and should reflect the principle
enunciated in the UNCED, of common but differentiated
responsibilities. Integral to such actions is the promotion of
economic growth in developing countries, that is both sustained and
sustainable and direct action in eradicating poverty.
- The Heads of State or Government also noted that the Commission
on Sustainable Development set up to monitor the implementation of
the Rio agreements has met thrice since their earlier meeting and
expressed the hope that the Commission would be able to facilitate
the necessary flow of resources and technology.
- The Heads of State or Government also noted that the Convention
on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change have both come into force and the first meetings
of the Conferences of Parties to each Convention have been held.
Welcoming these developments they urged that developing countries
should be assisted in meeting their commitments under the
Conventions. The establishment of the restructured Global
Environment Facility (GEF) is a beginning in this direction.
However, the Heads of State or Government urged that funds of a much
larger order would be necessary if the needs of the Conventions are
to be met.
- The Heads of State or Government expressed serious concern on the
spread of terrorism in and outside the region and reiterated their
unequivocal condemnation of all acts, methods and practices of
terrorism as criminal. They deplored all such acts for their ruinous
impact on life, property, socio-economic development and political
stability as well as on regional and international peace and
- The Heads of State or Government once again emphasised that
highest priority should be accorded to the enactment of enabling
legislation at the national level to give effect to the SAARC
Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism. They urged Member
States, which had not yet done so, to enact expeditiously enabling
legislation at the national level to implement the convention and
reiterated the need for a constant dialogue and interaction among
the concerned agencies of Member States, including submission of
periodic recommendations to the Council of Ministers.
- They underlined that cooperation among SAARC Member States was
vital if the scourge of terrorism was to be eliminated from the
- The Heads of State or Government recognised that drug abuse and
drug trafficking with its linkages with organised crime, illicit
arms trade and terrorism continues to pose a serious threat to the
security and stability in the region.
- While noting the efforts made by Member States as well as the
regional cooperation underway to combat this pernicious trade, the
Leaders stressed the urgency of further strengthening the process of
- The Leaders welcomed the ratification of the SAARC Convention on
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances by all Member States and
entry into force of the Convention in September 1993. They urged all
Member States to take necessary follow-up action for effective
implementation of the Convention.
- The Heads of State or Government reiterated that cooperation in
the area of Science and Technology should be accorded high priority.
Noting that some progress had been made towards establishment of
networking arrangements, inter-alia, in the fields of
Bio-Technology, Genetic Engineering, Energy Modelling Techniques and
Low-Cost Housing and Building Technologies, the Leaders called for
further acceleration of this process.
- Reiterating their earlier resolve to further promote
people-to-people contact through increased involvement of the
peoples of South Asia in the process of regional cooperation, the
Heads of State or Government noted with satisfaction that such
interaction has been taking place through various fora both within
and outside the SAARC framework and has contributed to the promotion
of mutual understanding in the region.
- The Leaders noted that SAARCLAW (an association for persons of
the legal communities of SAARC countries) had been accorded
recognition by SAARC. The Leaders hoped that SAARCLAW would play an
effective role in fostering closer cooperation among the legal
communities in the region.
- The Leaders noted with satisfaction that the SAARC Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has been functioning satisfactorily.
They expressed hope that the SAARC Chamber and its constituent units
in the Member States will do their utmost to promote trade and
economic cooperation in the SAARC region. The Leaders commended the
SAARC Chamber for disseminating information on the scope, content
and potentials of SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA)
among the business community in the region.
- The Heads of State or Government expressed satisfaction that the
SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme is being implemented smoothly and has
enhanced the scope of people-to-people contacts.
SOUTH ASIAN DEVELOPMENT FUND (SADF)
- The Heads of State or Government endorsed the establishment of a
three-window South Asian Development Fund with the merger of SAARC
Fund for Regional Projects and the SAARC Regional Fund and a third
window for social development and infrastructure development.
PROJECTION OF COLLECTIVE POSITIONS
- The Heads of State or Government recalled their decision taken at
the Seventh SAARC Summit regarding development of collective
positions in international fora on such issues as would enhance the
international profile of South Asia and would enable the Member
States to articulate their position on them more effectively. They
noted that Council of Ministers had formulated a procedure for
projection of SAARC collective positions at such international fora.
- They noted with satisfaction that pursuant to the decision at the
Seventh SAARC Summit, collective positions were formulated by Member
States which were presented at the World Conference on Natural
Disaster Reduction and the World Summit for Social Development. The
Leaders also noted with satisfaction that a SAARC collective
position will also be presented at the Fourth World Conference on
Women in Beijing in September 1995.
SECURITY OF SMALL STATES
- The Heads of State or Government reaffirming their commitment to
universally accepted principles and norms relating to the sovereign
rights and territorial integrity of all States, recognised that
small States, because of their particular problems, required special
measures of support for safeguarding their independence and
territorial integrity. They reiterated that real protection of small
and weaker States should be firmly rooted in the rule of law. This,
they stressed should be ensured by all countries either severally or
collectively through the pursuit of appropriate actions.
INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS
- The Heads of State or Government noted that the end of the Cold
War had resulted in fundamental changes in the political landscape.
It was therefore important that a new idiom be found to address new
concerns. The disappearance of the confrontation between the two
power blocs presented an opportunity towards building a genuine
consensus for a new international order.
- The Heads of State or Government had wide ranging discussions on
the current global political trends and future prospects,
particularly those issues that concern South Asia. In this context,
they reiterated their deep commitment to the purposes and principles
of the UN Charter and reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen the
United Nations as the central instrument for peace, security,
disarmament, development and cooperation among the nations of the
world. While pledging their support to all constructive initiatives
aimed at strengthening the United Nations, the Leaders emphasised
that such initiatives must be undertaken with the sole objective of
rendering the United Nations and all its organs more democratic,
efficient and effective and not to limit the focus of its attention
to a narrow and isolated range of objectives.
- Appreciating the role of some SAARC Member States in the UN Peace
Keeping Operations in various parts of the world, the Heads of State
or Government felt that such participation had contributed towards
maintenance of peace and security in the world.
- The Heads of State or Government reiterated their firm commitment
to the principles and objectives of the Non-aligned Movement and
underlined the continued validity and relevance of these principles
and objectives in the contemporary world. They recalled the
stabilising role played by the Movement in global affairs since its
inception. They expressed their deep conviction that the Movement's
innate strength equipped it to continue to play a most constructive
role in laying the foundations of a new world order based on the
rule of law, non-discrimination, equity and cooperation.
- The Heads of State or Government noted that while the
international community had successfully created the norm against
chemical and biological weapons, it had, unfortunately, been unable
to do the same with regard to nuclear weapons. The Leaders were
convinced that more needs to be done and at a far greater pace.
Reiterating that the utmost priority was to be given to nuclear
disarmament, given the danger posed by nuclear weapons, they urged
the Conference on Disarmament to negotiate an international
convention prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons
under any circumstances and undertake negotiations for the complete
elimination of all nuclear weapons within a time bound framework.
- The Heads of State or Government expressed their strong
commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights. They
agreed to take all necessary steps to achieve this objective.
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL ISSUES
- The Heads of State or Government welcomed the successful
conclusion of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations
and reaffirmed their commitment to implement fully and as scheduled,
the Final Act of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade
negotiations. They also welcomed the coming into existence of the
WTO and expressed the hope that it would help to expand
international trade, particularly that of the developing countries.
They reaffirmed the immediate need to elaborate policies to enable
developing countries, to take advantage of expanded international
trading opportunities, in the context of the full implementation of
the Round. They called on all countries to refrain from any
unilateral measure not in accordance with international law, the
Charter of the United Nations and enlightened regionalism and
globalism that creates obstacles to trade relations among States and
thereby impedes the full realisation of social and economic
- Recognising that the promotion of mutually reinforcing
broad-based sustained economic growth on a global scale, as well as
a non-discriminatory, and multilateral rule-based international
trading system, provided a basis for social development, the Heads
of State or Government called for the establishment of an open,
equitable, cooperative and mutually beneficial international
economic environment. They also called for a reduction of trade
barriers and promotion of expanded access to global markets.
- The Heads of State or Government reaffirmed their commitment to
safeguard the basic interests of workers. They called upon countries
to refrain from erecting trade barriers in the guise of promotion
and protection of workers' rights. They deplored the tendency to
impose any conditionalities on international trade, whether as a "social
clause" or as the "environmental clause", while
reiterating their commitment to ensuring workers' rights as well as
protection of the environment.
SPECIAL MEASURES FOR THE LEAST DEVELOPED AND LAND-LOCKED
- The Heads of State or Government noted with deep concern that
economic growth in the Least Developed Countries and Land-Locked
Countries is not satisfactory and emphasised the need to take
special measures for accelerating the process of development. They
reiterated the need to fulfil the internationally agreed aid targets
for the developing countries and the Least Developed Countries. They
emphasised on the need for exceptional finance to facilitate
implementation of economic reform programmes in SAARC Countries.
DATES AND VENUE OF THE NINTH MEETING OF THE SAARC HEADS OF STATE
- The Heads of State or Government gratefully accepted the offer of
the Government of Maldives to host the Ninth SAARC Summit. The dates
would be finalised in consultation with Member States.
- The Heads of State or Government of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives,
Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka expressed their deep appreciation for
the exemplary manner in which the Prime Minister of India had
discharged his responsibilities as Chairman of the Meeting. They
expressed their profound gratitude for the warm and gracious
hospitality extended to them by the Government and the people of the
Republic of India and for the excellent arrangements made for the