- The Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Her
Excellency Begum Khaleda Zia; the King of Bhutan, His Majesty King
Jigme Singye Wangchuck; the Prime Minister of the Republic of India,
His Excellency Shri Narasimha Rao; the President of the Republic of
Maldives, His Excellency Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom; the Prime
Minister of Nepal, the Rt. Hon. Girija Prasad Koirala; the Prime
Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, His Excellency Mian
Mohammed Nawaz Sharif and the President of the Democratic Socialist
Republic of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Ranasinghe Premadasa met at
the Sixth Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional
Cooperation (SAARC) at Colombo, Sri Lanka on 21st December, 1991.
- The Heads of State or Government reaffirmed their commitment to
the principles and objectives enshrined in the Charter of SAARC.
They resolved to promote regional cooperation for the benefit of
their people, in a spirit of mutual accommodation, with full respect
for the principles of sovereign equality, independence and
territorial integrity of all States and in strict adherence to the
principles of nonuse of force, the peaceful settlement of disputes
and noninterference in each other's internal affairs. They also
reiterated their commitment to the principles of the United Nations
Charter and the Nonaligned Movement.
- The Heads of State or Government emphasised the vital importance
of assessing the nature and extent of international economic
interdependence and of the need for reviving the North/South
dialogue. They noted the recent developments that had radically
transformed the international development relationship deeply
affecting the prospects for the economies of the seven SAARC
countries. The Heads of State or Government emphasised the need for
vigorously promoting SouthSouth economic cooperation to offset the
negative consequences of international economic developments.
- The Heads of State or Government also exchanged views on the
priorities of their respective national economies. They identified,
for the further development of their economies, the importance of
securing less restrictive trading and marketing opportunities for
their products, more extensive technology and resource transfers to
South Asia, debt relief and access on favourable and on more
concessional terms to resources from multilateral financial
institutions. They agreed to keep an open dialogue on these aspects
through mutual consultations.
- The Heads of State or Government assessed current international
developments in the political sphere particularly those that
affected the lives of the people of South Asia. They noted the
changing power structures in international relations and the
reduction of confrontations and tensions, particularly among the
Super Powers. These have contributed to the receding of the threat
of nuclear confrontation and to agreements on disarmament measures.
The Heads of State or Government hoped that these developments would
restrain the pursuit of military power in all areas of the world.
They expressed the hope that the peace dividend would be used for
promoting further development of developing countries. They welcomed
the trend towards popularly based democratic governments in
different parts of the world including in South Asia.
- The Heads of State or Government observed however that some
political issues in particular the Palestine question, the final
elimination of Apartheid as well as other problems remained
unresolved despite efforts towards their settlement.
- In regard to human rights, the Heads of State or Government
observed that civil and political rights on the one hand and
economic and social rights on the other are interdependent and of
equal importance Human rights issues should not therefore be viewed
in narrow and exclusively political terms. In this context they
underlined the need to view the efforts of States to guarantee human
rights in their full context, through the pursuit of development for
all citizens in conditions of stability, which in turn guarantees
the enjoyment of human rights of all persons.
- The Heads of State or Government while reaffirming their
commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law,
emphasised the need to ensure that development remains at the centre
of international attention.
- The Heads of State or Government agreed to participate in the
ongoing process of revitalising the United Nations as an effective
universal instrument for addressing international issues on an
equitable and democratic basis, taking full account of the interests
and concerns of all states, including those in South Asia. Issues
such as the protection and preservation of the environment and the
equitable and sustainable management of global resources, economic
development and the alleviation of poverty, the suppression of
terrorism, drug trafficking and other international crimes required
global responses and solutions calling for action by all states.
- In the context of the SAARC Charterobjective to strengthen
cooperation among MemberStates in international fora, the Heads of
State or Government resolved to encourage consultations among
delegations of SAARC countries at all international fora and to
promote articulation of joint positions where such action would be
in the interests of all. They felt that the development of a
collective position in international fora would accord them greater
credibility and enhance the international profile of South Asia.
- The Heads of State or Government welcomed the Report presented by
the Chairman of the Fifth SAARC Summit, the President of Maldives,
and the Head of Government of Bangladesh on the adoption of a more
businesslike and functional approach in the conduct of SAARC
meetings, as well as the Report submitted by the Chairman of the
Ninth Session of the Council of Ministers, the Foreign Minister of
Maldives, on rationalizing SAARC activities. The Heads of State or
Government also considered other proposals submitted by MemberStates
and by the Secretariat to make the Association a more effective
instrument for the realisation of the aspirations of the people of
- They decided that the Standing Committee should meet in special
session in Colombo in April 1992 in order to collate and study all
proposals and comments in this respect and to submit a report with
its recommendations to the Eleventh Session of the Council of
- The Heads of State or Government reemphasised that regional
selfreliance should be resolutely promoted through closer
cooperation among countries of the Association and that this would
help mitigate the adverse consequences of negative international
developments operating against them.
- The Heads of State or Government requested the Standing Committee
at its Special Session to study the question of cooperation between
SAARC and appropriate international and regional organizations
taking into account the evolution of SAARC activities in the core
economic areas and to report to the Eleventh Session of the Council
- The Heads of State or Government noted the progress made by the
Integrated Programme of Action (IPA) in expanding to cover a number
of sectors crucial for the economic and social progress of the
peoples of South Asia. They were of the view that the challenge
facing the IPA was to achieve its identified targets within specific
time periods. The Heads of State or Government welcomed the
proposals made and the discussions proceeding in SAARC to heighten
the effectiveness of the IPA.
- The Heads of State or Government accorded the highest priority to
the alleviation of poverty in all South Asian countries. They
affirmed that South Asia's poor could constitute a huge and
potential resource, provided their basic needs were met, and they
were mobilized to create economic growth. This requires that the
poor are empowered and are irreversibly linked to the mainstream of
development. It was noted that each South Asian country has had
significant success cases of this approach to poverty alleviation.
- Recognising that a great majority of these people remain below
the poverty line, they evinced keen interest in a "Daal-Bhaat",
or assured nutritional standards approach towards the satisfaction
of basic needs of the South Asian poor.
- Deeply conscious that primary education is the cutting edge in
the struggle against poverty and the promotion of development, the
Heads of State or Government reaffirmed the importance of attaining
the target of providing primary education to all children between
the ages of 6 14 years by the year 2000. They agreed to share their
respective experiences and technical expertise to achieve this goal.
- The Heads of State or Government decided to establish an
independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation consisting
of eminent persons from each SAARC Member State to conduct an
indepth study of diverse experiences of the seven countries on
poverty alleviation, and to report to the Seventh Summit, their
recommendations on the alleviation of poverty in South Asia.
- The Heads of State or Government were pleased to note the
establishment of the Committee for Economic Cooperation as an
important outcome of the Regional Study on Trade Manufactures and
Services. They declared their commitment to the liberalisation of
trade in the region through a step by step approach in such a manner
that all countries in the region share the benefits of trade
- The Heads of State or Government approved that the Inter
Governmental Group (IGG) set up on the recommendation of the
Committee on Economic Cooperation should formulate and seek
agreement on an institutional framework under which specific
measures for trade liberalisation among SAARC Member States could be
furthered. It should also examine the Sri Lankan proposal to
establish a SAARC Preferential Trade Arrangement (SAPTA) by 1997.
They directed that the IGG should meet as early as possible and
report to the Committee on Economic Cooperation. The Heads of State
or Government accepted the offer of the Government of Sri Lanka to
host the Second Meeting of the Committee on Economic Cooperation at
Colombo in June/July 1992 at which the report of the Inter
Governmental Group would be considered.
- The Heads of State or Government recognised that the degradation
of the environment has emerged as a major global concern. While the
protection of the environment is a common imperative for all
humankind, the main responsibility in this regard rests on developed
countries since most of the emission of pollutants originates in
those countries and since they also have greater capacity for taking
or facilitating corrective measures.
- The Heads of State or Government called on the international
community to address the question of unsustainable production and
consumption patterns and lifestyles which lead to environmental
degradation. They were also of the view that environmental standards
applicable to developed countries may have excessive and unwarranted
economic or social costs if applied in developing countries.
- Adequate new and additional resources are needed for developing
countries to pursue an environmentally sensitive process of
development that will banish the underlying causes of environmental
degradation poverty, malnutrition and unemployment. Such resources
should be transferred to developing countries on an assured basis
together with environmentally sound technology at preferential and
- The Heads of State or Government expressed their conviction that
the framework could be laid for an equitable global partnership of
all countries with a view to safeguarding the environment.
- The Heads of State or Government noted that in preparation for
the SAARC Year of the Environment, SAARC countries had taken various
national as well as regional measures for the preservation of the
- The Heads of State or Government expressed their satisfaction at
the completion of Regional Study on the Causes and Consequences of
Natural Disasters and the Protection and Preservation of
Environment. They urged the member countries to promote cooperation
amongst themselves for enhancing their respective disaster
management capabilities and for undertaking specific workprogrammes
for protection and preservation of the environment. They endorsed
the decision of the Council of Ministers to establish a Committee on
- examine the recommendations of the Regional Study
- identify measures for immediate action
- decide on modalities for their implementation and welcomed
the offer of Bangladesh to hold the first meeting of the
Committee in Dhaka
- The Heads of State or Government noted with satisfaction the
decision of the Standing Committee concerning the time frame to
finalise the regional study on the " 'Greenhouse Effect' and
its Impact on the Region". They urged member countries to
consult each other on key issues concerning climate change,
Biodiversity and Biotechnology, a global consensus on forestry
principles, transfer of environmentally sound technology, management
of waste and other issues for discussion at Intergovernmental
Negotiating Committee and the UNCED in 1992 so that the concerns of
SAARC countries could be effectively articulated and projected,
keeping in mind their respective national priorities.
- The Government of India renewed its offer to host a Ministerial
Meeting to harmonise the views of SAARC countries on these issues
before UNCED 1992. The Heads of State or Government welcomed the
- The Heads of State or Government noted the useful activities
conducted during 1991 which was observed as SAARC Year of Shelter.
They decided to continue to work towards the global objective of "Shelter
for All by the Year 2000.
- The Heads of State or Government were of the view that
Governments should play the critical role of facilitator and
supporter of the initiatives of the people and nongovernmental
agencies in the field of shelter. In this role, they should be
involved in the provision of affordable sites with secure tenure,
making housing finance available on an affordable and sustainable
basis, providing infrastructure development such as water supply and
sanitation, energy and waste disposal, increasing the supply of
building materials at reasonable prices using indigenous resources,
removing constraints to building activities, and creating maximum
opportunities for public participation in decision making and
management of shelter activities in the overall context of poverty
alleviation. Such activities would be facilitated by the exchange of
experience, personnel, research and information among the SAARC
- The Heads of State or Government welcomed the recommendation on
the establishment of a shelter information network to be called "SHELTERNET".
- The Heads of State or Government accorded the highest priority to
the question of child survival, protection and development. They
welcomed the adoption of a Plan of Action on Children for South Asia
which incorporated relevant recommendations of the World Summit on
- The Heads of State or Government noted in this context that some
member countries had completed their national Plans of Action and
urged other member countries to complete their respective Plans.
They also urged Member States to ensure coordinated followup action
on their respective Plans.
- The Heads of State or Government welcomed the offer of Sri Lanka
to host a Conference on Children in South Asia in 1992 to consider
implementation of the regional Plan of Action.
- The Heads of State or Government welcomed the adoption of the
Plan of Action for 1991 2000 A.D. as the SAARC Decade of the Girl
Child. They requested the Council of Ministers to ensure an annual
review of the status of implementation of the Plan of Action during
- The Heads of State or Government expressed serious concern on the
spread of terrorism in the region affecting the security and
stability of all Member States and unequivocally condemned all acts,
methods and practices of terrorism as criminal. They deplored all
such acts for their impact on life, property, socio-economic
development and political stability as well as on regional and
international peace and cooperation.
- They recognised that cooperation among SAARC States was vital if
terrorism was to be prevented and eliminated from the region. In
this regard they urged Member States to take all necessary measures
to give full effect to their obligations under the SAARC Regional
Convention on Suppression of Terrorism. They stressed in particular,
the urgent need for the expeditious enactment of enabling
legislation by those Member States which had not yet done so, for
the implementation of the Convention and 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.
- The Heads of State or Government welcomed the initiative of the
Government of the Republic of Maldives in drawing the attention of
the international community to the protection and security of small
states. They noted with satisfaction that the resolution submitted
by the Maldives to the United Nations during the 46th Session of the
General Assembly and cosponsored by 65 countries including all the
members of SAARC was adopted without a vote. They agreed that small
states may be particularly vulnerable to external threats and acts
of interference in their internal affairs and that they merit
special measures of support in safeguarding their sovereign
independence, territorial integrity and the welfare of their people.
- The Heads of State or Government noted with satisfaction the
increasing regional cooperation in combating the problem of drug
trafficking and drug abuse. They expressed serious concern over the
growing linkages between drug trafficking, international arms trade
and terrorist activities. While expressing satisfaction at the
signing of the SAARC Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic
Substances at the Fifth SAARC Summit at Malé, they urged
Member States which had not yet done so to ratify the Convention for
its entry into force. They also recognised the need for greater
cooperation, including the submission of periodic recommendations to
the Council of Ministers.
- The Heads of State or Government recalled that important
initiatives had been taken at the Bangalore and Kathmandu Summits
which had subsequently resulted in the increased involvement of the
peoples of South Asia in the process of Regional Cooperation. They
welcomed the steps being taken by business organisations/
professional bodies, scholars, academics, National Cultural Councils
and the media in South Asia to form regional entities/ bodies. They
called on the Standing Committee to expedite the formulation of
guidelines for extending recognition to such groups and bodies.
- The Heads of State or Government welcomed the setting up of a
SAARC Fund for Regional Projects (SFRP) for identification and
development of regional projects. They noted that the Fund would be
managed by a Regional Council of Development Financing Institutions
of the SAARC Member States and that the First Meeting of the Council
would take place in India.
- The Heads of State or Government requested the Secretary-General
of SAARC to set up a panel of experts to examine the proposal of His
Majesty the King of Bhutan to undertake a prefeasibility study for
the establishment of a South Asian Development Fund, taking into
account the views of all Member States.
- The Heads of State or Government noted with satisfaction that the
Scheme in regard to the entitled categories of Members of
Parliament, Judges of the Supreme Court, Heads of national academic
institutions and the accompanying spouses and dependent children
will become operational from 1st March 1992. They called for
expeditious action to implement the scheme as well as to consider
other categories eligible for exemption.
- The Heads of State or Government were conscious of the vast
potential being afforded by current advances in scientific research
for the application of science and technology towards the wellbeing
of the peoples of South Asia. They agreed that for the South Asian
region to derive the maximum benefit, scientific and technological
cooperation should transcend national frontiers.
- Recalling the decision of the Malé Summit to
institutionalise cooperation in the field of biotechnology, they
welcomed the proposal for the establishment of a networking
arrangement between Research and Development Centres in the Member
States as an important step in advancing such cooperation. They also
welcomed the emphasis on organised study tours, workshops and
seminars proposed in the identified areas of cooperation in the
field of science and technology.
- The Heads of State or Government gratefully accepted the offer of
the Government of Bangladesh to host the Seventh SAARC Summit in
- The Heads of State or Government of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India,
Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan expressed their deep appreciation for
the exemplary manner in which the President of Sri Lanka 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 Sri
Lanka and for the excellent arrangements made for the Meeting.