SAARC calls for greater integration, recognises vulnerability of small island states

The 18th SAARC summit has concluded, with President Abdulla Yameen adding his signature to the Kathmandu Declaration.

A new regional Framework Agreement on Energy Cooperation was also signed by all members of the association, aiming to facilitate cross-border trade of electricity on a voluntary basis.

The summit declaration was themed ‘Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity’ and focused on institutional reform of SAARC as well as the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States.

At the start of the summit earlier this week, President Yameen had called upon the association to make its voice heard in the international community, as well as criticising the group’s complacency on the subject of climate change.

“Importantly, the Declaration underscores the importance of the international community to conclude a legally binding outcome in the fight against climate change before the end of 2015,” read a foreign ministry statement accompanying the summit’s conclusion.

“The Leaders also agreed to develop capacity of Member States to apply space technology for socio-economic development and the welfare of the peoples through experience sharing and technology transfer and in this context welcomed the offer of India to develop and launch a SAARC satellite.”

Another notable features of the Kathmandu Declaration was the recognition of the “manifold contributions of ocean-based Blue Economy in the SAARC Region and the need for collaboration and partnership in this area.”

The declaration pledged commitment to a phased-in South Asian Economic Union via a free trade area, customs union, common markets, and economic and monetary union.

Leaders “reaffirmed that SIDS would require special attention in view of their unique circumstances and particular vulnerabilities in realization of sustainable development.”

The Maldives has recently been elected chair of the Alliance of Small Island States – the 44-member lobby group for such countries within the UN system, which focuses primarily on the effects of climate change.

The Kathmandu Declaration also urged relevant bodies to identify projects in the area of power generation to meet growing regional as well as “taking into account the existential threats posed by climate change to some SAARC Member States”.

The Maldives government is currently aiming to generate 30 percent of its power from renewable sources within five years. Local media yesterday reported that India had offered to assist the Maldives in its search for oil.

All leaders also “reiterated their strong commitment to ensure good governance for sustainable development by promoting accountability, transparency, the rule of law and people’s participation at all levels of governance,” read the declaration.

The summit is the first such meeting since the Maldives’ summit in 2011, having been organised after recently elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited his regional counterparts to his inauguration in May.

President Yameen was able to meet separately with Modi, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during the summit before returning to the Maldives today.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon signed the energy agreement on behalf of the Maldives, committing to enable energy traders to negotiate the terms of exchange, and to share technical knowledge with a view to opening up the electricity sector.

Leaders also promised to sign further agreements on passenger and cargo traffic within three months, after Pakistan were reported to have declined signing the agreements until further internal discussions.

Observers of the 18th summit included Australia, China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Mauritius, Myanmar, the USA, and the EU.

Suggestions that the status of China be upgraded were rebuffed by Indian officials earlier this week, who suggested that greater integration between current states should be remain a priority.

Pakistan has offered to hold the next summit, mandated by the SAARC Charter to held at least once a year.

Related to this story

18th SAARC Summit Declaration

President Yameen calls on SAARC to make its voice heard

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7 thoughts on “SAARC calls for greater integration, recognises vulnerability of small island states”

  1. India, which accounts for 80% of the combined economies of SAARC nations, should quit this consortium of Z list nations. These countries have everything to gain from India and nothing to offer. The most exciting outcome of the current meeting has been, drum roll please, a friggin agreement on electricity sharing!!
    I fail to see what Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Maldives have to offer India?
    The next SAARC conference will be hosted by Pakistan. God help all member states. We can expect to see a lot of public protests to 'save islam' and objections to 'idolatrous' and 'anti islamic' images, banners and statues.....just like the last fiasco held in Male.

  2. MissIndiaAgarwaltheThug, jealousy runs deep in your blood. Ask for a cure and I will help guide you to NIMHANS in Bangalore in India. They sure have been treating people of your sort from the time of the British Raj. Only they MAY be able to help you. Leave the Maldives and the Maldivians to attend to themselves so that we will be able to provide you with a job to feed you and your lots. Maldivians have lived through the ages without your like. However, it has always been people of your sort who annoy us, the latest being GMR and High Commissioner Mullay.

  3. 80% of the economy perhaps, but over 170 million your nation is way below the poverty line, and some of the poorest people in the world is in your country. and there's a massive population lower middle class with extremely poor job security.
    Lets not forget to mention all the societal ills such as rape, discrimination against castes, political violence, extreme corruption etc etc,

    So 80 percent anything doesn't mean much given the circumstances

  4. India has good and bad. The finest of India is of course the transitions and culture of Mugal kings.

    If not for that India would be no different today than Africa.

  5. We may have much poverty in our country but we are politically stable, democratic and secular with one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
    There are more dollar millionaires in India than there are people in Maldives. People like me enjoy a very privileged lifestyle in India.
    SAARC is meant to promote trade between the countries. With the exception of India, what exactly do the SAARC nations produce? What exactly does Maldives produce apart from Tuna and cheap garments?
    India should pull out of SAARC and join an organisation of mutual economic benefit. Future conferences will be held in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Shudder, shudder. I expect 90% of the conference budget to be spent on security to ensure the 'true believers' don't blow up the other delegates.
    90% of your requirements are met by cheap imports from India, which today manufactures EVERYTHING. Be ever grateful for this benefit.
    Our visa section is closed. Need to go abroad for higher studies and medical treatment? The bad news is that our colleges are full up and so are our hospitals. The good news is that admissions are open in Karachi and Kabul.

  6. @MissInidia. You are not enjoying India and you are in Maldives and earning money from Maldives.

    You are involved in GMR corruption and you are part of it.

    Don't think we don't know and we know who you are.

    You and Mulley played a key role in the GMR deal.

    All Indian are not like you .

    You hate so much Maldives since GMR was kicked out and you and your GMR could not conquer Maldives.

  7. MissIndiaAgarwaltheThug,Maldivians will continue to go to India to study and for medical and other reasons to keep Kerala, Tamil Nadu and New Delhi economy alive with Maldivian money because they pay their bills and fees unlike your sort in the Maldives tricking MIRA. India needs them although High Commissioner Mullay pretends publicity otherwise. Indians with money will still come to the Maldives to have a peaceful holiday away from Hullabaloo of 3-wheelers, pollution and cow-dung on Indian roads. MssIndiaAgarwaltheThug will need to slog in the Maldives because Maldives pay a salary incomparable to any similar sort of job in India. Long Live the Maldives and the Maldivians! Out and Away to Corrupt MissIndiaAgarwaltheThug and from keep on pestering the Maldivians....MENACE!


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