Over the years, there has been a growing interest among many countries and organizations to be associated with SAARC as Observers and to engage with SAARC in collaborative endeavours.
Since the Thirteenth SAARC Summit (Dhaka, 12-13 November 2005), the requests by a number of countries and one intergovernmental organization to be associated with SAARC as Observers was welcomed by the Heads of State or Government of SAARC.
Today, there are nine Observers to SAARC as follows:
(iii) European Union
(vi) Republic of Korea
Since the Fourteenth SAARC Summit (New Delhi, 3-4 April 2007), Observers have been invited to participate in the inaugural and closing Sessions of SAARC Summits.
SAARC’s engagement with its Observers is based on the Guidelines for Cooperation with Observers adopted by the Fifteenth SAARC Summit (Colombo, 2-3 August 2008). The Fifteenth SAARC Summit also decided to impose a moratorium on the admission of new Observers.
With the admission of Observers to SAARC, a number of proposals have been made by some Observers to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation and some of the proposals are currently under implementation.