The Twelfth Summit (Islamabad, January 2004) approved the institution of the SAARC Award to honour and encourage outstanding individuals and organizations within the region.
The main objectives of the SAARC Award are:
- to encourage individuals and organizations based in South Asia to undertake programmes and activities complementing the efforts of SAARC
- to encourage individuals and organizations in South Asia contributing to the improvement of the conditions of women and children
- to honour outstanding contributions and achievements of individuals and organizations within the region in the fields of peace, development, poverty alleviation, environment protection and regional cooperation making the SAARC Award the most prestigous Award in the region; and
- to honour any other outstanding contributions and achievements, not covered above, of individuals and organizations in the region.
The SAARC Award comprises of a gold medal, a letter of citation and cash prize of US $ 25,000.
Since institution of SAARC Award in 2004, it has been awarded only once and the Award was posthumoulsy confered upon Late President Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh.