The significance of Human Resource in socio-economic development of the region has been recognized since the inception of SAARC. The leaders at the First SAARC Summit in 1985 reaffirmed that their fundamental goal was to accelerate the process of economic and social development through the optimum utilization of human and material resources to promote the welfare and prosperity of people and to improve their quality of life.
At the Second Summit in 1986, the leaders recognized that meeting the needs of children was the principal means of human resource development. They decided that children should be given highest priority in national development planning.
The leaders recognized at the Fourth Summit in 1988 that HRD was one of the means of achieve the objectives of SAARC. In this context they welcomed the offer of Pakistan to host the SAARC Human Resource Development Centre in Islamabad. The Centre undertakes research, imparts training, and disseminate information on HRD issues and advises Member States on HRD related policies and strategies.
SAARC countries have been cooperating in the development of various dimensions of human resource. Such cooperation started as early as August 1982 in the fields of sports, arts and culture. In 1998, the SAARC leaders decided to include education in the agreed areas of cooperation and a Technical Committee was formed to deal with the principal area requiring urgent attention in the region. This Technical Committee was re-organized in 1992. The further re-structuring of the SAARC Integrated Programme of Action (SIPA) in 1999 resulted in the creation of the Technical Committee on Human Resource Development. This was reconstituted in January 2004 to deal with matters pertaining to education, skill development, arts, culture and sports.
At the Twelfth SAARC Summit held in Islamabad in January 2004, the leaders underlined that investment in human resource development was critical for future development of South Asia. It was, therefore, essential to establish a network of centers of higher learning and training, and Skill Development Institutes across South Asia.
At the Thirteenth SAARC Summit held in Dhaka in November 2005, the leaders noted the achievements of the Member States during recent years in the area of primary education and stressed that to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century Member States must make important strides in the areas of science, technology and higher education.
The First Meeting of the Technical Committee on Human Resource Development was held in Islamabad in January 2004. The Second Meeting of the Technical Committee held in Colombo in January 2007 considered a number of issues pertaining to human resource development, education, culture, sports, skill development and cooperation between SAARC and UNESCO.