Areas of Cooperation

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SAARC Ministerial Conference on Youth in South Asia

Issues related to Youth in the region have also been given due priority. Ministerial Conference on Youth in South Asia was held in Maldives in May 1994 to address the problem of the youth and focus on the broad theme of youth and development.

SAARC Year of Youth

The Year 1994 was designated as the “SAARC Year of Youth”. In 1995, the SAARC Youth Resolution was adopted to advance the overall development of Youth in the region.

SAARC Youth Camps

SAARC Agenda for Culture approved by the Twenty-eighth Session of the Council of Ministers recommends holding of SAARC Youth Camp annually on a designated theme to promote cultural interaction among the youth. Accordingly, the First SAARC Youth Camp was held in Bangladesh in December 2007.

Subsequently, Sri Lanka hosted the Second SAARC Youth Camp in Colombo from 28 July – 1 August 2008.

The Third SAARC Youth Camp, under the theme w “Be accountable for your environment: Today and Tomorrow”, was held in Maldives from 21-26 February 2011


The Fourth SAARC Youth Camp will be held in India in early 2013.


SAARC Youth Awards

The SAARC Youth Awards Scheme was instituted in 1996 to provide recognition to extraordinary young talents and encourage the overall development of the youth in the region. The Scheme is also aimed at encouraging the South Asian youth to excel in various fields and to realize their full potential.

The SAARC Youth Awards Scheme is open to nationals of SAARC Member Countries, who are within the age group of 20-35 years. The Award consists of a citation in English; a Gold Medal; and a cash prize of US$ 3000.

The SAARC Youth Awards have so far been presented on the following themes :

1997: Outstanding Social Service in Community Welfare - Mr. Md. Sukur Salek (Bangladesh)
1998: New Inventions and Discoveries - Dr. Najmul Hasnain Shah (Pakistan)
2001: Creative Photography: South Asian Diversity - Mr. Mushfiqul Alam (Bangladesh)
2002: Outstanding contribution to protect the Environment - Dr. Masil Khan (Pakistan)
2003: Invention in the Field of Traditional Medicine - Mr. Hassan Sher (Pakistan)
2004: Outstanding contribution to raising awareness for TB and/or HIV/AIDS - Mr. Ajij Prasad Poudyal (Nepal)
2006: Promotion of Tourism in South Asia - Mr. Syed Zafar Abbas Naqvi (Pakistan)
2008: From Himalayan glaciers to verdant plains to coral reefs – protecting the Environment in South Asia - Ms. Uswatta Liyanage Deepani Jayantha (Sri Lanka)
2009: Outstanding contribution to humanitarian works in the aftermath of Natural Disasters - Dr. Ravikant Singh (India) 
2010: Outstanding Contribution to protection of Environment and Mitigating Effects of Climate Change - Ms. Anoka Primrose Abeyrathne from Sri Lanka.
2011:  Youth leadership in the fight against social ills - Mr. Mohamed Faseen Rafiu from the Maldives.

The Forty-Fourth Session of the Programming Committee (SAARC Secretariat on 9-11 December 2013) deliberated extensively on the recommendations made by the Sixth Technical Committee on Women, Youth and Children (2-3 September 2013) to bring changes to the existing criteria for the SAARC Youth Award. The Committee recommended that the only criteria that may be changed from existing practice may be the change in age criteria from 20 – 35 to 18 – 30 years. The Committee also recommended to change theme of SAARC Award 2014 ‘Youth Leadership in Media Literacy’ to ‘Youth Leadership in Print and Electronic Media’. Further the Committee advised the future Selection Committee Meetings to consider simpler and easily comprehensible themes.


SAARC Youth Award 2014 was announced under the theme “Youth Leadership in Print and Electronic Media” for only young women of South Asia. The Secretariat has received nominations from Bhutan, Nepal andSri Lanka.