Press Release

First Meeting of the SAARC Planning Ministers in virtual mode

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan convened the First Meeting of the SAARC Planning Ministers in virtual mode, today. The Meeting was devoted to the theme, ‘Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in South Asia: Shaping the SAARC Vision-2030’.


Hon’ble Mr. Asad Umar, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives of Pakistan, chaired the Meeting, which was attended by Mr. Mohammad Nabi Sroosh, Acting Deputy Professional, Ministry of Economy, Afghanistan; Hon’ble Mr. M.A. Mannan M.P., Minister of Planning, Bangladesh; Mr. Rinchen Wangdi, Director, Gross National Happiness Commission, Bhutan; H.E. Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, India; Hon’ble Mr. Mohamed Ali, Minister of State for the National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure, Maldives; Hon’ble Prof.   Dr. Pushpa Raj    Kandel, Vice-Chairperson of   the National Planning Commission, Nepal; and Hon’ble Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabraal, M.P., State Minister of Money & Capital Markets and Public Enterprise Reforms, Sri Lanka.


During the Meeting, the Hon’ble Ministers and Heads of Delegation shared national experiences in SDGs-implementation as well as the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministers called for closer regional collaboration to realign efforts of the Member States to fight the further spread of the Coronavirus and to mitigate its after effects on the socio-economic development of the region.

Recognizing that the attainment of SDGs was hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Meeting agreed to revitalize regional approaches to successfully attain the Sustainable Development Agenda-2030, particularly in respect of poverty, food security, hunger, health, education, inequality and financing for sustainable development.  The Meeting emphasized the need to build sustainable and mutually beneficial collaboration among the Member States to harness a future, which, at its core, builds quality of life for each and every individual.

The Ministerial Meeting adopted the Report of the First Meeting of the SAARC Planning Secretaries held virtually on 23 November 2020, which covered matters relating, inter alia, to contextualization of SDGs at the regional level; accelerated implementation of the 2030 Development Agenda; and development financing.


H. E. Mr. Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, Secretary General of SAARC, also addressed the Meeting. In his address, the Secretary General thanked the Government of Pakistan for convening the Meeting and the Member States for their active participation, which he described as the reflection of the priority attached to the effective implementation of SDGs in the region. He further said, “This Ministerial Meeting assumes considerable significance in the   context of the directive of the Eighteenth SAARC Summit to initiate an inter-governmental process in contextualizing SDGs in the region.”


Kathmandu, 25 November 2020