The idea of regional cooperation in South Asia was first raised in November 1980. AFTER consultations, the Foreign Secretaries of the seven countries met for the first time in Colombo in April 1981. This was followed a few months later by a meeting of the Committee of the Whole, which identified five broad areas for regional cooperation. The Foreign Minister, at their first meeting in New Delhi in August 1983, adopted the Declaration on South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and formally launched the Integrated Program of Action (IPA) in the five agreed areas of cooperation: agriculture rural development; telecommunications; meteorology , and health and population activities. Later, transport; postal services, scientific and technological cooperation; sports arts, and culture were added t the IPA.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
The SAARC seeks to promote he welfare of the peoples of South Asia, strengthen collective self-reliance, promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in various fields, and cooperate with international and regional organizations.
The Committee provides overall monitoring and coordination determines priorities, mobilizes resources, and approves projects and financing. It may meet as often as deemed necessary but in practice normally meets twice a year and submits its reports to the Council of Ministers.
The Standing Committee may also set up Action Committees comprising. Member states concerned with implementation of projects per Articles VII of the Charter. The Standing Committee is assisted by a Programming Committee, an ad hoc body, comprising senior officials, to scrutinize the Secretariat Budget, finalize the Calendar of Activities, and take up any other assigned to it by the Standing Committee.]
The Programming Committee also has been entrusted to consider the reports of the Technical Committee and the SAARC Regional Centers and submit its comments to the Standing Committee.
Secretariat : The Secretary - General, who is appointed by the Council of Ministers for a two - year term and is rotated among Member States, six Directors, and a General Service Staff , holds this position constitute the foundation for a strong viable community of nations in southeast Asia.