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Sunday 13 November 2011


 “BUILDING BRIDGES”  The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, His Excellency Mr. Hamid Karzai; the Prime Minister of the People‟s Republic of Bangladesh, Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina; the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bhutan, His Excellency Lyonchhen Jigmi Yoeser Thinley; the Prime Minister of the Republic of India, His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh; the President of the Republic of Maldives, His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Nasheed; the Prime Minister of Nepal, His Excellency Dr. Baburam Bhattarai; the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, His Excellency Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani; and the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa met in Addu City, the Maldives, on 10-11 November 2011 for the Seventeenth Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).  Welcoming the
theme of the Summit and recognizing the importance of bridging 
differences, creating better understanding and promoting amity and 
mutually beneficial and comprehensive cooperation in order to promote 
effective linkages and connectivity for greater movement of people, 
enhanced investment and trade in the region;  Reaffirming their
commitment to peace, confidence building, liberty, human dignity, 
democracy, mutual respect, good governance and human rights;  Renewing their
firm commitment to alleviate poverty and reduce income inequalities 
within the societies and reaffirming their resolve to improve the 
quality of life and well-being of their people through people-centered
sustainable development;  Recognizing that
the full enjoyment of fundamental rights by women and girls is an 
inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights and
that gender-based violence and discriminatory practices constitute a 
violation of fundamental rights;  Mindful of
the plurality of cultures and diversities within the region and 
cognizant of the need to promote inter-cultural harmony through greater 
contact and interaction between peoples;  Deeply Concerned about
the continuing threat of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,
transnational organized crimes, especially illegal trafficking in 
narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, trafficking in persons and 
small arms and increased incidents of maritime piracy in the region; and
reiterating their resolve to fight all such menaces;  Conscious of the environmental degradation and particular vulnerabilities of the region to the threat of climate change;  Recognizing the need to further strengthen the institutional mechanisms of SAARC in order to bolster and enhance regional cooperation;  Welcoming the
signing of the SAARC Agreement on Rapid Response to Natural Disasters, 
the SAARC Seed Bank Agreement, the SAARC Agreement on Multilateral 
Arrangement on Recognition of Conformity Assessment and the SAARC 
Agreement on Implementation of Regional Standards;  Recognizing the
importance of the full implementation of SAFTA as a measure towards the
creation of an enabling economic environment in the region;  Noting the recommendations of the Report of the First Meeting of the South Asia Forum that SAARC needs to move from looking within to accepting the logic of interdependence; 2  Acknowledging the participation of Observers from Australia, the People‟s Republic of China, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mauritius, the Union of Myanmar, the United States of America and the European Union at the Seventeenth Summit;  DO HEREBY DECLARE: 1.
To direct the SAFTA Ministerial Council to intensify efforts to fully 
and effectively implement SAFTA and the work on reduction in Sensitive 
Lists as well as early resolution of non-tariff barriers and expediting 
the process of harmonizing standards and customs procedures.  2.
To direct the SAARC Finance Ministers to chart a proposal that would 
allow for greater flow of financial capital and intra-regional long-term
investment.  3. To hold the Twelfth SAARC Trade Fair along with SAARC Travel and Tourism Fair in Kulhudhuffushi, Maldives
in 2012; and to develop modalities, by involving the relevant private 
sector, in promoting the region globally as „Destination South Asia.‟  4.
To conclude the Regional Railways Agreement and to convene the Expert 
Group Meeting on the Motor Vehicles Agreement before the next Session of
the Council of Ministers; and to direct the early conducting of a 
demonstration run of a container train (Bangladesh – India – Nepal).  5. To direct the Secretary General to ensure completion of the preparatory work on the Indian Ocean Cargo and Passenger Ferry Service, including the Feasibility Study, by the end of 2011, in order to launch the Service.  6. To ensure timely implementation of the Thimphu Statement on Climate Change.  7.
To direct the conclusion of the Inter-governmental Framework Agreement 
for Energy Cooperation and the Study on the Regional Power Exchange 
Concept as also the work related to SAARC Market for Electricity.  8. To make available an appropriate percentage of national income towards the respective countries‟ renewable energy investments, subject to the approval of national arrangements.  9.
To resolve the operational issues related to the SAARC Food Bank by the
next Session of the Council of Ministers with a view to ensuring its 
effective functioning.  10.
To root out terrorism, taking into account its linkages with illegal 
trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and small arms 
and to make coordinated and concerted efforts to combat terrorism; and 
call for an early conclusion of the proposed UN Comprehensive Convention
on International Terrorism and completion of the ratification of the 
SAARC Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.  11. To initiate work towards combating maritime piracy in the region.  12.
To direct the convening of an Inter-governmental Expert Group Meeting 
to discuss the establishment of a regional mechanism to ensure 
empowerment of women and gender equality in the region, with focus on 
national legislations, including timely realization of the MDGs and 
SDGs.  13.
To direct the finalization of the work on the elaboration of the SAARC 
Regional Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and
Children for Prostitution with a view to its adoption by the next 
Summit. 3  14.
To formulate an actionable framework to address the common challenge of
sanitation and access to safe drinking water in the region.  15.
To expedite the work on mutual recognition of academic and professional
degrees and harmonization of academic standards; and establishment of 
long-term linkages among universities, research institutions and 
think-tanks in the region.  16.
To direct the South Asia Forum to continue to work towards the 
development of the “Vision Statement” for South Asia and its future 
development, including on the goal and elements of a South Asian 
Economic Union, as may emerge from its subsequent meetings.  17. To strengthen SAARC mechanisms, including the Secretariat and Regional Centres, through an inter-governmental process.  18.
To direct SAARC mechanisms and institutions to develop and implement 
regional and sub-regional projects, as appropriate, in agreed areas.  19. To undertake a comprehensive review of all matters relating to SAARC‟s
engagement with Observers, including the question of dialogue 
partnership, before the next Session of the Council of Ministers in 
2012.  20.
To mark a SAARC Media Day and, in that context, decide to convene a 
Regional Conference on Media to consider deepening collaboration in the 
region.  ISSUED on 11.11.11, in Addu, Maldives.

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