Kathmandu: Officials from SAARC countries today met here to give final touches to the Kathmandu Declaration, marking the beginning of the preceding meetings of the 18th SAARC Summit.
Joint Secretaries from all eight member countries participated in the SAARC Programming Committee Meeting which began here this morning to discuss the agendas of the Summit to be held here on November 26-27.
"The meeting, if needed, will rewrite, adjust, or add value to the Kathmandu Declaration that has already been forwarded to the member sates," Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey had said yesterday.
The Indian delegation was led by Joint Secretary, MEA, Ajay Gondame while Yagya Bahadur Hamal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal was leading the delegation of host country during the 49th Programming Committee Meeting.
The Programming Committee Meeting started with the Maldives handing over the chair of the Committee to host country Nepal, as per the tradition.
During the meeting, the Joint Secretaries from the SAARC member countries will also review the status of implementation of the recommendations made by the previous Programming Committee Meeting.
They will also discuss matters relating to formulation of calendar of events for the year 2015, according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Khagnath Adhikari.
The SAARC senior officials are considering to scrap three SAARC Regional Centres and merge remaining others among the 11 centres reducing the number of centres to five so as to make them more effective.
The Committee will also recommend to establish a Disaster and Environment Management Centre of the SAARC and decide about its location, according to Adhikari.
The report to be prepared by the SAARC Programming Committee will be submitted to the 41st Standing Committee Meeting scheduled to take place on November 23 and 24 in Kathmandu.
Foreign Secretaries of the SAARC countries will take part in the two-day Standing Committee Meeting.
In the 18th Summit, SAARC leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will discuss issues ranging from counter terrorism and peace and security in the region to agriculture and rural development.
Representatives from the eight member countries, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, along with observers from nine other nations will take part in the meet.