The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), founded in 1985, is dedicated to improving the welfare of the people of South Asia through economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region. SAARC’s seven founding members are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan joined the organization in 2007. Australia, China, European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar, the Republic of Korea and United States are the Observers to SAARC.
Meetings of heads of state are usually scheduled annually; meetings of foreign secretaries, twice annually. It is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal. The 11 stated areas of cooperation are
Culture, and sports;
Health, population, and child welfare;
Environment and meteorology;
Rural development (including the SAARC Youth Volunteers Program);
Science and technology; and
SAARC Development Goals
The Independent South Asian Commission for Poverty Alleviation (ISACPA) developed a comprehensive set of twenty two SAARC Development Goals (SDGs), under four clusters in 2006:
As directed by the Leaders, SAARC is making sustained progress to mainstream SDGs in the national process and develop and implement regional and sub-regional projects towards the attainment of SAARC Development Goals.