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SAARC Development Fund allocates USD 5 million relief fund for COVID-19 projects

Ahmed Aiham
08 April 2020, MVT 09:18
SAARC Development Fund's Board Directors in a picture taken on August, 2019.. PHOTO: SAARC DEVELOPMENT FUND
Ahmed Aiham
08 April 2020, MVT 09:18

The SAARC Development Fund (SDF) on Tuesday allocated a USD 5 million fund for COVID-19 projects in SAARC member states under its 'Social Window' to finance projects.

The main objective of the fund is to "to protect the people of SAARC by mitigating financial losses and severe socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic", noted SDF Chief Executive Officers Dr Sunil Motiwal.

Dr Motiwal further said the fund is a means "to protect the people of the SAARC by mitigating financial losses and severe socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic".

From the eight SAARC nations - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, have reported a total of 8,282 confirmed cases of COVID-19 .

According to SDF Charter Article four, Section two, Social Window shall primarily fund projects on poverty alleviation, social development focusing on education, health, human resource development, support to vulnerable/disadvantaged segment of the society, funding needs of communities, micro-enterprises and rural infrastructure development.

All eight members states are eligible to apply for the response fund.

Funding criteria

- Three or more SAARC countries participating in a project.

- Minimum of 50 percent cash co-funding from the project proponents. However, 100 percent grants may be considered for project proposals formulated by SAARC bodies, governments and other indepdendent bodies of a government.

- NGOs and the private sector are also eligible, with a five-year minimum work experience in the relevant field and a commitment of 50 percent cash co-funding.

“The approval process, project implementation, fund disbursement, management, monitoring and reporting shall be as per the existing SDF-Board approved policy, and practices of SDF and Social Window", said Dr Motiwal, adding that SDF will follow a 'fact-track system' for appraisal and approval of projects.

The SDF is mandated to build regional integration and economic cooperation through project funding in member states. Since its inception in April 2010, the SDF is headed by eight member states. The Secretariat is based in Thimphu, Bhutan.

SDF has an authorized capital of USD 1.5 billion and total capital base of USD 511.52 million.

Currently, SDF is implementing 90 projects across all member nations under its three funding windows with a total fund commitment of USD 198.24 million.

A total of 48 projects within the last seven years have benefitted thousands of people in SAARC countries.

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