Some key Scout leaders from the Asia-Pacific Regional Scout Committee met the Secretary General of SAARC Mr Ahmed Saleem at his office in Kathmandu on 23rd April to brief him about Scouting in the SAARC area, which is one of the main coordinating bodies of youth activities in the sub-region.
Leading the team was Chief Commissioner of Nepal Scouts, Shree Ram Lamachhane, who is also designated as coordinator of South Asia Association of National Scout Organizations (SAANSO) whose secretariat is the Nepal Scouts. SAANSO is a recognized body of SAARC since February 2011, now chaired by the Chief Commissioner of Bhutan, Mr Chencho Dorji. Other leaders in the meeting with the Secretary General were Fazlur Rahman, former Chief Commissioner of Bangladesh and current member of the Regional scout Committee and Mr. Abdullah Rasheed, WOSM AP Regional Director. SAARC Director Ibrahim Zuhuree also took part and will continue to be the contact person for SAANSO.
At the meeting, the team briefed the Secretary General about the annual SAARC Scout Friendship Camp last held in Bhutan in early 2011 and on the next camp to be held in Islamabad from 17-21 October 2012. Shree Ram requested the Secretary General to look into the possibility of including the SAARC Scout Friendship Camp as part of SAARC's calendar of activities.
Annual Scout events among the SAARC countries have been a regular feature since 1990 when the first SAARC Scout Jamboree was held in Sri Lanka. Since then, Scout events continued around the SAARC area with the inclusion of Afghanistan. Apart from the camp, the Jamboree on-the-train, a regular event in Bangladesh, is popular among Scouts which is being considered as a future activity.
During the annual meeting of SAANSO, Chief Commissioners of the eight participating countries agreed on an annual calendar apart from sharing ideas and challenges on the development of Scouting in SAARC. The last Chief Commissioners meeting of SAANSO was held in Bhutan in March 2011 and the next meeting is scheduled for October at the SAARC Camp in Islamabad.