The Saarc Development Fund (SDF) has asked all eligible agencies in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation to submit proposals to secure finances for projects aimed at tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
The total fund for the SDF-Covid 19 Emergency projects shall be $5 million for all eight member states, according to a letter of the finance ministry of Bangladesh.
The Social Window (SW) has committed $73.74 million out of $100 million allocated for SW projects and currently has a balance of $26.26 million.
The SDF's main objective is to provide support to the member states in their efforts towards responding to the global pandemic and mitigating the financial losses and severe socio-economic impact from it.
For eligibility, at least three Saarc countries will have to participate in the project.
Due to the unusual circumstances of the intervention, the minimum requirement of 50 per cent cash co-funding from the project proponents shall be exempted, said the finance ministry letter.
Government and government agencies, including Saarc bodies are eligible. The grant shall be utilised to address the shortage of fund to mitigate the socio-economic impact, especially on the vulnerable population of the member states.
The member countries have created a Covid-19 Emergency Fund, with an initial contribution of $10 million from India following a video conference of Saarc leaders called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 15 on the pandemic.
Bangladesh has committed to contributing $1.5 million to the fund, Sri Lanka $5 million, Afghanistan and Nepal $1 million each, the Maldives $200,000 and Bhutan $100,000.