The erstwhile Regional Organizations Division was upgraded to a Department and established as the Department of SAARC and Regional Organizations (DSRO) in June 2009 through a government order. The Department was renamed as Department of Regional Cooperation (DoRC) in June 2020 to reflect the changing roles of the Department.
The Department guides and facilitates the active engagement of the Royal Government in events under the framework of regional cooperation. It ensures that Bhutan plays a part in the region’s collective aspirations towards finding lasting solutions to common regional issues through the spirit of friendship, trust and understanding. The Department strives to further consolidate Bhutan’s sovereign status as a responsible member of various regional organizations committed to creating an order based on mutual respect, equity and shared benefits.
(Profile of the new Director will be added later after assumption of office)
The Department consists of two Divisions – SAARC Division and Regional Organizations Division. The desk officers working in the Department are assigned tasks based on thematic areas under the purview of SAARC and other regional organizations.
The main responsibilities of the Department are to:
- Function as the National Focal Point for all issues under the regional cooperation framework;
- Serve as the primary channel of communication between the Regional Organizations/framework and sectoral agencies of the Royal Government;
- Process, monitor and coordinate implementation of various activities related to regional organizations/cooperation;
- Provide guidance and facilitate participation in meetings related to regional cooperation framework/organizations;
- Coordinate, scrutinize and monitor financial contributions to the Regional Organizations/fora; and
- Facilitate and coordinate signature/ratification of instruments under the regional cooperation framework.
The Division’s mandate centres around facilitating RGoB’s participation in the activities of SAARC executed through various technical committees, working groups, regional centres and specialized bodies. As a member of SAARC, the Division, in collaboration with sectoral agencies, work towards achieving the primary objective of SAARC which is to improve the livelihoods of people in the region through accelerated economic development, social progress and cultural engagements pursued collectively in the agreed areas of cooperation.
The key areas of cooperation are as follows:
- Human Resource Development and Tourism
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Environment, Natural Disasters and Biotechnology
- Economic, Trade and Finance
- Social Affairs
- Information and Poverty Alleviation
- Energy, Transport, Science & Technology
- Education, Security and Culture.
Following officials work in the Division. However, their areas of responsibility cut across SAARC, BIMSTEC and other regional organizations.
Regional Organizations Division
The Division is responsible for facilitating active engagement by RGoB in the regional fora such as BIMSTEC, ACD, Colombo Plan in the following key areas of cooperation:
- Trade, Investment and Development
- Agriculture and Food Security
- Science, Technology and Innovation
- Environment and Climate Change
- People-to-People Contact
- Human Resource Development
Details of officials working in the Division are given below. However, their areas of responsibility span across BIMSTEC, SAARC and other regional organizations.