About Us

SAARC Arbitration Council, Islamabad (SARCO) is one of the Specialized Bodies of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC), comprising the Member States, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, People's Republic of Bangladesh, The Kingdom of Bhutan, Republic of India, Republic of Maldives, Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

It is an inter-governmental body mandated to provide a legal framework/forum within the region for fair and efficient settlement of commercial, industrial, trade, banking, investment and such other disputes, as may be referred to it by the member states and their people.

With these objectives in mind, SARCO aims to establish a quality alternative dispute resolution forum, that would act on behalf of governments and the people of SAARC Member States, having professionals, retired judges and eminent lawyers from Member States on its Panel of Arbitrators and conciliators for the out-of court resolution of disputes, arising from commercial agreements, usually by including SARCO model clause for the arbitration of future disputes in their contracts in domestic and international commercial trade, investment, transactions and in similar other international relationships.

SARCO enables the parties to a dispute from different legal and cultural backgrounds to resolve their disputes, without the formalities of going through a judicial process. The South Asian States met in Dhaka Bangladesh in 1985, and decided to establish South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in order to foster closer relationship among the member nations and also to assist each others in their development strategies. Having studied the importance of alternate dispute resolution mechanisms available in the world, in 2004 the Council of Ministers, at its 243 session held in Islamabad Pakistan decided to establish Conciliation and Arbitration mechanism for the region under the auspices of SAARC. Hence in 2005 the agreement for establishment of SAARC Arbitration Council was signed at the summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh.


To be the most sought Arbitration Forum in the region, by becoming a centre of excellence for Alternate Dispute Resolution.


To provide fair, inexpensive, expeditious and high quality arbitral and conciliatory services to resolve trade, commercial, investment and disputes of similar nature in order to facilitate the expansion of business activities in the region.

OBJECTIVES and FUNCTIONS of the Council are to:

-Provide a legal framework within the region for fair and efficient settlement through conciliation and arbitration of commercial, investment and such other disputes as may be referred to the Council by agreement;
-Promote the growth and effective functioning of national arbitration institutions within the region;
-Provide fair, inexpensive and expeditious arbitration in the region;
-Promote international conciliation and arbitration in the region;
-Provide facilities for conciliation and arbitration;
-Act as a coordinating agency in the SAARC dispute resolution system;
-Coordinate the activities of and assist existing institutions concerned with arbitration, particularly those in the region;
-Render assistance in the conduct of ad hoc arbitration proceedings;
-Assist in the enforcement of arbitral awards;
-Carry out such other activities as are conducive or incidental to its functions.