South Asia is home to above 1.65 billion people that comprise about 24% of world’s 6.99 billion populations. South Asia region has a wide diversity of cultures, languages, religions and social structures, which are severely affected by poverty. Despite several decades of planned development efforts targeted towards poverty reduction, almost all countries of South Asia have been experiencing poverty, exclusion and denial since long. Even the conventional poverty estimates show that, compared to almost one quarter of world population living in South Asia, half of the poor reside in this region. Out of eight countries, four (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal) are in the category of least developed countries (LDCs) in South Asia. Conflicts in different forms and manifestations —mainly rooted in denial, discrimination, exclusion, deprivation and marginalisation— are frequently faced by South Asian societies. The region has also been characterised by the unjust distribution of productive resources, resulting in deep rooted inequality, conflict, destitution and systematic marginalisation. This unequal distribution of resources is encountered by various communities within the region.

Against the backdrop of rising poverty and escalating human rights abuses, various civil society actors from across the region, together with representatives of civil society organisations from Europe convened a consultation in 2000 AD in Manesar, India to discuss the problems facing the region and to come up with possible solutions. About 200 participants, comprising journalists, academics, trade unionists, human rights activists, NGOs and other civil society actors agreed to form an alliance to fight against poverty and injustice in South Asia. This led to the creation of the SAAPE. It was formalised later at the South Asia Civil Society Network meeting on poverty eradication in Kathmandu in December 2001.

Where we work?

From 2012, SAAPE members are focusing on food sovereignty, gender justice and demilitarization, democratisation and social justice issues in South Asia.

Vision, Mission & Strategies


SAAPE’s mission is to intervene on the issues of poverty and exclusion for pro-poor people of South Asia.


SAAPE envisions just societies that enjoy all human rights and freedoms, giving dignity to individuals.


SAAPE brings together existing like-minded networks to strengthen and build on their work.

SAAPE’s two pronged Approach

  1. Develop research to support advocacy and lobbying activities aimed at regional and national level decision-makers of the South highlighting the concerns and perspectives of marginalized groups and advocate pro-poor policies. And consolidate their struggles and experiences to influence the international players, particularly of the North.
  2. Build capacity and understanding amongst members’ constituencies to empower them to participate in development processes on their own term and implement their own solutions.

SAAPE brings together existing like-minded networks to strengthen and build on their work; to make explicit the links between different issues that impact on poverty; and to link and bring a regional understanding to national level campaigns. 

SAAPE Common Minimum Principles (CMPs)

All Members of SAAPE

  • Share the same general principles of strengthening secular and democratic processes in civil society; simultaneously fighting against communal and ethnic politics, which mobilise people according to religious and ethnic divisions for political power.
  • Believe in strengthening gender equality and women’s empowerment, and oppose all forms of exploitation of women and children.
  • Believe in and pursue with practice, community driven development and people’s empowerment on the basis of poverty eradication, equality, social justice and economic progress.
  • Work towards ensuring poor people’s access to all basic services, i.e. education, health, food, water and sanitation, and work to take down all barriers to access.
  • Fight against all forms of discriminations including caste, ethnicity, gender, religion, culture, origin, etc.
  • Ameliorate erosion of civil and political rights and weakening of the democratic order.
  • Work for a North – South alliance based on building and consolidating sub-regional and third world based alliances.
  • Oppose war, militarisation and nuclearisation of societies and nation states.
  • Oppose involuntary displace­ment in any pretexts.
  • Fight for lifting all travel restrictions within the region.
  • Promote peaceful transition process to a new socio-economic order and denounce violence in principle.

The membership of SAAPE is open to all the organisations and individuals that subscribe the above CMPs.