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A Brief History


									            Content                                           ECO Bulletin
 - ECO A Brief History
                                      Tehran November, 2001-12-12
 - Congratulatory Messages
   on the ECO Day:
  H.E. Ambassador Islamic
   State of Afghanistan
                                      Special Issue
  H.E. Minister of Foreign           The Secretariat of Economic Cooperation Organization
   Affairs of Republic of
  H.E. Ambassador of the
   Republic of Azerbaijan
                                      ECO - A Brief History The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO)
  H.E. Minister of Foreign                          was established in 1985 as a trilateral organization of Iran,
   Affairs of Republic of                            Pakistan and Turkey to promote multi dimensional
  H.E. Minister of Foreign
                                                     regional cooperation with a view to create conditions for
   Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic                    sustained socio-economic growth in the Member States
  H.E. Minister of Foreign                          (MSs). Aims and objectives of ECO are identical to those
   Affairs of the Islamic Republic
   of Pakistan                        of its forerunner, the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD),
  H.E. Ambassador of the             which remained in existence from 1964 to 1979. The Treaty of Izmir
   Islamic Republic of Pakistan       signed in 1977, which provided the legal framework for RCD, was
  H.E. Minister of Foreign
   Affairs, Republic of Tajikistan    adopted as the basic Charter of ECO with modifications to provide a
  H.E. Minister of Foreign           proper legal basis to ECO's for transition from RCD. The Ministerial
   Affairs of the Republic of         Meeting held in Islamabad in June 1990 ratified new charter “Treaty of
  H.E. Minister of Foreign           Izmir ECO”, which was fully launched in early 1991.The break-up of
   Affairs of Turkmenistan            former Soviet Union led with to independence of Republics of Central
  H.E. Ambassador of                 Asia and Caucasus, as a manifestation of their urge to revive their
  H.E. the Secretary General of      historic affinities with the peoples of Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, six of
   ECO                                these Republics; namely Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
 - Articles                           Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan along with Afghanistan sought
  ECO Accomplishments
  ECO Revisited                      the membership of ECO and were admitted into the organization. The
  Dialog among Civilizations,        participation of these new Members in the activities of the Organization
   “Its relevance to past, present    were commenced after their formal accession to the Treaty of Izmir at
   & future.”
 - Editor’s Note
                                      an Extraordinary Meeting of ECO Council of Ministers held in
                                      Islamabad on 28th May, 1992. ECO gained a new dimension in with its
                                      expansion from a three to ten-Members‟ Organization. Today ECO, is
                                      not only the focus of world attention in terms of its geo-political
                                      significance and vast combined economic potential but also symbolizes
Islamic State of     Republic of      the collective aspirations of 350 million people for a future of progress
  Afghanistan        Azerbaijan       and prosperity.

                     Republic of
Republic of Iran

    Kyrgyz         Islamic Republic
   Republic           of Pakistan

  Republic of         Republic of
   Tajikistan          Turkey

 Turkmenistan         Republic of
      Congratulatory messages                          Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of
addressed to H.E. Dr. Abdolrahim Gavahi,               Azerbaijan
Secretary General of ECO, on the occasion
of ECO Day                                                I have the honour to extend to You our
                                                       sincere congratulations on the occasion of
                                                       ECO Day, November 28.
H.E. Mr. Sayed Mohammad Khairkhah,
Ambassador Islamic State of Afghanistan                   Given to its natural resources, geographical
                                                       location, cultural bonds and traditions, the
    The Islamic State of Afghanistan expresses         ECO region has all the essential elements to
its congratulation to all Member States on the         become the region of economic prosperity and
occasion of ECO Day on 28th of November, at            stability.
the time when this country is placed on the
second stage of its historical victory for               Therefore, consolidation of all efforts to this
repelling     of   outside   interference   and        end is of primary importance.
occupation as well as expulsion of mercenary
and terrorist agents. Our nation has passed               We feel confident that co-operation within
this examination successfully once more again          the ECO will not only promote the
by its rare resistance. It is appropriate to           development of the economies of member
felicitate this victory to the countries in our        states as well as their integration into the
region, the world and specially the Economic           global economy but also ensures the peace
Cooperation Organization (ECO).                        and stability in the ECO region and on the
                                                       world as a whole.
   The efforts of the Islamic State of
Afghanistan have now produced a result by                 Please accept, Excellency, the assurances
favour and grace of God and cooperation of             of my highest consideration.
our noble nation, friendly countries and global
community for fighting against corrupt agents                                  H.E. Dr. Vilayat Guliyev
of Taleban, international terrorists and                                     Minister of Foreign Affairs
smugglers of narcotic drugs who had made a                                      Republic of Azerbaijan
nest in the ECO region since long time ago
and caused turbulence and insecurity in this           H.E. Mr. Abbassali Hassanov, Ambassador
region. Now, we continue these efforts for             of the Republic of Azerbaijan
construction of civil entities which will surely
benefit the ECO Member States.                         Today we celebrate the ECO Day. On behalf
                                                       of the delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan
   The proposal of the Islamic State of                let me congratulate all Member States of our
Afghanistan for strengthening its stability with       Organization.
development of democratic foundations and
contribution of all groups residing in this               You and I are privileged to live and work in
country has been brought to the attention of           a period of breathtaking change and
the global community and our effort is                 excitement. Great new projects are being
continuing in this direction accordingly.              planned and implemented all around us.
    Now by taking advantage of this                       The changes set in motion over the last
opportunity, we honour the ECO Day and we              years have begun to make a real impact on the
would like to once again sincerely extend our          world market and have opened up a whole
profound congratulation. We request all ECO            range of exciting new opportunities for
Member States to help us for achieving our             everyone involved in global economy.
proposed constructive objectives and to
contribute in reconstruction of the economic              ECO through the joint efforts and
infrastructure of Afghanistan which has been           commitments of the member states constitutes
destroyed and ruined during two decades of             today a well-functioning model of constructive
war.                                                   economic co-operation among the countries of
                                 Best regards.         a wide region with huge economic, social and
                                                       cultural potential waiting to be mobilized for the
                                                       benefit of our nations.

    In the new millennium, globalization has           Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz
moved the world closer to conduct                      Republic
interdependent relationships and creating a
unified world market. In this juncture,                   It is my pleasure to extend to Your
Azerbaijan remains committed to the goals              Excellency my cordial felicitations and best
enshrined in the founding agreements of ECO            wishes on the auspicious occasion of ECO
to forge broader and multi-dimensional co-             Day, marking the 9th anniversary of historic
operation in the regional context with a view to       transformation of a trilateral entity into a
contributing to lasting peace, stability and           regional organization of ten Member States.
prosperity in our region and beyond. For his
part, Azerbaijan is eager to contribute to the            ECO represents an important geo-political
promotion of ECO as a respected and valued             region of rich resources and ancient culture
regional organization, and it is ready and             and traditions. ECO has a great capacity to
willing to strengthen its co-operation with the        contribute towards progress and well-being of
member countries to the extent possible.               more than 340 million people through
                                                       stimulation of regional co-operation in the field
   In this regard I would like to take this            of trade, transport and communications,
opportunity to salute all Member Countries for         energy, tourism and other areas of mutual
the contribution they have made to the                 interest. We also believe that ECO will serve
development of economies of the Member                 not only for the development of the Member
States.                                                States‟ national economies and their
                                                       integration to the world economy but also to
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of             strengthening peace and stability in our region.
                                                          On the threshold of its decennary, ECO has
   Please accept my sincere congratulations            made considerable achievements, however,
on the occasion of the Economic Co-operation           there is still greater need to give effect to all
Organization Day.                                      ECO Summits and Council of Ministers
                                                       meetings‟ decisions, to expedite ratification of
   Our Organization aimed at resolving                 ECO crucial agreements and to timely
regional economic issues strives to bring              implement       mutually   beneficial   regional
elements of stability and durability into the          projects. I am pleased to note that since the
development of all the Organization‟s Member           last 6th Summit in Tehran positive steps have
States and facilities creation of the atmosphere       been taken towards activation of ECO
of understanding and confidence in the region,         activities and further extension of ECO co-
its harmonious integration into the world              operation with other regional and international
economy.                                               organizations.

    The Republic of Kazakhstan confirms its               Your mission to Bishkek on 15-17 January
adherence to the principles of integration and         2001 has further strengthened the relationship
makes every effort to obtain the Organization‟s        between ECO and Kyrgyzstan and I would like
purposes – facilitation of prosperity and              to assure You that the Kyrgyz Republic, being
progress of our peoples through development            committed to the regional integration and multi-
of regional co-operation.                              dimensional co-operation on the basis of equal
                                                       partnership, will further make its utmost effort
  Availing of this opportunity, allow me to wish       towards the realization of the objectives of
You good health and every success in Your              Organization for the prosperity and progress of
noble activity.                                        our peoples.

  Please accept, Your Excellency,           the           Please accept, Excellency, the assurances
assurances of my highest consideration.                of my highest consideration.

                        H.E. Mr. Erlan Idrissov                          H.E. Mr. Muratbek Imanaliev
                     Minister of Foreign Affairs                      Minister of Foreign Affairs of the
                      Republic of Kazakhstan                                          Kyrgyz Republic

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic                  Regional Economic Co-operation has
Republic of Pakistan                                    become an inescapable economic necessity
                                                        specially for middle level countries in the face
    On the auspicious occasion of ECO Day,              of the intense competition unleashed by the
the government and the people of Pakistan               process of globalization and rules of the World
join the governments and peoples of other               Trade Organization. Such regional economic
ECO Member Countries in renewing their                  co-operation enables the member States
commitment to the goals and objectives of the           through free trade and mutual collaboration in
ECO.     This     day marks    the    historic          various other fields to accelerate their
transformation of ECO from a trilateral entity          economic growth and compete successfully at
into a regional organization of 10 member               the international level through better allocation
states bound together by common history,                of resources, economies of large scale
culture and faith.                                      production and a more effective representation
                                                        in international economic fora. The Economic
   ECO represents a vast region of great geo-           Co-operation Organization, therefore, offers a
political importance, with large material and           valuable opportunity to its member States to
human resources. It has tremendous potential            develop mutually beneficial economic co-
to contribute to the socio-economic well being          operation based on cultural and historical
of its peoples. The possibilities before us of          affinities.
achieving the collective well being of our
peoples are immense. Hopefully, with clearly               Pakistan is deeply committed to the ideals
identified goals and objectives we shall now            and objectives of the Economic Co-operation
move at an accelerated pace to turn our plans           Organization and is fully determined to work
into reality. We note with satisfaction that            for their realization in co-operation with other
considerable interest has been aroused about            member States. In so doing, the Member
our     organization    in  the    international        States must pay due attention to co-operation
community. This is reflected in the                     in the priority areas of trade, transport and
establishment of relationships with the various         communication, and energy. In particular, we
international institutions and their offer to           should aim at achieving the objective of an
support ECO in its endeavours.                          ECO Free Trade Area as soon as possible.
                                                           I have no doubt that the commemoration of
   Pakistan      reiterates its  unwavering             the ECO Day would serve to strengthen the
commitment to work together with its partners           resolve of the governments and peoples of the
towards achieving the cherished goal of a               ECO Region to speed up the process of
bright future for ECO Member States, one that           regional economic co-operation so that ECO
promises peace, progress and prosperity for its         may emerge as a dynamic organization
peoples.                                                dedicated to the important task of promoting
                                                        the economic growth and prosperity of its
                          H.E. Mr. Abdul Sattar         Member States.
                      Minister of Foreign Affairs
                   Islamic Republic of Pakistan
                                                        Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of
H.E. Mr. Javid Husain, Ambassador of the                Tajikistan
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
                                                           As a Chairman of the Council of Ministers of
    It gives me great pleasure to convey my             the Economic Co-operation Organization
heartiest felicitations to the governments and          (ECO) and on behalf of the Government of the
peoples of the ECO Region on this historic day          Republic of Tajikistan and on my own, let me
which commemorates the transformation of the            cordially congratulate You on the occasion of
Economic Co-operation Organization from a               the ECO Day.
trilateral body into a regional economic
organization of 10 member States linked                    There is no doubt that our joint efforts has
together by indissoluble bonds of common                made the ECO become the instructive model
history, culture and faith as well as shared            of the economic co-operation among the ECO
aspirations for progress and prosperity on the          Member States.
basis of a wide ranging program of regional
economic co-operation.

   Let me assure You that Tajikistan is still           relations among countries of the region as the
adhere to the objectives and principles                 authoritative international organization.
enshrined in basic documents of the Economic
Co-operation Organization,        targeted at                 Availing myself of this opportunity wish
broader multilateral collaboration among our            You good health, prosperity and great
countries aimed at providing stable economic            successes in Your responsible activities.
development and prosperity of the region.
                                                              Please    accept,    Excellency,         the
   On this great occasion I would like to wish          assurances of my highest consideration.
Your Excellency strong health and happiness
as well as every success in Your difficult job,                                H.E. Mr. Rashid Meredov
entrusted on you.                                                              Minister of Foreign Affairs
                                                                                         of Turkmenistan
                       H.E. Mr. Talbak Nazarov
                      Minister of Foreign Affairs
                          Republic of Tajikistan        H.E. Mr. Murad Nazarov, Ambassador of
H.E. Mr. Ismail Cem, Minister of Foreign
Affairs of the Republic of Turkey                          Allow me to congratulate you and all
                                                        Member States of the Economic Co-operation
  I have the pleasure to convey to Your                 Organization, as well as ECO Secretariat staff
Excellency my sincere congratulations on this           on this significant holiday – ECO Day.
happy occasion of the Economic Co-operation
                                                            Both for Turkmenistan and other Member
Organization (ECO) Day.
                                                        States with transitional economies, the
   ECO, through the joint efforts and                   integration in the world economic system is
commitments of its member states constitutes            one of the paramount foreign policy priorities.
a well functioning model of constructive                Along with search for development of the
economic co-operation among the friendly                effective forms of equal and mutually beneficial
countries of a wide region with huge economic,          economic relations with all countries on a
social and cultural potential. This potential           bilateral base, Turkmenistan is paying due
must be mobilized for the benefit of our                attention to the Economic Co-operation
nations.                                                Organization in terms of multilateral co-
                                                        operation. Today, when the history gave to our
   The Republic of Turkey remains committed             peoples an opportunity to renovate the links
to the goals enshrined in the founding                  which has been lost and to form conception of
Agreements of ECO with a view to contributing           a regional partnership in the XXI century, ECO
to lasting peace, stability and prosperity in our       should try to stabilize the situation in the region
region. In order to achieve these noble goals,          using only economic facilities and active
Turkey is ready and willing to further                  economic interaction. ECO has necessary
strengthen its co-operation with the member             potential not only to take adequate part in
states to the extent possible.                          global economic process, but also to contribute
                                                        to it.
   Please accept, Excellency, the assurances
of my highest consideration.                               Logic of co-operation of ECO Member
                                                        States in reviving a region and flourish its
                                                        peoples fully coincides with basic principles of
Message of Minister of Foreign Affairs of
                                                        long term strategy of Turkmenistan. We in
                                                        Turkmenistan believe that regional co-
                                                        operation is a worthy reply for the new
   I would like to convey to You and all staff of
                                                        challenges of time proceeding from global
the Secretariat my sincere congratulations on
                                                        economic tendencies. Such a co-operation
the occasion of ECO Day.
                                                        creates favorable conditions for further
                                                        strengthening of ECO‟s role, as a regional
   I am confident that Economic Co-operation
                                                        economic       organization,    comprehensive
Organization will further take an important part
                                                        realization of economic potential of the
in developing economic, trade and cultural
                                                        Member States, and leading the organization
                                                        to a new horizon of the regional co-operation.

The regional co-operation is acquiring a               trade, energy, agriculture, industry health and
special importance from the point of stable            drug control.
social development, progress and well-being of
people. Historically and traditionally our                 Let me name a few activities among others,
countries were combined rather with constant           realized and achieved during the year. Our
economic communication than commonality of             endeavours to launch both passenger and
cultures and religious, and Silk Road was a            container train on the Almaty-Tashkent-
main artery of this. That is why, the                  Ashgabat-Tehran-Istanbul route are coming to
establishment of the Economic Co-operation             fruition: the Tehran-Istanbul part of it was
Organization (ECO) became a logical                    launched in last March.
continuation of the historical path and
economic progress of our region.                           As part of ECO/ITC project on “Expanding
                                                       Intra-ECO Trade”, around 90 companies
   The countries of the region are taking              among member states gathered in Istanbul on
decisive steps towards supporting each other           October 17-18, 2001 in order to make
and combining efforts towards economic                 transactions on textiles and clothing.
prosperity. Each of the Member States joined
this regional organization consciously, have             Our follow-up for the early establishment of
already reached a certain economic and                 ECO Trade and Development Bank is coming
political success in state construction. For the       to blossom, with the ratification of the
last 9 years ECO Member States have been               Agreement by Iranian authorities.
able to reveal areas of mutual interest, to
define forms and methods of further interaction           ECO has been able to sign a grant
and reflect them in the relevant ECO                   agreement with Islamic Development Bank to
documents, which created a strong ground to            the tune of US$ 400.000, for carrying out the
successfully enter the organization to the 21          “Feasibility Study on Interconnection of Power
century as a vital international organization.         Systems of ECO Member States”, a project
                                                       which is at the verge of implementation.
   At the end, let me once again congratulate
You esteemed Secretary General, all ECO
                                                          Moreover, we continued to further our
Member States on the occasion of ECO Day,
                                                       relations with United Nations Drug Control
and wish health, happiness, well-being, new
                                                       Programme, through launching the 2nd phase
success in creation of conditions for economic
                                                       of Drug Control Coordination Project in ECO
development of the Member States, successful
integration of the Member States‟ into world
economic system, stirring up of the regional
                                                          On the whole, the Organization has made
co-operation in all spheres of economy,
                                                       important       gains    by    advancing    ECO
science and culture.
                                                       programmes agreed upon by its member
                                                       states, as well as increasing cooperation with
                                                       the relevant international organs. It is in this
                                                       spirit, that I have felt most honoured to serve it
 Congratulatory Message on eve of the                  as its Chief Executive during the past year.
   ECO Day from H.E. the Secretary
           General of ECO                                I call upon all relevant bodies, institutions,
                                                       and people of our region to rally behind the
    On the happy occasion of the Economic              cherished goals of ECO and rise above the
Cooperation Organization (ECO) Day, I would            challenges of our time.
like to celebrate the 16th Anniversary of ECO.
                                                          Lastly, I wish continued success in working
                                                       towards greater achievements for the
    In the year 2001, ECO continued to
advance the interests of its member countries
in various areas of cooperation among
                                                               Ambassador Dr. Abdolrahim Gavahi
themselves as well as with international
                                                                         Secretary General, ECO
organizations. The Organization remained
                                                                             November 28, 2001.
committed to promote economic development
of the region, as shown by its activities in the
fields of transportation and telecommunication,

              Executive Heads
                 1988-2003                               Sectoral Developments

  The Secretariat of the ECO is headed by the            1. TRANSPORT & COMMUNICATION
Secretary General, who being the Executive
head, provides leader-ship to the Organization.          1.1 TRANSPORT
The post of ECO Secretary General is for a               Development of a reliable and efficient
non-renewable term of three years and the                transport as well as telecommunication
position is rotated among the Member States              networks in ECO region enjoys high priority.
based on the agreed rotation formula.                    First ECO Transport Ministers meeting held in
                                                         Almaty-Kazakhstan on 25-27 October, 1993
    H.E. Dr. Abdolrahim Gavahi from the                  adopted an outline Plan for the Development of
Islamic Republic of Iran is the current                  Transport Sector in the ECO region including
Secretary General, who has joined the position           the formation and development of Road and
on 13th August, 2000. His Predecessor H.E.               Railway networks, Air Services and Shipping &
Mr. Önder Özar, from the Republic of Turkey,             Port Facilities. Ashgabat declaration of 1997
remained the Secretary General from August,              also emphasized the needs of development of
1996 to 2000, followed by Mr. Shamshad                   Transport & Communications infrastructure
Ahmad, from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan             linking MSs with each other and the outside
from August 1992-1996 and H.E. Mr. Alireza               World. ECO Ministerial Meeting on Transport &
Salari, from the Islamic Republic of Iran from           Communications (Ashgabat 1998) approved a
August 1988-1992.                                        plan of action for ECO decade of Transport &
                                                         Communication (1998-2007), which is under
   The position requires deep sense of                   implementation.
realism, enlightened thinking and strategic
decision making to over come the challenges                 Measures have been taken for removal of
of the position. The confidences reposed by              physical, procedural and administrative
the ECO Members in their leadership, have                impediments to ensure free flowing roads, rails
been fulfilled and they have come-up to their            and air transport. Outlines of the Railway and
aspirations.                                             Road Network have been finalized and the
                                                         Maps indicating new routes were published.
     ECO ACCOMPLISHMENTS                                 ECO Transit Transport Framework agreement
                                                         (TTFA) laid down technical characteristics of
      ECO – A PATH TO PROSPERITY                         roads, railway lines, and vehicles to ensure
                                                         smooth flow of traffic on the international
A Brief Overview                                         routes. TTFA also contains the provisions on
Since its inception, ECO has come a long way in          customs control and mutual administrative
outlining and developing viable strategies to            assistance as well as monitoring, implementing
capitalize on the vast combined potential of its         and coordination on matters related to
Member States (MSs). Despite the structural              transportation of passengers, luggage and
and economic problems, ECO is gradually                  cargo.
moving towards its objectives. There is a clear
awareness among the leaders of ECO Members                   ECO Permanent Commission on Transport &
that the benefits of cooperation in the region can       Communication has been established to
only be attained by exploiting available                 undertake measures for the expeditious
opportunities and making efficient use of their          implementation & monitoring of the physical
resources for mutual benefits.                           infrastructure development in ECO region.
   In the Past 16 years, ECO has pursued its
                                                            Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is providing
goals in a steadfast and realistic manner. Six
                                                         technical assistance grant to undertake a study
Summits, 13 Foreign Ministers level meetings;
                                                         for introduction of Multi-Modal transport
three Ministerial meetings on Transport and one
                                                         operations in ECO region.
each on Trade, Health and Energy have been
held. The decisions taken in these meetings are
                                                             ECO Railway Tariff Policy (ECORTP), has
being implemented in letter and spirit.
                                                         been formulated and submitted for the
   The following is in brief description of the          consideration of ECO MSs. Under this policy,
progress made in the ECO priority areas:                 flexible tariff and international freight charges

have been proposed for economical and                       the field of telecommunications and postal
efficient organization of railway transportation.           services.
   Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has                       Hopefully, with the implementation of these
been signed recently in Baku on the opening                 projects, ECO region would be inter-connected
of international passenger traffic on Almaty –              by roads, railways, airlines and modern
Tashkent-Tehran-Istanbul route of the Trans-                telecommunication systems by the year 2007.
Asian Railway main line.                                    Plans are already underway to provide the
                                                            landlocked MSs of the region an easy access to
   A demonstration container train along the                sea through Iran to the Persian Gulf, through
Trans-Asian Railway main-line from South-East               Pakistan to the Indian Ocean and through
Asian sea ports to West-European countries via              Turkey to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean
China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan,                  Sea.
Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey will be launched
in near future. Initially frequency of the train will       2. TRADE & INVESTMENT
be once every two weeks.
                                                               Trade being an effective instrument for
    Other initiative includes, study on Rolling             promoting regional integration continued to
Stocks with possibilities of regional cooperation           remain high on ECO's agenda. It has assumed
in maintenance and rebuilding the locomotives,              even greater importance in the wake of the
passenger carriages, freight wagons and other               newly emerging challenges of globalization.
railway equipment. The establishment of Data                Being cognizant of these developments, ECO
bank on ECO Road network specifying the                     has devised a collective response to these
existing & planned routes, Road infrastructure,             challenges envisaging a phased strategy
along with a detail directory of ECO road                   consisting of a gamut of trade promotion and
network for the help of Road drivers is under               trade facilitation activities. A brief account of
preparation. Measures for border crossing                   these activities is given below:
facilitation and promotion of international
transport are also under implementation.                        With the stated objective of providing an
                                                            enabling environment for a steady expansion of
   An ECO Framework Agreement on                            intra-regional trade on an overall reciprocal and
cooperation in the field of Air Transport s also in         mutually advantageous basis, a preferential
the development stage which will enhance the                tariffs regime was put in place through a
effectiveness of Air Services in the ECO region.            Protocol signed between the founding members
                                                            of ECO in 1991.This initiative, however, did not
1.2 TELECOMMUNICATION                                       meet with a lot of success owing to it‟s limited
The Telecommunication heads of ECO                          scope and rapidly changing regional as well as
countries   meets      regularly and     major              international trading milieu.
development has been taken place in this field.
The joining of Pakistan & Afghanistan with the                 In 1997 a High Level Experts Group (HLEG)
Trans-Asian European Fiber Optic System                     was established to review Tariff and Non-Tariff
(TAEFOS) is under study, which will improve                 Barriers (NTBs) and to re-appraise ECO PTA
telecommunication services and provide high                 and to find a new mechanism for enhancement
bandwidth for data transfer.                                of intra-regional trade in the post Uruguay
                                                            Round era. It drafted the ECO Framework
    Cooperation among ECO research centers                  Agreement on Trade Cooperation (ECOFAT)
on joint research and common activities in the              which laid down the principles of intra-regional
field of telecommunication is being planned.                trade cooperation and envisaged a gradual
Database       will   be    developed       on              reduction of tariff barriers and elimination of
telecommunication equipment manufactured in                 NTBs through an ECO Trade Agreement
ECO countries.                                              (ECOTA). The ECOFAT was later on signed by
                                                            eight member states during the 1st Ministerial
   Cooperation in Postal Services with the                  Meeting on Commerce / Foreign Trade held in
South & West Asian Postal Union (SWAPU) and                 March 2000.
among ECO MSs is being pursued. It is planned
to publish a booklet on the existing education                 A joint ECO/International Trade Center (ITC)
and training facilities available in ECO region in          Project on “Expanding Intra-Regional Trade” is

currently under implementation. The primary               3. ENERGY, MINERALS & ENVIRONMENT
aim of this project is to identify the untapped
trade potential of the region and to put in place         3.1 ENERGY
mechanisms to exploit that potential. The project             ECO region is blessed with the enormous
is divided into 4 main phases, namely; Trade              Energy resources, Ashgabat declaration of 14
Flow Analysis and Product Selection Workshop              May 1997, has emphasized for the
followed by a series of Demand/Supply Surveys             development of energy resources. Steps are
and Buyers/Sellers Meetings on selected                   being taken to forge regional cooperation by
product groups. At the end of each cycle a                planning a network of gas and oil pipelines and
Business Forum would be held in order to take             interconnection of power grids within the region.
stock of the achievements made.                           The     first   ECO       Ministerial    Meeting
                                                          Energy/Petroleum, preceded by the Senior
    ECO Transit Trade Agreement (TTA) which               Energy/Petroleum Officials, was held in
was signed in 1995 & entered into force in                Islamabad on 8 November 2000. The meeting
1998 is another land mark in the brief history            adopted the Joint Statement on Cooperation in
of the Organization. The said agreement aims              Energy/Petroleum in ECO region and
at facilitating transit movement of goods across          approved      a     Plan     of     Action    for
national frontiers of the member states. A                Energy/Petroleum Co-operation for year 2001-
Transit Trade Committee has also been                     2005. The meeting identified transportation
established to monitor the progress on                    and trade of energy, environmental issues,
implementation of the Agreement Regular                   energy efficiency and investment for energy,
meetings of the TTC are held every year to                as the main fields for co-operation.
review        the    Agreement      and    make
recommendations for its early implementation.                A feasibility study for Interconnection and
                                                          Parallel Functioning of the Power Systems of
   Endeavors are also being made in the area              the ECO Countries will be carried out with the
of Customs Cooperation to foster cooperation              Technical Assistance Grant of IDB.
among        ECO     Customs     Administrations
particularly on issues relating to prevention of             Large oil and gas reserves in the ECO
smuggling & customs frauds; transit issues,               region have fascinated major international oil
simplification of customs & transit procedures,           and gas companies. ECO MSs should make
etc. The Council of Heads of Customs                      policies to reap the benefit of this enormous
Administration (CHCA) was established in                  natural resource by benefiting from foreign
1999 to act as a policy making body which has             investment and transfer of technology. ECO is
greatly contributed towards implementation of             intended to cooperate with the Energy Charter
TTA. An MOU on Cooperation Against                        Secretariat (ECS) to benefit from their
Smuggling and Customs Frauds was also                     experience in the field of Energy.
signed in 1998. Several training Workshops for
customs officials of ECO MSs are also being               3.2 MINERALS
regularly held in Iran and Turkey.                           ECO region is rich in mineral resources and
                                                          cooperation in exploitation of these resources
    A dedicated website/portal for dissemination          is needed. The first “ECO Mineral Experts
of trade and investment related information and           Meeting” to “enhancement of regional co-
to identify business opportunities in the region is       operation in mineral sector” and drafting a
under development.                                        “Plan of Action” for co-operation among the
                                                          ECO countries, was held on 29-31 October
   A regional plan of action aimed at improving           2001 in the Islamic Republic of Iran with the
the investment climate in the ECO region is               promising outcomes.
being prepared based on the analysis and
review of investment policies of the MSs. An              3.3 ENVIRONMENT
HLEG will review/examine the issues involved                 The Almaty and Tehran Declarations have
and recommend ways and means for promoting                emphasized the importance of regional co-
investment and industrial development in the              operation in the field of Environment. Keeping
region. Existing bilateral and multilateral               in view the growing concerns on environmental
agreements among ECO MSs will also be                     issues and their increasing impact, it is felt that
considered in formulation of a regional                   the concerned national agencies of the ECO
agreement.                                                MSs are keen to take collective measures for

the protection of their environment. A list of           management (IPM), and control of trans-
important environmental issues will be prepared          boundary animal diseases, etc.
and ways and means will be explored for
resolving these issues in collaboration with                 The    ECO      secretariat     is    currently
relevant international bodies.                           endeavoring to streamline the activities in the
                                                         field of agriculture in order to have more
    A Plan of Action on Environment for ECO              effective regional cooperation. In parallel to
region was proposed by a Workshop on Urban               this aim the Secretariat with the technical
Air Pollution. The first experts‟ meeting on the         assistance of FAO and financial support of IDB
ECO Energy Resources Development and                     has initiated a joint identification mission in
their Environmental Impact Assessment was                year 2000 to selected ECO MSs to assess the
held in Islamabad. The meeting discussed the             possibility of preparing a regional project
issue in detail and proposed a guideline on              document       for    donors‟     considerations.
environmental impact assessment (EIA) for                Moreover, a project on Regional Cooperation
ECO       region.     Environment     Protection         for Food Security, jointly with UNDP, is being
Organization (EPO) of the Islamic Republic of            implemented under the Capacity building
Iran has initiated preliminary studies on                Project of the ECO Secretariat. The main
"Energy and Environment" and also expressed              objective of this project is to identify the major
its readiness for exchange of experiences with           issues for agricultural cooperation among ECO
experts of other ECO MSs on air                          Member States and ways and means for
pollution/prevention/control matters. The ECO            collaboration to ensure food security across
Secretariat is also pursuing to establish closer         the ECO region, including national capacity
co-operation among ECO members and with                  building among the ECO countries.
other regional and international institutions on
environmental issues. A training workshop                4.2 INDUSTRY
was also held in Tehran on October 7-9, 2001                There is a need for serious and timely
on “Energy Resources Development and their               efforts on the part of ECO MSs to restructure
Environmental Impact Assessment”.                        their industrial policies and make attractive
                                                         policies so that they can also benefit from the
                                                         foreign investment.
                                                            Keeping in view the role of the public sector
4.1 AGRICULTURE                                          in economies of MSs, the Council of Ministers
   ECO countries are blessed with abundance              mandated ECO to ensure substantial
of agricultural resources and varieties of soil,         involvement of the private sector in the further
climate and environmental conditions which               development of industry.          Hence, ECO
offer a great potential for development of               cooperation in the field of industry has focused
Agriculture sector. Agriculture is very vital for        on the private sector development, particularly
sustainable economic development of the                  on privatization and development of small and
ECO MSs. The Quetta Plan of Action and the               medium sized enterprises.
Istanbul Declaration give due priority to
agriculture and emphasize preparation of                    In this context, a Workshop on the
comprehensive studies for new applications,              Development       of   Small     and   Medium
improvement of technologies and adopting                 Enterprises was held in Ankara, Turkey, in
new methods for maximization of agricultural             November 1998, in which the ECO MSs
output in ECO region.                                    agreed on the need for enhancing institutional
                                                         support to the development of SME's. On the
   Pursuant to the recommendations of the                other hand, the Secretariat is currently
ECO Council of Ministers (COM), the ECO                  endeavoring to organize a workshop on
Secretariat is pursuing several activities in            Privatization in year 2002 in order to promote
area of development of agricultural data bank,           the role of privatization in the industrial
development of linkages among the research               development policies and transition process,
and      training   institutions,   combatting           to raise awareness on the prospects for further
desertification and cooperation in the forestry          privatization and to assess the impact of
sector, development of dwarf fruit trees, and            privatization on public finance and national
sugar beet seeds development, prevention of              economies. IDB has already agreed to provide
post harvest crop losses, integrated pest                financial assistance for this event.

4.3 HEALTH                                             continuous drug control dialogue with MSs. All
   The need for cooperation among the                  ten ECO MSs have designated Focal Points
member states in the field of health was               for DCCU. The Phase II of the Project has
emphasized by the Health Ministerial Meeting           been jointly prepared by UNDCP and ECO
held in Tehran in January, 1994. This meeting          Secretariat and is expected to start in the year
outlined a broad framework for further                 2002.
deliberations by the relevant experts to
prepare viable proposals/plans/projects for            6. International Relations
sharing experiences and resources by the
ECO MSs to benefit from each other's                   Internationally, ECO has been successful in
experience.                                            forging close ties with regional as well as
                                                       international organizations to ensure that the
  Since then, ECO cooperation on health                due share in the emerging competitive world of
sector has based on the joint activities with          the 21st century. Substantial flow of Technical
UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO.                                 and Financial support from International
                                                       agencies is being received for various
    ECO/UNFPA and ECO/UNICEF/WHO have                  programs and projects. Indeed purposeful
jointly held eight events to formulate health          linkages between ECO and other Regional and
related policies for ECO region since 1994.            International Organizations are growing in a
Lastly, in 2000, a Conference on "Expanding            tangible manner.
Contraceptive Choice and Improving Quality of
Reproductive Health Program" was held jointly              Several programs of cooperation have also
by ECO/UNFPA in Istanbul, Turkey.                      been evolved in the fields of trade & investment,
                                                       transport & communications, human resource
   Recently, a new proposal to organize a              development energy, agriculture and industry.
Seminar on HIV/AIDS and Adolescent Health              To name a few, “Introduction of Multimodal
in one of ECO Member States has been                   Transport Operations in the ECO region” by
evolved with UNFPA. The Secretariat is                 ECO/IDB/UNCTAD/ESCAP;             “Interconnection
currently working to finalize necessary                and parallel functioning of Power Systems of
arrangements for the said event.                       ECO Member States” by ECO/IDB; “Exploring
                                                       Intra-ECO Trade” by International Trade
5. Drug Control                                        Center(ITC); and the “Capacity Building of the
    In February 1992, the COM constituted a            ECO Secretariat” by the UNDP, among others.
Technical Committee to prepare a plan of
action on Drug Control. Drug control was                  ECO enjoys observer status with the UN and
considered a major policy issue and a                  the     OIC;    institutionalized    cooperative
Resolution was adopted by the ECO COM in               relationships were established with ESCAP,
its special meeting held in Istanbul in July           UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, UNDCP, UNIDO,
1993.                                                  UNESCO and IDB. The MOUs have also been
    The 6th COM Meeting held in May 1996 in            signed with FAO, ICARDA, UNCTAD, UIC,
Ashgabat considered recommendations of the             OSZhD (Organization for Cooperation of
Technical Expert Groups and adopted an ECO             Railways), UNEP (United Nations Environment
Plan of Action on Drug Control, which calls for        Program),     SADC         (Southern     African
the establishment of a Drug Control                    Development Community) and ECT (Energy
Coordination Unit (DCCU) in the Secretariat            Charter Treaty) and with ITC (International
with the financial assistance of UNDCP.                Trade Centre) of UNCTAD/WTO.
Accordingly, the Project “Assistance in
Establishing a Drug Control Coordination               7. Inter-Regional Cooperation
Unit(DCCU) at the Secretariat of ECO” was                  In view of the growing trend towards greater
concluded with UNDCP in March 1998.                    inter-regional cooperation, ECO has also
Subsequently, the DCCU was established to              explored possibilities of mutually beneficial
serve as a channel of communication and to             cooperation with other major regional groupings.
monitoring the implementation of the ECO               In this connection, five regional organizations of
Plan of Action on Drug Control. The Project in         Asia and the Pacific, viz., ECO, ASEAN,
its first phase has promoted coordination of           SAARC and South Pacific Forum under the
drug control activities within the ECO region          aegis of ESCAP, have institutionalized
and enabled the ECO Secretariat to launch a            consultations among the Executive Heads of

these Organizations to pursue inter-regional               1995 during the Third ECO Summit Meeting in
cooperation in areas of common interest.                   Islamabad between Iran, Pakistan and Turkey.
                                                           The main objective for establishing this
       SUBSIDIARY INSTITUTIONS                             company is to supplement the existing
                                                           insurance services in the region, promote
8. Regional Institutions                                   growth of the national and underwriting and
                                                           retention capacities, minimize the outflow of
8.1 ECO Shipping Company                                   foreign exchange from the region, and support
   The agreement on the establishment of the               the economic development in the region.
ECO shipping company was signed on 15                      Headquarters of the Company should be
March 1995. The head office of the ECO                     based in Karachi-Pakistan. The Company can
shipping company is located in Tehran and it               also establish its liaison offices in other
has leased two multi-purpose ships and is                  countries in accordance with the decision of
successfully    running     its    overseas                the Board of Directors. Any insurance or
transportation.                                            reinsurance company or financial institution of
                                                           any other ECO country may become a
8.2 ECO Chamber of Commerce & Industry                     shareholder of the company subject to the
                                                           commencement of the operations and in
   The ECO Chamber of Commerce and                         compliance with the related articles. ECO
Industry was established to facilitate trade and           Trade & Development Bank & ECO
economic      cooperation,   promote       closer          Reinsurance Company will simultaneously
relations between the free enterprises and for             come into force in near future.
realization of joint investments in the ECO
MSs. Organizing joint fairs, exhibitions,                  8.5 ECO Consultancy & Engineering
meetings, conferences, seminars; and other                 Company
promotional activities with a view to further              A central resource pool of expertise has been
develop economic relations between ECO                     created in the shape of ECO Consultancy and
MSs were the main responsibilities of the                  Engineering Company, or ECO-CEC, to assist
institution. The ECO Chamber of Commerce                   in the development of projects sponsored by
and Industry, meets annually and provides a                ECO MSs. The founding Members of ECO,
valuable platform for the interaction and                  Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Republic of
dialogue amongst the business communities of               Pakistan and Republic of Turkey hold equal
the ECO region.                                            share in ECO-CEC, Turkey being represented
                                                           by two companies and Iran and Pakistan, by
                                                           one each.
8.3 ECO Trade & Development Bank
                                                               The Iranian and Turkish Companies
The Articles of Agreement were signed                      specialize mainly in oil and gas pipelines,
between Iran, Pakistan and Turkey during the               refineries,   petrochemical   and    industrial
Third ECO Summit Meeting in Islamabad on                   engineering, while the Pakistani partner
15 March 1995 and were revised on 4 March                  specializes in the fields of development
1997. The main objective for establishing the              engineering, including communications, power,
Bank is to initiate, promote and provide                   urban       development      public    health,
financial facilities to expand intra-regional trade        telecommunications,       water     resources
and accelerate economic development of ECO                 development and agriculture.
MSs. The headquarters of the Bank shall be
located in Istanbul with two branches to be                   Cooperation is under way for the
opened in Iran and Pakistan. After the                     preparation of feasibility & pre-feasibility
commencement of the Bank‟s operations,                     studies of the ECO Project and ECO-CEC is
branch offices can be opened in other MSs on               planning to hold a conference on the "Role of
mutually agreed basis. All three founding                  ECO in Development of MSs" to be held in
members have ratified the agreement and an                 Lahore-Pakistan by the end of year 2001.
interim Committee will be convened soon to
prepare ground for establishment of the Bank.              8.6 ECO College of Insurance
                                                           The ECO College of Insurance (CI) is affiliated
8.4 ECO Re-Insurance Company                               to Allameh Tabatabai University Tehran. It was
The MOU for the establishment of the ECO re-               established to enhance demand for insurance
Insurance Company was signed on 15 March,                  experts and to train manpower in the economic

and managerial aspects of the profession. The          educational institute shall have a President,
ECO CI started its program from the academic           Academic Council        and an Executive
year 1990-1991. It primarily accommodates              Committee. The Institute shall have its
students from the ECO MSs and extends its              headquarters in Ankara and have a focal point
services to other countries as well.                   in each MS to facilitate implementation of the
                                                       approved programs. The Charter of the ECO-
   Its educational program spreads over a              EI is awaited to be ratified by the contracting
period of four years leading to the Bachelor of        parties.
Science degree in Insurance Management. All
courses are taught and examined in English.            10. Conclusion
                                                           Progress of ECO has been remarkable, in
9.1 ECO Cultural Institute                             the sense that it has continued to consolidate
    The Charter of ECO Cultural Institute was          itself as a regional organization. In all fairness
signed during the Third ECO Summit Meeting in          the results have been mixed. Nevertheless,
Islamabad in March 1995.                               ECO has not wasted any opportunity to make
                                                       as much progress as possible towards the
   Recognizing the importance of ECO cultural          fulfillment of our goals. While our track record
heritage and its impact on enrichment and              in some priority areas such as transport and
development of cooperation in all aspects in           communications, trade and investment,
the region, the MSs of ECO decided to revive           research      and    publication    have      been
the former RCD Cultural Institute under the            impressive, however, progress, in other
name of ECO Cultural Institute with its                equally vital sectors e.g. energy, environment,
headquarters in Tehran. President heads the            agriculture, health and industry is far from
Institute and the management of the Institute's        satisfactory. There are no cogent reasons why
Affairs rests with the Executive Director.             we should not make progress in these areas
                                                       as well. What we today need is a little more
   The second meeting of the ECI‟s Board of            support from the MSs and re-assessment of
Trustees (BOT) held in Tehran on 25-26                 the work plans and projects to streamline our
January 2000 approved, in principle, the               priorities afresh.
contents of the 3-year Plan of Action on ECO
cultural    activities  which      is   under              The scale and extent of the activities of the
implementation.                                        Organization are being subjected to a realistic
                                                       appraisal. A guiding factor is the precise
9.2 ECO Science Foundation                             identification of the economic potential and an
   All ECO MSs have signed the Charter of the          honest accommodation of interests of all MSs
ECO Science Foundation during the third ECO            for the common benefit of the entire region. At
Summit held in Islamabad in March 1995. The            the operational level, no doubt, there is a lot to
Science Foundation shall serve for building up         be done, especially with a view to increasing the
a reservoir of highly skilled, scientific and          speed, efficiency and responsiveness of the
technical manpower and strengthening the               Organization to cope with the rapidly changing
scientific and research institutions in the ECO        situation in and around the region.
MSs. The Foundation has a Board of Trustees
and a Board of Governors to direct and                    In the ECO region, despite divergence of
conduct     the general management. The                political systems and varying degrees of
headquarters of the Foundation are to be               national priorities or non-complementarily of
located in Islamabad where the first meeting of        the economies, there is a lot in common in
the Board of Trustees of the Foundation is             terms of geography and culture and in terms of
planned to be held in 2002.                            the shared resolve to overcome their economic
9.3 ECO Educational Institute                          problems. ECO MSs have the political resolve
   During the 5th ECO Summit and the 8th               to work together for their collective wellbeing
COM Meeting held in Almaty (Kazakhstan) in             and our combined efforts will bring much-
May 1998, ECO MSs signed the Charter for               desired socio-economic uplift for the people of
the ECO Educational Institute (EI) with the aim        the region.
to broaden and enlarge the scope of
cooperation among ECO countries in the field
of education and training. The proposed

                    Point of view                                    standstills plaguing ECO’s smooth conduct of business
                                                                     be clearly identified.
ECO REVISITED                                                             It is not the intention to deal with this matter in such a
By: Behzad Alipour Tehrani
ECO Program officer                                                  short essay. Though, in strategizing the Organization, it
                                                                     is vital to assume a pragmatic and dynamic approach. In
At the anniversary of its decade long expansion, ECO                 the context of realizing what have already been agreed
deserves to be revisited.                                            and adopted by ECO’s decision bodies, the rapidly
                                                                     changing global environment as well as emergence of
    The gathering of seven Ministers from ECO Member                 better practices in areas of mandates and interests
States on Nov. 14 in New York has bestowed the                       should be taken into account. This means that the
Organization with a long awaited shrift to reassert itself in        provisions of ECO agreements such as those stated
the backdrop of a fluid regional /international                      earlier would not turn out to be the end of the world for
environment. It has set a milestone in ECO’s history.                ECO. Even if their wholesale implementation face
Momentum demonstrated by virtually all Members who                   difficulties, better practices could never be denied of the
had turned out at a rarely noticed scale and level was               Organization as far as the prime objectives underlying
notable and inspiring. Even those who previously chose               those agreements remain intact.
to assume a lower profile within ECO vowed striking
commitments to advance the Organization’s future                         The Organization as run by its distinct organs (the
activities.                                                          decision machinery composed of Member States at
                                                                     various levels as well as the Secretariat) clearly finds
    Subsequent meetings with the UN Secretary General,               dividing lines in responsibilities shouldered by each side.
Mr. Kofi Annan and the World Bank President, Mr. James               Nevertheless, there are shared responsibilities by both in
Wolfensohn in the backdrop of the developments our                   terms of infusing ideas that could bring the Organization
region is experiencing, was another proof of how a                   closer to action. The ideas are, in fact, should
regional Organization such as ECO might gain relevance               consistently be tabled to incite hopes of breakthroughs in
and reasserts its raison d’etre and objectives. In those             the Region’s economic life and not the other way round.
meetings ECO has clearly been sought to share its
mandate with the international community concerning the                   Insufficient progress in physical infrastructure
Region’s development and to create proper relevant                   beneficial to the whole region should be factored in any
synergies for cooperation. Aside from what could be                  assessment of the overall performance of the
judged in terms of protocols and visits, the Ministers and           Organization. Although such task largely remains
delegations echoed deep sentiments of attachment and                 incumbent upon individual Member States to fulfill, but
dedication to the cause of the ECO Region and renewed                still many might expect that the activities of the
their pertinent commitments.                                         Organization should somehow lead to better access to
                                                                     physical infrastructure. Unavailability of sufficient sources
    While it is important to mark such development as a              of financing has often proved to hinder realizations of
new milestone for the Organization, one should remain                such aspiration. ECO can only identify viable projects,
vigilant on pitfalls that time and again hampered regional           arrange preliminary studies for some of them and provide
cooperation. Past history of ECO has not always                      instruments that facilitate and help improve their
pictured a safe and easy road for the Organization and               operations after the pertinent infrastructure or project is
its Member States in dealing with the issues of                      completed. At the same time the position of the Member
importance to them.                                                  States in avoiding full or even partial implementation of
                                                                     some ECO instruments themselves ratified is fully
     Let us think aloud and recall criticisms the                    understandable and justifiable. The hard fact is that
Organization has often been the target of: a mesmerized              implementations of those regulatory frameworks and
intra-trade ratio (often on a downward slope) hostage to             instruments involve         institution buildings         and
a framework agreement entailing hardly any concrete                  commitments on the part of individual Member States: a
agreement; entanglement of framework agreements on                   costly process barely entailing immediate benefits that
transit transport and trade to a slow moving process of              could justify even a minimal capitalization amongst the
ratification and implementation (if not to say standstill)           resources scarce states. Taking those factors into
long after their signature (and in some cases ratification);         account we will be more comfortable when dealing with
lack of improvement on food security issues, etc. Such               criticisms as those brought above as examples.
circumstances might have cooled down hopes on what
the Organization is expected to deliver. Needless to say                ECO has been there to receive all the blames and to
that, each individual case ought to be scrutinized and               survive under tenuous circumstances surrounding it.
analyzed separately so that the root causes for the                  Certain achievements are not seemingly worth

mentioning and it is not intended to provide a slot for it           this article to the celebration of ECO Day on
here since self -acclamation is beyond our intention.                28th November in the year 2001. The subject of
                                                                     „dialogue among civilizations‟ is more relevant
    As an organization geared to carrying out its                    and significant to ECO since the very
mandates, ECO is by all means well aware of the                      establishment and primary role of the ECO as
shortfalls affecting fulfillment of its objectives.                  an Organization actually, fulfils the objectives
Nevertheless, the negotiation process among its                      to promote and enhance dialogue among the
stakeholders is increasingly becoming objective oriented.            ECO member states located in this important
Aside from all the shortcomings one recalls, ECO is                  region of the World.
indispensably receiving impulses from the international
community on the mission and the role that could, in                     The proclamation of the year 2001 as the
future, be entrusted to it. As far as ECO exists it cannot           year of „dialogue among civilizations’ is truly,
remain non-committal to such impulses. The sheer fact is             an acknowledgment by the World body about
that the changing global landscape heavily casts shadow              the need for awareness of this topic among
on our region and on the Organization’s drive towards                nations which could not have been felt greater
regional integration. Such circumstances, no doubt,                  than at the time of the dawn of the 21st century.
provide challenges as well as fresh opportunities that               The world is, therefore, expected to try the new
may herald a new mission for the Organization.                       ways and approaches that are necessary to
                                                                     bring about a real sustainable peace and
     ECO’s role and obligations are increasingly brought             development. The current situation in the world
under spotlight in respect of the region it is looking after.        all the more makes it clear that we must re-
That is why Mr. Annan the UN Secretary General calls                 think about the aspects of the way in which we
upon ECO Secretary General to cooperate with his                     address the economy, the environment and
Special Representative for Afghanistan and the World                 the security. Today, the World is coping with
Bank goes beyond bilateral limits in conducting                      major challenges. The problems faced by the
cooperation and prescribes short and long term regional              world are Big; the solutions required are also,
activities in the context of the crisis occurring within the         therefore, Big. To deal with this sort of
ECO region.                                                          situation, it is believed, the world, together,
    The changing global landscape has set the stage for              alone can perhaps push back some of the
ECO to assume a new perspective as well. ECO needs                   borders of conventional thinking, break new
to be revisited in this context.                                     grounds and find the resolve and will to
                                                                     embark upon the path to far-reaching new
                                                                     solutions since many of the problems in the
                                                                     past have arisen because of short-sightedness
Dialogue Among Civilizations                                         and short-term perspectives. Today, the world
Its relevance to past, present & future                              is more conscious than ever before of shared
                                                                     stewardship of this planet and shared
By Mr. Ali Arif
Executive Director, ECO Cultural Institute                           responsibilities. Today, more than ever,
                                                                     nations and countries need the guidance of
    The celebration of ECO Day each year is a                        universal values. They have to make the
reminder about the accession to the Treaty of                        transition from a culture of violence,
Izmir at an Extraordinary Meeting of the ECO                         oppression and war to a culture of dialogue,
Council of Ministers held in Islamabad,                              tolerance and non-violence.
Pakistan on 28th November, 1992. But the                                As we stand on the threshold of a new
commemoration of ECO Day in the year 2001,                           millennium, let us for a moment draw our
becomes more significant since the Year 2001                         breaths to ponder together for search of our
had been proclaimed as the United Nations                            common human heritage. Our physical
Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations by the                          heritage must be protected and our intangible
185-member UN General Assembly, held in                              cultural heritage is equally important. So is our
September, 2000, on the proposal of H.E. Mr.                         genetic heritage. Human beings do recognize
Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic                           their identity through the cultures which have
Republic of Iran, a great honour for an ECO                          nourished them through the Ages. Their sense
Member State and thus, rightly a matter of                           of worth and personal dignity very much lies in
pride for the entire ECO. In view of this special                    recognition by others of the contribution made
importance, ECI has thought it befitting to                          by each one of them to enrich the tapestry of
analyze the importance of the subject of                             the world‟s civilizations. The best source is
„dialogue among civilizations’ by dedicating                         through education, to recognize what each

culture owes to other cultures, awareness of              enrichment of thoughts and ideas. In fact,
which contributes to lift curtains of hate, scorn,        study of history in this part of the world
ignorance, poverty and knits a richer legacy for          appears to be the best illustration to
us. One of the strongest foundations for                  understand how the interaction of peoples from
human success to achieve the objectives of                different cultural, social, economic and
peace and culture will be a worldwide                     religious backgrounds had produced inter-
awareness of cultural identity and of the                 mixture and development of architecture,
importance of intercultural dialogue, of the              culture, heritage, art, literature, customs,
defense of cultural identities and better                 sports and traditions. Even in the Indo-Pak
knowledge of others. How soon the culture of              sub-continent, the period of Muslim rule in the
peace will replace the politics of war and                subcontinent combined in itself components of
violence will depend on the thinking of those             Afghan, the Islamic (or Arabic), the Turkish
countries which matter in shaping the affairs of          and the Persian and of course, not the least,
the world: their determination and conviction to          the indigenous influence of the local non-
bring about these changes and to make the                 Muslim environment with heritage         of an
transition from the logic of force to the force of        ancient civilization and ultimately, the pre-
reason, dialogue and non-violence. Through                dominantly Muslim majority of the Indian origin.
frequent dialogues, we can prevent or end                 The Persian influence was found more
wars which can be understood more or less as              prominent in the fields of mysticism,
a cultural dialogue as well. Needless to say,             philosophy, literature and fine arts.
that where nations and peoples nurture or
nourish memories of long-standing historic                    Never before have all the world‟s peoples
grievances and cultural omissions, dialogues              become so completely aware of their common
bring these into open when these are                      destiny, as common sharer in the planet‟s gifts.
assessed with intellectual honesty and deep               To cope with the lofty challenge of
concern for one another‟s merits which enable             „globalization‟, we must learn to adapt. We
us to undo past wrongs. Let us hope that in the           need to understand that while our heritage or
21st century, the egocentric thinking will give           legacies sustain us, and richly distinguish us,
way to the benevolence or selfless approach,              these should never divide us. At times,
an approach or attitude that embraces and                 cultures while borrowing from one another
does not reject others.                                   have conflicted violently for which the
                                                          application of cultural modesty would always
   The World‟s history is a history of many               help to make us generous enough in enabling
civilizations, of their progress and their inter-         us learn from others. Civilizations endlessly
relations. To quote Samuel Huntington,                    change and absorb new patterns, as they
“Civilizations are the biggest „we‟ within which          redefine themselves in the light of new
we feel culturally at home as distinguished               surrounding       requirements       and     moral
from all the other „themes‟ out there”. Ibn               standards. New technologies in instantaneous
Khaldun, a Muslim historian of the 14th                   communication provide unlimited access to
century, had said that civilizations follow a             knowledge----but those excluded sink into an
process - they go through different stages.               ever deeper technological gap.         No cultural
                                                          community can today, therefore, dwell in
    To understand very well the meaning of                secluded isolation. While some cultures did
„dialogue among civilizations‟, it is also                experience long periods of geographical
imperative to study its relevance to past,                isolation, others have traded goods, works of
present and future of the mankind. It is said             art, ideas, crafts, scripts, habits, and scientific
that the past is not behind us but all around us.         concepts, for centuries. . As contrary to the
It is a matter of history that communication or           past, when the diversity was considered a
interaction of peoples through any mode of                barrier or impediment in interaction, it is today,
interconnection anywhere or in any part of the            believed that the correct approach can in fact,
World has introduced new changes in the                   serve as resource to manage cultural
social and cultural life of those coming in               differences around our pluralistic society. More
contact with each other. The world‟s great                than ever before, our global society teaches us
creeds have been exchanging lessons for                   that no man is an island. To quote Albert
centuries. Central Asia has been one of the               Einstein, who said, “The World today is one or
most fascinating meeting-grounds in the world             none”. That makes interaction indispensable.
for the study of such mutual influence and                The problems of other peoples have

consequences for us all, be they economic,                the age of globality -----producing an inter-
environmental, political, social or cultural.             dependent world or the vital aspect of world
                                                          community -----has been primarily due to the
    While addressing the Centre for Islamic               process of economic, financial, scientific and
Studies in Oxford, England, the Secretary                 technological approach towards formation of
General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Kofi              social organization and new values. To quote
Annan had said, “Civilizations, no longer exist           from the words of Mr. Koichiro Matsuura,
as separate entities in the way once did. But             DG/UNESCO, he said,” We are probably
modern societies still bear the strong stamp of           witnessing the birth of a civil society that is
history, and still identify each other along              equally global in scope, woven together by ties
cultural fault lines. Today‟s dialogue must be            that are not necessarily language and
peaceful one. That is one reason why I believe            community of place but rather hopes, fears
it has to proceed on the basis of a set of                and shared criteria as regards the future of the
shared values. The doctrine of „live and let live‟        species and the environment. The need to
will only work if all cultures and all societies          safeguard „cultural diversity‟ is just as essential
accept it as the norm.”                                   to the survival of humanity as „natural
                                                          diversity‟. Keeping one‟s identity intact while
    Communication itself is a mode for                    developing one‟s ability to express oneself and
exchange of knowledge information and views               to share one‟s wealth with the wide variety of
among people. While every nation has a right              creative forces, are now a vital aspect of the
to project that image of the World which reflect          enhancement of the heritage of humanity: both
its requirements, objectives, ethics or morals,           the heritage of the past and the heritage of the
values, desires or expectations and cultural              future.”
norms, however, cross cultural thinking should
more clearly explain that culture and                        In his address, the President of the
civilization are relative. „Dialogue among                Republic of Poland, H.E. Mr. Aleksander
civilizations’ helps in preventing domination by          Kwasniewski at the opening of International
one civilization and encourages interaction of            Conference on „Dialogue Among Civilizations‟,
collective thought of human minds much                    held in April 2001, in Vilnius, Lithuania, said, “If
beyond human limitations which help in                    globalization is only limited to its technical,
tackling the complex issues from many points              economic and media manifestations, and if it
of view based on exploration of people‟s                  does not produce genuine partnership
experience and thought. Civilizations are fertile         between cultures and people, it will be of no
mixtures---all have borrowed from one other               avail. „Dialogue among civilizations‟ must
well      before    our    age    of    electronic        involve our abilities to speak and to listen; to
communications.         The understanding of              contribute and to benefit from the others. ”
„dialogue among civilizations’, would therefore,              Despite a few unhappy beginnings yet, in
not let one civilization thrust itself on other           the 21st century, optimism should prevail in the
civilizations but allows others‟ participation as         interest of promotion of peace world-wide.
well. It provides enrichment of cultures and              However difficult it may appear to be hopeful
civilizations through process of dialogue,                about peace at the present time, we should
whether it is through listening or speaking thus,         neither be hopeless nor helpless. There can be
giving opportunity to groups or nations fully             no lasting peace without respect for the dignity
explain themselves before others would judge              of individuals and peoples. We should
them, with emphasis on similarities and                   endeavor to install the culture of peace which
assimilation of differences. Together we can              will enable us to live together and to cope with
now advance on a quest to put into practice               the changing conditions of the world. The
our shared understanding of the role of culture           values of culture of peace offer us a vision, a
in sustainable development.                               mobilizing concept, on which we can act to
   Our whole planet is being affected, in one             make a real difference.
way or the other, by the expansion of a system               In summary, it is worth pointing that despite
that has become so overwhelming that it has               frequent incidents engulfing outbreaks of
become difficult to delineate its outlines with           sectarian and racist violence or conflicts,
precision. The image of a gigantic worldwide              hatred, intolerance, it is still reassuring to note
web spun by the modern communication                      that nations and peoples across the globe are
technologies is an outstanding hallmark of the            mobilizing their awareness that mankind‟s fate
present era. The emergence of globalization or            is closely linked which makes it all the more

essential for components of humanity‟s cultural
identities to reach each other to secure better                 ECO Bulletin is published quarterly by the secretariat of the
universal understanding. United Nations,                        Economic Cooperation Organization. Opinions expressed in
despite a few disappointments, continues to                     articles and other materials are those of the authors and do not
stand as a „family of nations‟, which inspires                  necessarily reflect ECO policy.
the mankind to look forward to ideals for
                                                                    Secretariat of the Economic Cooperation Organisation
promotion of wisdom of peace. Dialogues in
any form, whether through international                         Address: No.1 Golbou Alley, Kamraniyeh,
meetings between civilizations or nations, or                   Tehran – Islamic Republic of IRAN
through interaction of cultures and traditions,                 P.O. Box: 14155-6176
do reflect a common urge to recognize one
another‟s mutually enriching diversity, within                  Tel : (9821) 2831733-34
one mankind, thus, contributing significantly to                Fax: (9821) 2831732
enhance common thought on important issues
as globalization, peace, universal human                        WEB:
rights, and sustainable development of the
World as a whole.
                                                                                      Editors Note:

                                                                     his special issue of Bulletin marks the
                                                                     sixteenth anniversary of an organization,
                                                                     which is taking its place in the
 Economic Cooperation                                                International arena as a major regional
                                                                     player. In today‟s world of regionalism,
     Organization                                                    considered as a gate to a much desired
                                                                     phenomenon of globalization, the shared
                                                                     resolve and the political will of the ECO
The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) consists
                                                                     member states, to work together in order
of ten Member States namely the Islamic State of
                                                                     to overcome the existing obstacles and
Afghanistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic
                                                                     challenges is commendable and the
Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz
                                                                     crucial role which this organization may
Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Republic
                                                                     play in inducing regional peace and
of Tajikistan, the Republic of Turkey, Turkmenistan and
                                                                     stability is irrefutable. The UN Secretary
the Republic of Uzbekistan. These ten Member States
                                                                     General H.E. Kofi Annan reverberated this
and their populations are linked together for centuries
                                                                     fact when he recently met ECO Secretary
because of common history, culture and traditions. Main
                                                                     General Dr. Abdolrahim Gavahi in New
objective of the ECO is sustainable economic
                                                                     York. The UN chief while emphasizing the
development of its member states and economic uplift,
                                                                     importance of the regional conditions and
welfare & well being of its people.
                                                                     the volatile situation in Afghanistan has
                                                                     expressed his positive views on the
                                                                     “expansion of cooperation between UN
                                                                     specialized agencies and ECO”. He
                                                                     justifiably called for “closer cooperation
Editorial Board:                                                     and coordination of ECO Secretary
                                                                     General with UN special envoy for
Ali Sabzalian,Editor                                                 Afghanistan affairs to prepare plans for the
                                                                     stability      and      reconstruction    of
Mohammad Harandi, Assistant to editor
Aamir Ghani Mir, Computer Assistant
                                                                        On the other hand it would not be a
Morteza Mirhashemi, Administration/coordinator                       totally invalid point to state that the line of
                                                                     communication in publicizing and making
MohammadReza Malakooti, Graphics & Design
                                                                     known the importance and activities of
                                                                     ECO to outside world, and even to its own
                                                                     member states has been less than
                                                                     desirable and far below ECO‟s declared

   To change this trend, the editorial
board of the ECO Bulletin, recognizing this
deficiency is resolved to meet the
challenge and do its share of removing
this inadequacy.

    We have tried to substantially improve
the contents of the bulletin to educate the
public about ECO. To delineate briefly
ECO‟s past history, sectoral achievements
and its subsidiary institutions, a whole
issue of ECO Day Special has been
planned. We hope that this modest effort
will lay the foundation for a more
comprehensive evaluation and in- depth
assessment         of      ECO‟s       past
accomplishments, failure if any, potentials
and future challenges. ECO research
officer, Mr. Alipour Tehrani‟s discerning
article offers a new perspective and an
excellent lead in this respect.

   Finally a word of appreciation goes to
Mr. Ali Aref, the executive Director of ECO
Cultural Institute for his judicious article
about “Dialogue Among Civilizations, its
relevance to past, present and future”.

                             Ali Sabzalian


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