2 ECO Bulletin – December 2008
The Secretary General’s 11
Bilateral Meeting with the
Director General UNIDO on
the sidelines of the 63rd
United Nations General
The Secretary General’s 12
Meeting with the UN High
Representative for LDCs,
LLDCs and SIDCs on the
sidelines of the 63rd United
Nations General Assembly
The Third ECO International 12
Conference on Disaster Risk
The 1st ECO Ministerial 13
Meeting on Tourism
The Secretary General’s 3 The National Workshop on 14
Message on ECO Day Multimodal Transport in the
Messages received from the 4
Heads of State / Government The First High Level Group 14
and Foreign Ministers of Meeting of ECO National
Member States on ECO Day Statistical Offices
The Secretary General’s 5
letters to the Foreign The 6th Meeting of ECO 14
Ministers National Focal Points for
Statistics and Economic
The Secretary General’s 7 Research
Press Conference Opening
Statement Trade & Investment Network, 15
Selected excerpts from the 7 Web Portal Launched on 25th
media reports November 2008
The 15th Informal Meeting of 9 The 19th Meeting of ECO’s
the COM on the sidelines of Regional Planning Council 15
the 63rd Session of the UNGA (RPC)
The 2nd ECO / WB Workshop 11 The 1st Meeting of ECO
on Regional Energy Trade in Heads of Trade Promotion 15
the ECO Region Organizations
The Secretary General’s Message on Development Fund for regional projects. We are
ECO Day 2008 streamlining Istanbul-Almaty train and pursuing its
extension to Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and
Tajikistan. We also propose to launch a
demonstration train on Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul
route in 2009. ECO’s region-wide White Card
scheme for Third Party insurance is ready to be
In the energy sector, ECO’s aim is to promote power
trade, power exchange and efficient use of renewable
sources of energy. We are accelerating completion
of the feasibility study on inter-connection of ECO
power systems. We held a useful workshop in
Almaty this month with the help of World Bank. Our
Ministerial meeting on energy in Tajikistan early next
ECO Secretary General, Mr. Khurshid Anwar year will make a comprehensive review of energy
cooperation to strengthen and promote it.
The ECO Day marks the expansion of the Economic
Cooperation Organization this day in 1992 from a In industry, we are implementing measures agreed at
three-member state organization to one with ten the Ministerial meeting in Lahore (November 2006).
important regional countries. On this auspicious The aim is to enhance the share of industrial goods
occasion, I extend warmest felicitations to all member and services in trade, encourage viable joint projects,
states and their people. It was an historic help create an investment-friendly environment and
development of regional significance. We have facilitate greater involvement of the private sector.
grown into a well-knit family, sharing many a Efforts are also underway to promote privatization
commonality in history and heritage, faith and and establish an ECO nanotechnology network.
outlook, geography and culture. The ECO Day urges In agriculture, ECO’s Regional Programme for Food
us on to pursue our aims and objectives with a Security (RPFS) addresses low yield of crops, post-
stronger commitment and a greater vigour. harvest losses, inefficient use of water and the
Our region has many strengths. These range from a problem of salinity. Our Agriculture Ministers (Baku,
strategic location, rich natural resources, favourable September 2008) decided to set up an ECO Regional
weather systems to talented people. With a Seed Association in Turkey and Regional Water
population of 400 million and a land mass of 8 million Management Centre in Pakistan. We are also
square kilometers, we are a no small region. Our establishing a Permanent Veterinary Commission to
total GDP exceeded US$1 trillion (US$1093 billion) in combat transboundary diseases, and a Biotechnology
2007. We had an average Growth Rate of over 6.5 Network.
percent last year. Our global trade exceeded Our region faces serious transnational organized
US$512 billion. crimes. These include drug trafficking, terrorism,
ECO attaches the highest priority to trade. We human and arms smuggling as well as money
crossed an important milestone with the ECO Trade laundering. The ECO Interior Ministers (Ashgabat,
Agreement taking effect from this year. It will give a May 2008) approved a joint strategy to fight these
strong boost to regional trade, already worth US$32 menaces. We appreciate the support of UN and
billion. We are pressing ahead toward a free trade other agencies – IOM, UNODC and EC – in this
area by 2015. The ECO Trade and Development campaign.
Bank and the ECO Chamber of Commerce and We are pursuing a few reconstruction projects in
Industry are already functioning. We have signed a Afghanistan. These include a Public Park and Kabul
set of agreements on investment promotion, customs Zoo, which are nearing completion. Three other
cooperation and visa facilitation. We are also projects have been approved lately. These are for a
pursuing trade capacity building in cooperation with school and a health centre in Bamian and a maternity
UNIDO and UNCTAD. hospital in Faryab.
In transport, implementation of Transit Transport In conclusion, ECO has picked faster momentum.
Framework Agreement is underway. An initial We are moving steadily to realize the full potential of
amount of US$512,000/- has been provided for it. the organization. I am confident that we will achieve
We are creating an ECO Transport Infrastructure this aim and much more.
4 ECO Bulletin – December 2008
Messages received from the Heads of State / The ECO region has immense potential that can best
Government and Foreign Ministers of Member be realized if we work collectively to promote peace
States on ECO Day and stability, craft common approaches to
development issues and enhance connectivity.
ECO Day is celebrated on November 28 every year It is gratifying to note that the Economic Cooperation
to mark the expansion of ECO. On this occasion, Organization is most suitably positioned to achieve
Heads of State / Government and Foreign Ministers these objectives. It has evolved over the years into an
of member states as well as ECO Secretary General effective tool for capitalizing opportunities and
exchange congratulatory messages. addressing common challenges.
Some of the messages received from ECO dignitaries I wish the Organization complete success in
on the occasion of ECO Day celebrated on 28th achieving the lofty goals it has set for itself.
November 2008 are highlighted below:
Message from the President of Turkmenistan
Message from the President of the Islamic H.E. Mr. Gurbanguly Berdymekhamedov
Republic of Afghanistan
H.E. Mr. Hamid Karzai I send you my heartfelt congratulations on
anniversary of establishment of Economic
While expressing my best wishes, I heartily Cooperation Organization (ECO).
congratulate Your Excellency on the occasion of the Being committed to goals and aims of Economic
ECO Day. Cooperation Organization, Turkmenistan would make
At the outset, allow me Excellency, to appreciate your greatest efforts towards further extension of all- round
important role and the achievements of the Economic cooperation among ECO fellow countries which is
Cooperation Organization. directed to effective economic development and
We take pride that, under your leadership, the 17th improving the quality of people’s lives in the region.
Council of Ministers was held in Afghanistan and Availing myself of the opportunity, I would like to wish
value the contribution that the Organization has made you robust health, all the success and new
towards the Reconstruction of Afghanistan. achievements in your activities in the capacity of
Afghanistan, in cooperation with the member states of Secretary General of Economic Cooperation
ECO, is honored to take active part in the economic Organization.
development of the region.
We highly appreciate the progress made by the
Organization and renew our commitment and support Message from the Prime Minister of Islamic
for the achievement of its aims and objectives. Republic Pakistan
H.E. Mr. Yousef Reza Gilani
On behalf of the people and Government of Pakistan,
I wish to convey sincere felicitations on the
auspicious occasion of the sixteenth ECO Day.
The ECO family of nations is heir to one of greatest
Message from the President of Islamic legacies in the history of mankind. This day serves to
Republic of Pakistan remind us of the immense promise that ECO holds for
H.E. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari further economic and cultural integration of this great
region and its peoples.
On behalf of the people of Pakistan and on my own
The admirable successes the Organization has
behalf, it gives me immense pleasure to extend warm
scored in recent years engender confidence in its
felicitations to the ECO community of nations on the
ability to measure up to its promise, and confront the
occasion of the sixteenth anniversary of ECO’s
trans-national challenges of the twenty first century.
I wish ECO continued success in the pursuit of its Establishment of ECO Trade and Development Bank,
objectives. implementation of ECOTA, signing agreements on
investment promotion and ECO international
cooperation development are all among some of the
Message from the Minister of Foreign Affairs achievements which have been realized throughout
of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan recent years and through Your Excellency’s
H.E. Dr. Rangin Dadfar Sepanta undoubtedly effective endeavor. However, there is
still abundant capacity to improve the welfare of the
I have the pleasure to express my heartiest
region’s nations through Economic Cooperation
congratulations on the occasion of the ECO Day.
This day commemorates the highest decision of the
ECO has created high capacities within its
founding states to respond to the urgent need for
arrangements to actualize these objectives. More
cooperation and conformity towards the utilization of
extensive and more solid regional interaction and
the natural and human capacities as well as
cooperation can definitely occur under the auspices
exchange of experiences for the development and the
of organization of such nature and to eventually
economic prosperity of the people of the member
shape a future with greater welfare and prosperity for
the region’s nations.
I believe that the implementation of the joint decisions
The Islamic Republic of Iran, as one of the founding
of the Organization will accelerate the identification of
member states of Economic of Cooperation
economic and social priorities of the ECO region and
Organization and the host of the Secretariat of this
the appreciation of the role of ECO and its members
organization, is willing to utilize all its potentials and
in the commercial and economic spheres beyond the
facilities within, the framework of ECO to support
region and worldwide.
member states initiatives to develop and deepen
The ECO, under your leadership have made great regional and bilateral ties.
achievements in various fields.
The Secretary General sent messages of
I assure that the Government of the Islamic Republic
felicitations on the ECO Day to Foreign
of Afghanistan will continue to cooperate with the
Secretariat of the Organization and all the member
Ministers of all Member States. The message,
states towards the full realization of its aims and addressed to H.E. Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki,
objectives. the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of
Iran, is reproduced below:
It is with great pleasure that I extend to Your
Excellency, the Government and the brotherly people
of the Islamic Republic of Iran warmest felicitations on
the auspicious occasion of the ECO Day, the 28th of
November. We celebrate the expansion of ECO this
Message from the Minister of Foreign Affairs day in 1992 from a three-member state organization
of the Islamic Republic of Iran to its present strength of ten important countries.
H.E. Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki This historic development did not merely expand our
geographic canvas. It harbingered a closer, more
I extend my congratulations on the occasion of ECO
substantive regional cooperation. It raised our sights
Day anniversary on November 28 and the auspicious
to higher aims and ambitions. We have become one
expansion of Economic Cooperation Organization
family, sharing many a commonality in history and
from a 3- member organization to a 10- member one.
heritage, faith and outlook, geography and culture.
Sixteen years ago, the countries of the region, with The ECO Day reminds us of all this and urges us on
the determination to establish a new ambiance of to pursue our goals with greater vigour and
regional understanding and interaction, gave new life commitment.
to the Economic Cooperation Organization by
The Islamic Republic of Iran has made most valuable
accession of seven new member states. Today,
contributions to bringing regional countries closer to
despite all rises and falls and by relying on the
each other. It plays a leading role in ECO affairs
success which has been achieved through this
which is rightly admired all across this family of
regional cooperation, the same determination is the
nations. I am grateful for Your Excellency’s personal
herald of a brighter future and more prosperity for the
support and guidance.
6 ECO Bulletin – December 2008
Please accept, Excellency, my best wishes for your proceeding from necessity of a harmonious
health and well-being as well as for the continued combination of national and economic interests.
peace and prosperity of the fraternal people of Iran. I would like to assure you that Kyrgyzstan will do all
the best to increase efficiency and the further
deepening of regional cooperation within the
frameworks of the Economic Cooperation
Message from the Minister of Foreign Affairs Message from the Foreign Minister of the
of the Republic of Kazakhstan Islamic Republic of Pakistan
H.E. Mr. Marat Tazhin H.E Mr. Shah Mehmood Qurashi
I wish to convey you my heartfelt felicitations on the I feel great pleasure in extending to ECO Secretariat
occasion of the ECO Day. Kazakhstan appreciates its and the ECO family of nations, warm felicitations on
developments which have been reached within the the occasion of the sixteenth anniversary of the
ECO framework. expansion of the Organization.
ECO and Kazakhstan share common views on urgent ECO is the embodiment of centuries old ties of
and global issues, especially on sustainable culture, common faith and civilization that link its
economic cooperation development among Asian Member States in an imperishable bond of kinship. It
countries. is also a manifestation of our common desire for a
Noting the fact that we have huge potential for brighter and more prosperous future for our peoples.
deepening of mutually beneficial cooperation within I take this opportunity to reiterate Pakistan’s abiding
the Organization, I do believe that friendly ties commitment to the Organization and its objectives.
between ECO and Kazakhstan would be continued Pakistan will continue to accord high priority to
and developed for the sake of our people. successful fruition of ECO’s agenda and
programmes, and play its due role for promoting
regional integration within ECO framework.
I wish ECO every success in its noble endeavours.
Message from the Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Kyrgyz Republic
H.E. Dr. Ednan Karabaev
I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations on Message from the Foreign Minister of the
the occasion of the 16th anniversary of formation of Republic of Uzbekistan
the Economic Cooperation Organization. H.E Mr. Vladimir Norov
Kyrgyz Republic greatly values the processes of
regional development in the network of the Economic I express my gratitude for your sincere
Cooperation Organization with a view of effective congratulations on the occasion of the 16th
realization of potential of the Organization. anniversary of the “ECO Day”.
The Economic Cooperation Organization continues to I am pleased to note that during historically short
represent itself as an important part of economic period of time the Organization gained recognition in
integration processes in our region. In this context it is the international arena and transformed into a real
necessary to note, that member countries should play mechanism for regional economic integration.
important role in effective implementation of the I am confident tat under your leadership the
Organization’s goals. Secretariat will continue its efforts to achieve stable
I am sure that our Organization should exist and economic development of the ECO region as a
develop as mutually beneficial implementation activity fundamental objective of the Organization.
to achieve these goals. Uzbekistan consistently stands for further expansion
Kyrgyzstan understands logical suitability and of mutually beneficial cooperation with all ECO
prospects of regional economic cooperation
member- countries especially in such spheres as Agency (ISNA), Mowj News Agency, Iran Economic
transport communication, trade and investment. News Agency (ECONEWS) put the news on their
websites the same day.
Message from Ambassador Extraordinary
and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of
Kazakhstan to the Islamic Republic of Iran
H.E. Mr. Yerik Utembayev
Please, accept my sincere felicitations on the
occasion of a significant event- ECO Day.
I am confident that friendly ties of mutually
advantageous cooperation in line with interests and
aspirations of our people in the region would steadily
continue to expand and strengthen.
Taking this opportunity, I wish you continued health Selected excerpts from the media reports
and happiness and every success and ever greater
of the press conference are as follows:
peace, prosperity and progress to the people of our
region. ECO on the Global Financial Crisis
According to Iran News Agency, the Secretary
Message from Ambassador Extraordinary General, addressing a press conference on ECO
and Plenipotentiary of the Kyrgyz Republic Day, said that the world financial crisis had affected
H.E. Dr. M. Sherimkulov all countries and no country was fully safe from its
consequences. It had not been created by the
Let me express you all my gratitude and send my developing countries though they had to face it and
congratulations on the occasion of ECO Secretariat think of ways to get out of it. In the ECO region, the
and Organization. impact varied from country to country, depending on
The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the the degree of its involvement with the western
Kyrgyz people hope that our Organization in future financial system.
will become one of the most important and strong He added “We are organizing the third ECO Finance
regional organizations in the world ad this date. ECO and Economic Ministers’ meeting next month (23rd
day will be famous among the peoples as the symbol December, 2008) in Tehran to discuss the crisis, its
of economical cooperation, friendship and partnership likely impact on the region and a possible joint
between ECO countries and all nations of the region strategy to blunt its adverse effects.”
and ECO cooperation would become the best Concerning a single currency for the ECO region, the
example of mutual understanding, economical Secretary General said that it was not an immediate
development and flourishing. priority. We were focusing more closely on trade,
transport and energy cooperation. Progress in other
areas would follows.
The Secretary General’s Press Conference
Opening Statement He said the ECO Trade and Development Bank had
(Tehran, 25 November 2008) become operational with an initial capital of $ 300
On the occasion of the 16th Anniversary of ECO, the
Meanwhile, as part of the press conference, the
Secretary General addressed a press conference. It
Director of ECO’s Trade and Investment Directorate
was attended by journalists, photographers and
announced the opening of the ECO Trade Information
cameramen from newspapers, news networks and news
agencies. These included Iran, Hamshahri, Jaam-e-
Jam, Etella’at, Jomhury-e-Islami, Asr-e-Eghtesad, Abrar- Mr. Waqar Ahmad Shah explained “the project has
e-Eghtesadi, Iran News and Iran Daily. They reported been designed and launched by Rahbar Company,
the event in their issues of November 26, 2008. Other which is affiliated to the Iran Commercial Research
news agencies including the Islamic Republic of Iran and Study Center. The web portal contains
Broadcasting (IRIB), Iran News Network (INN), Islamic information on trade policies, customs and banking
Republic of Iran News Agency (IRNA), Radio Iran, Press procedures”.
TV, Iran Labor News Agency (ILNA), Iran Students New
8 ECO Bulletin – December 2008
Jomhoori-e-Eslami Newspaper viable joint projects, help create an investment-
Special News friendly environment and facilitate grater involvement
of the private sector. Efforts are also underway to
The Ministerial Meeting of Finance and
promote privatization and establish an ECO
Economy in Tehran next month nanotechnology network.”
The Secretary General of Economic Cooperation The Secretary General of ECO stated that in
Organization told media correspondents that the agriculture ECO’s Regional Program for Food
current financial crisis in global markets had not been Security (RPFS) addresses low yield of crops, post-
sparked off by developing countries. Yet they must harvest losses, inefficient use of water and the
work together to counter its negative effects. He said problem of salinity. Our Agriculture Ministers (Baku,
ECO was trying to find strategies to counter and cope September 2008) decided to set up an ECO Regional
with its negative effects. Seed Association in Turkey and Regional Water
According to ISNA, on the eve of ECO Day Management Centre in Pakistan. We are also
(November 26), Mr. Khurshid Anwar said that the establishing a Permanent Veterinary Commission to
financial crisis would affect ECO Member States in combat transboundary diseases, and a Biotechnology
varying degrees. The matter would be examined for Network.”
possible joint counter measures at a Ministerial He emphasized that the region faces serious
Meeting on Finance and Economy in Tehran in transnational organized crimes. These include drug
December 2008. control, counter terrorism, human and arms
smuggling as well as money laundering. Our Interior
Ministers (Ashgabat, May 2008) approved a joint
Abrar-e-Eghtesadi strategy to fight these menaces. We appreciate the
DAILY ECONOMIC NEWS support of UN and other agencies – IOM, UNODC
ECO Will Accelerate Activities in Member States and EC – in this campaign.”
Economic Desk – Implementation of Transit
Transport Framework Agreement is underway. An
initial amount of US$512,000 has been provided for it. ECO NEWS
The Secretary General said “We are creating an ECO Economic Desk
Transport Infrastructure Development Fund for
regional projects” Secretary General of ECO: Organizing
“We are also streamlining Istanbul-Almaty train and
Meeting of the Finance and Economic Affairs
pursuing its extension to Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz ECONEWS: The Secretary General of Economic
Republic and Tajikistan” Cooperation Organization, responding to a query
“We also propose to launch a demonstration train on from ECONEWS concerning the impacts of global
Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul route in 2009. ECO’s financial crisis on the economy of the ECO States
region-wide White Card scheme for Third Party and ECO’s strategies to cope with this crisis, said that
insurance is ready to be introduced shortly” a meeting of the ECO Ministers for Finance and
Economy has been planned for mid-December in
According to our reporter, speaking at a press
Tehran to discuss the matter in all its details.
conference on the occasion of ECO Day anniversary,
Mr. Khurshid Anwar added that in the energy sector, According to Iran Economic News Agency, speaking
ECO’s aim is to promote power trade, power at a press conference, Khurshid Anwar added that
exchange and efficient use of renewable sources of “The global financial crisis has struck all the countries
energy. We have to accelerate completion of the of the world and no country has been a hundred
feasibility study on inter-connection of ECO power percent immune from its negative impacts; however,
systems. We held a useful workshop in Almaty this the effects vary from country to country, depending
month with the help of World Bank. Our Ministerial on the extent of a country’s involvement in global and
meeting on energy in Tajikistan early next year will financial system.
make a comprehensive review of energy cooperation Stating that the current crisis was a creation of the
to strengthen and promote it.” developed countries, he said that “unfortunately
He further added “In industry, we are implementing countries with greater involvement in global economic
measures agreed at the Ministerial meeting in Lahore systems were suffering that much more.
(November 2006). The aim is to enhance the share The impact of global financial crisis was different in
of industrial goods and services in trade, encourage ECO member states, ranging from Uzbekistan and
Turkmenistan with limited damage to Kazakhstan, The ECO Council of Ministers met on 24th September
Turkey and Pakistan, with more serious effects”. at an Iftar-Dinner hosted by the Foreign Minister of
He believed the ECO countries had the potential and Afghanistan, H.E. Mr. Rangin Dafdar Spanta. Eight
capacity to cope with this crisis and contain its member states participated in the meeting, including
adverse impact if not eliminate it altogether. The Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan,
Finance Ministers’ meeting would examine all this in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkey.
mid-December. In addition, on the invitation of the Afghan Foreign
The Secretary General stated that “We have a Minister, the meeting was attended by Mr. Kai Eide,
comprehensive agenda for that meeting; we are Special Representative of the UN Secretary General
collecting necessary inputs and ideas from the to Afghanistan.
Member States so that we could have an in-depth The meeting was hosted by the Permanent Mission of
analysis of the matter and come up with the right Afghanistan and presided over by the Afghan Foreign
response”. Minister in his capacity as the current Chairman of the
COM. Mr. Kai Eide presented a report on
Afghanistan. He gave an overview of the recent
UNESCO Conference on Afghanistan and the
general situation in that country. He stressed the
need to pool political resources to find a solution to
the problems in Afghanistan. He highlighted the
looming food and humanitarian crisis. He identified
aid effectiveness, resource distribution in a wise
manner and mobilization of people to effectively
overcome the crisis. He requested guidance from
Member States to help promote the UN agenda in
Afghanistan and stated that the services of the UN
were at the disposal of the region in this regard.
The Afghan Foreign Minister appreciated ECO
activities over the past one year, and stressed a
ECO Day Celebrated proactive approach to accelerate trade, transit, joint
investment and collaborative efforts to realize the full
As per past practice, the 16th Anniversary of ECO Day potential of the ECO. He observed that regional
was celebrated on Wednesday 26 November 2008. cooperation was a pillar of Afghanistan’s foreign,
The ceremony was attended by more than 200 security and development strategies. He also
guests including ambassadors from ECO Member emphasized the need to address terrorism, narcotics
States and Representatives from other Diplomatic and organized crime more effectively.
Missions and Organizations. A high rank delegation After the opening remarks of the Chairman, the
from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Secretary General presented his report. It focused on
Republic of Iran including the First Deputy Minister ECO’s recent activities which essentially represented
H.E. Mr. Sheikh-ul-Islam and Deputy Minister H.E. follow-up action on decisions taken at the previous
Mr. Mohsin Tulai attended the reception. COM, held in Herat in October 2007.
The Secretary General noted that the ECO had
crossed an important milestone with the ECO Trade
Agreement (ECOTA) becoming effective this year.
The ultimate goal was the creation of a free trade
area by the year 2015. Some of the requisite
arrangements were in place; others would follow soon
to achieve that goal. These included the ECO Trade
The 15th Informal Meeting of the COM on the and Development Bank, the ECO Chamber of
sidelines of the 63rd Session of the UNGA Commerce and Industry and a set of Agreements on
Promotion and Protection of Investment, on Customs
The ECO Secretary General visited New York, 22-25 Cooperation and on Simplification of Visa Procedures
September 2008, to participate in the 15th informal for businessmen.
meeting of the ECO Council of Ministers, represent
ECO in the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly The report also covered progress on the
and meet senior UN officials. implementation of the Transit Transport Framework
10 ECO Bulletin – December 2008
Agreement (TTFA). It touched on the follow up action In the discussion that followed, the Foreign Minister of
on the decisions of the 7th ECO Transport Ministers’ Azerbaijan termed the Secretary General’s report as
meeting (Antalya, April 2008), including one to launch impressive. He said that cooperation in the ECO
a demonstration train on Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul region was going in the right direction. ECO was a
route in 2009. high priority for Azerbaijan which realized the need for
In the Energy field, the Secretary General referred to enhanced cooperation in all fields. He stressed
the delay in collecting data for the feasibility study on further support for ECO activities in the field of Food
interconnection of ECO power systems. He urged the Security and implementation of the Almaty Plan of
Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and action to address the needs of the Land Locked
Uzbekistan to help complete the study by February Developing Countries.
2009. The COM was also informed of the study The Kyrgyz Ambassador appreciated the report. He
prepared with the help of the World Bank on noted that ECO had great potential as regional
management of international energy trade. It would organization. It was time for the member states to
be the subject of a WB/ECO Workshop in Almaty. It move to a higher level of cooperation.
was noted that the 2nd ECO Energy Ministers’ The Foreign Minister of Iran while appreciating the
Meeting in Tajikistan in early 2009 would make a Secretary Generals report stressed the need to
comprehensive review of energy cooperation to further increase regional trade. He proposed that the
generate necessary momentum. Secretariat consider the formula adopted by the D-8
The COM was also briefed on ECO’s Plan of Action in this regard. He also took note of the preparations
to combat environmental degradation, promote wider being made by the ECO Secretariat for the ECO
awareness of the seriousness of this problem and Summit. He emphasized the (implementation/ follow
develop a credible legal framework. It was noted that up of the Astana Plan).
ECO cooperation in the field of industry was meant The Ambassador of Pakistan made a statement on
to enhance the share of industrial goods and services behalf of his Foreign Minister (who had to leave
in trade, encourage viable joint projects, help create earlier to accompany his President). He highlighted
an investment friendly environment and facilitate the the importance Pakistan attached to ECO. He
role of the private sector. announced that the Government of Pakistan would
In the field of Agriculture, the report dilated on the host the 10th ECO Summit in Pakistan in February-
Regional Programme for Food Security (RPFS). The March 2009. The exact dates for the Summit would
4th ECO Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture (Baku, 10 be confirmed through normal diplomatic channels. He
September 2008) took very useful decisions. These stated that Pakistan looked forward to the
included setting up an ECO Regional Seed participation of ECO Member States in the Summit at
Association in Turkey and a Regional Water the highest political level.
Management Centre in Pakistan. The Turkish Ambassador appreciated the
The COM was also briefed on the status of enhancement of ECO-UN and ECO-EU relations. He
cooperation for drug control, counter terrorism and urged the non-signatory Member States to sign
fight against human smuggling, arms smuggling and ECOTA. He also highlighted the establishment of
money laundering. The Ministers noted ECO’s ECO Trade and Development Bank in Istanbul as an
contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. important achievement of the ECO which should have
The report appreciated the support of UN and the support of all member states.
international agencies, including UNODC, IOM and The Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Afghanistan
European Commission. EC had offered Euros 9 and the Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic sought
million for ECO’s counter narcotics campaign. support of the Member States for their respective
The Secretary General concluded saying that ECO candidates for the post of ECO Secretary General.
was picking fresh momentum. Its calendar of events On the request of the Chairman, the Secretary
maintained a rising graph. Implementation had risen General gave a brief overview of the selection
from 46 percent in 2006 to 74 percent in 2007 and process. The Foreign Minister of Iran proposed
was set to touch 80 percent this year. Average consultation among the Member States to reach an
participation had increased from 6 member states to agreed candidate for post of Secretary General. The
8 at present in 2008. This should be improved further matter be pursued further through the CPR and its
as should indeed be the implementation of decisions. Working Group in Tehran.
ECO agreements needed a wider, more solid backing The meeting decided to refer the draft Resolution on
of the member states. This was necessary for fuller Cooperation between the UN and ECO to the Council
impact and for faster implementation.
of Permanent Representatives and ECO Secretariat In terms of the Work program, given the
for further deliberation. It authorized Afghanistan, as keen interest expressed by delegates to be
the Chairman of the COM, to table the final resolution knowledgeable about the energy systems,
at the current session of the UN General policy framework and institutional framework
Assembly. The Resolution has since been finalized of each country of ECO, the delegates
and approved by the CPR and forwarded to the agreed that each country will prepare a
Afghan UN Mission. It is expected to be tabled for sector report prior to the next meeting /
adoption in the first half of December 2008. workshop. To ensure consistency and
proper coverage, the World Bank team
would recommend a draft outline, to be
The 2nd ECO / WB Workshop on Regional agreed by the member countries, for the
Energy Trade in the ECO Region sector reports and share it with the ECO
(10 – 11 November 2008 – Almaty, Kazakhstan) countries. Also the World Bank team will
The 2nd ECO / WB Workshop on Energy Trade in the draw up a concise report of the ECO region
ECO Region held in Almaty on 10-11 November, based on the country’ reports.
2008 was organized in cooperation with the World There is keen interest in understanding the
Bank’s Energy Sector Management/Assistance finance-ability of cross-border projects,
Program. which has been dealt with in the report
Delegations from nine member states (Afghanistan, released at the workshop. In the next
Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, workshop, a session would be devoted to
Tajikistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan) participated in the discuss this aspect in more depth.
Workshop. The representatives of the World Bank,
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(EBRD), Inter Governmental Council Secretariat of
Central Asia South Asia Regional Electricity Market
(CASAREM), and International Finance Corporation
(IFC) also attended.
All delegations made presentations expressing ECO Secretary General’s Bilateral
interest in electricity/energy trade; development in Meeting with the UN High Representative
their energy trade and investment policies as well as for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDCs on the
regulations and pricing to promote electricity sidelines of the 63rd United Nations
exports/imports. They also covered surpluses to General Assembly
export and demand to import electricity; investment The Secretary General called on the High
projects in transmission and generation to increase Representative H.E. Mr. Cheick Sidi Diarra in his office
trade in electricity. on the 23rd September, 2008 to discuss matters of
The workshop made the following recommendations: common interest to the two organizations. He gave Mr.
Diarra an overview of ECO activities, aims and
ECO should place higher emphasis on objectives. He noted that the ECO region comprised
electricity trade with the eastern cluster of seven countries with the status of Developing States
ECO countries and beyond, in view of (a) and another three (Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and
significant energy deficits being experienced Tajikistan) in the category of LDCs. The ECO was
in that part ECO membership and (b) more making all possible efforts to contribute towards regional
apparent seasonal demand and international integration of its smaller and under-
complementarities. developed economies. It needed financial and technical
The delegates felt that meetings on regional support particularly in trade and transport for achieving
energy trade should be held more frequently the desired objectives. Seven of the ten ECO member
– at least annually – to ensure that states were landlocked. Strengthening transport
momentum for regional cooperation in linkages between the landlocked and transit member
energy is maintained. It was also suggested states was, therefore, a high priority. The ECO was
that further meetings would be hosted by a pursuing implementation of the Almaty Programme of
Action. It was on the agenda of the Heads of ECO
member country and that the cost of the
Reference Marine Organizations and other relevant
meeting would be shared by the Host
Country – with the possible support of the
international financial institutions such as the The Secretary General highlighted that the coastal
World Bank. member states of the ECO (Iran, Pakistan and Turkey)
12 ECO Bulletin – December 2008
extended generous facilities to landlocked member Another Project document had been developed by
states. These included preferential treatment, reduced UNIDO on Trade Capacity Building. The Project
customs fees and formalities, improved rail, road, air proposal, approved in principle, was currently being
and pipeline infrastructure as well as technical and examined by the ECO to give it a final shape.
financial assistance. In order to strengthen those efforts,
The Secretary General, stressing the need for
the Secretary General sought financial and technical
continued UNIDO support, appreciated UNIDO’s help
assistance for conducting a joint regional study based
on the Almaty Programme of Action. It was, meant in obtaining financial assistance worth US$ 228,141/
essentially to assess the needs of member states and from the Government of Korea.
the measures required in the field of transport. The Secretary General proposed that in order to
further increase collaboration between the two
As for the Least Developed countries the Secretary
Organizations, the UNIDO Country Representative in
General informed the High Representative that a major
challenge some of them faced was lack of a credible Tehran be designated as UNIDO’s Permanent
industrial base. Assistance had been sought by these Representative to the ECO Secretariat.
countries to help identify potential sectors, create The Director General expressed his satisfaction at
exportable surpluses and develop marketing linkages. the on going cooperation between the two
ECO was keen on assisting LDCs in these areas and organizations and agreed to strengthen and enhance
needed the support of international donors. A joint it. He noted that Central Asia was a new region for
Project should be launched to increase capacity and UNIDO where it would like to intensify its activities.
capability of the ECO LDCs and to increase their trade He had lately sent his deputy to the region to make
potential. an overview and to explore possibilities for increased
The High Representative expressed his organization’s UNIDO role there. Moreover, since it was a new
willingness to join hands with the ECO for these joint region, UNIDO would appreciate ECO’s support. The
studies. He explained that the Office of the High Director General also spoke about a new initiative
Representative for the Least Developed Countries, being launched by UNIDO regarding Clean
Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Technology Transfer and capacity building of
Developing States (OHRLLS) lacked the manpower to countries for Green Industry. He extended an
conduct such studies. However, since OHRLLS was the invitation to the Secretary General to a Conference
Chair of the UNDESA Interagency Coordination, it could on Green Industry being organized by UNIDO to be
mobilize United Nations Development Policy and held in Philippines in 2009.
Analysis Division (UNDESA) and other UN agencies to
help ECO. The High Representative asked for an outline
of the proposed studies for further necessary action by The Third ECO International Conference on
OHRLLS. (The outline has since been sent to his office Disaster Risk Management
in New York). (Tehran, 7-8 October, 2008)
The Third ECO International Conference on Disaster
ECO Secretary General’s Bilateral Meeting with Risk Management was held in Tehran on 7-8
the Director General UNIDO on the sidelines of October, 2008. Delegates from the Islamic Republic
the 63rd United Nations General Assembly of Afghanistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the
Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of
The ECO Secretary General met the Director General Pakistan, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of
of UNIDO H.E. Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, at the Turkey and Turkmenistan participated in the meeting.
UNIDO New York office on 25th September, 2008.
The Conference was organized in collaboration with
The Secretary General briefed the Director General
the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster
on the latest progress being made on implementation
Reduction (UNISDR) and the Asian Seismic Risk
of ECOTA. They also discussed the fruitful
Reduction Center (ASRC). Also present in the
collaboration between the two organizations,
meeting were representatives of the UN Agencies
particularly on Trade Capacity Building of ECO
including UNOCHA, UNESCO, WHO, FAO, IOM and
Countries. Under that Project, joint teams conducted
donor countries in the Islamic Republic of Iran
surveys of the Member States. They noted that 2-day
(Australia, Japan, Thailand), as well as as regional
Expert Group Meeting (EGM) focused on Non-Tariff
organizations such as Asian Disaster Preparedness
Barriers and the standards compliance and
Center (ADPC) and Asian Disaster Reduction Center
conformity assessment constraints hindering the
intra-regional trade (Tehran, December 2007) was a
The Conference was inaugurated by His Excellency recommendations which would be submitted to the
Mr. Parviz Davoodi, Vice President of the Islamic next Ministerial Meeting. The Conference appreciated
Republic of Iran. His Excellency Mr. Ali Kordan, the offer of the Republic of Tajikistan to hold the next
Iranian Interior Minister, Mr. Khurshid Anwar, ECO Conference on the subject.
Secretary General made their statements. The
message of the ISDR's Director, Mr. Salvano
Bericeno was also read out by Mr. Knut Ostby, the The 1st ECO Ministerial Meeting on Tourism
UN Resident Coordinator in Iran. (19-20 October 2008, Tehran)
In his augural statement, the Vice President noted The 1st ECO Ministerial on Tourism was held in
that cooperation among regional countries and Tehran on October 19- 20, 2008. It was hosted by
international agencies was essential for containing Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism
the impact of natural disasters. He thanked the Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran (ICHTO).
international community for its assistance to the The vice President of Iran, H.E Mr. Ali Mashaie
victims of the devastating earthquake that hit Bam in inaugurated the meeting. It was attended by the
2003. He referred to the establishment of the Asian Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of
Seismic Risk Reduction Centre (ASRC) in Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic
cooperation with UNISDR and the National Platform Republic of Pakistan, the Republic of Tajikistan, the
for Disaster Risk Reduction as part of steps taken by Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Iran to implement the Hyogo Framework for Action. The ECO Cultural Institute (ECI), as well as the
The Interior Minister dilated on the preparedness and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
prevention activities of the Government of Iran and its Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations
endeavours to implement the Hyogo Framework for Industrial Organization (UNIDO) participated in the
Action (HFA). He stressed the need for closer meeting.
cooperation among members of the international and The meeting reviewed cooperation among the
regional community to contain the impact of disasters. member states in the tourism sector, discussed
The ECO Secretary General said that national implementation of the Plan of Action on Tourism, and
disasters were a part of our life – a part which was evolved a modality for the Establishment of ECO
bitter and, at times, unavoidable and inescapable. Tourism Promotion Fund.
ECO was one of the more disaster-prone regions of The meeting declared November 28 which is ECO
the world. Its geography, its location and lay-out Day as the ECO Tourism Festival Day. The Islamic
made it a mix of many an opportunity, many a Republic of Iran announced its readiness to host the
challenge. He stressed the need for efficient risk 1st ECO Tourism Festival Day in 2008 in Gilan. It also
management and effective practical measures. He offered a cruiseship program and requested the
also mentioned that disaster risk management was Member States to actively participate in the festival
an important priority set high on the agenda of ECO and related programs.
by the 9th Summit of ECO leaders held in Baku in A Fund for tourism promotion in the region was
May 2006. agreed to be established. The representatives of
Mr. Hossein Bagheri, the Head of the Iran's Natural Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey pledged to
Disaster Management Organization, in his welcoming contribute to the fund as soon as it had been set up.
note, emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan offered to host a
in the ECO region on disaster risk management. He working group meeting on the revival of the Silk
suggested building a mechanism to follow up and Road. It would be held in March 2009 synchronizing
implement the recommendations of this Conference with Nourooz.
and two of such events held earlier in Istanbul and
The meeting also reviewed implementation of the
ECO Plan of Action on Tourism which had been
The two days conference focused on a range of prepared and approved by the HLEG meetings.
relevant issues, including (i) Drought, (ii) Climate These were held in Tehran and Baku in December
Change, (iii) floods, (iv) Seismic Risk Reduction, 2003 and June 2008.
(v) Disaster Risk Management (Institution,
Publication of the ECO Tourism Guidebook was
Legislation, Regulation, Tools and Technology), (vi)
reviewed. Iran pledged to cover the cost of its
Hospitals Safe from Disaster and (vii) ECO Regional
Cooperation. Country reports as well as reports by
the relevant UN agencies were presented to the Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism
meeting. The Conference drew up a set of Organization arranged a trip to Shiraz for the
participants. The delegates visited important cultural
14 ECO Bulletin – December 2008
and historical sites. These included Takht-e- Jamshid The First High Level Group Meeting of
and the tombs of Saadi and Hafiz. ECO National Statistical Offices
(26-28 October 2008 - Tehran)
The National Workshop on Multimodal The First High Level Group Meeting of ECO National
Transport in the Kyrgyz Republic Statistical Offices was held on 26-28 October 2008 in
(Bishkek 20-21 October, 2008) Tehran. Representatives of ECO Member States
The National Workshop on Multimodal Transport in discussed ways of strengthening cooperation in
the Kyrgyz Republic was organized in Bishkek on 20- statistics. The HLEG adopted its rules of procedure and
the work program for 2008-09. It was agreed that the
21 October 2008. It was arranged under the auspices
HLEG would meet on a permanent basis. Turkey,
of the ECO/ IDB/ UNCTAD Joint Project for
Azerbaijan and Iran offered their support for: training,
Multimodal Transport in the ECO Region. technology information dissemination and advisory
The workshop was meant to foster greater expertise. The HLEG would update, streamline and
understanding of different approaches and ways to bring into conformity the statistical measurements used
promoting Multimodal Transport. The workshop by ECO, to achieve greater compliance with UN-
comprised a process of dialogue and exchange of adopted standards. The meeting welcomed Iran’s
experiences among the concerned officials, national proposal to establish a statistical network to serve as an
and international resource persons. institutional mechanism of cooperation in statistics. If
The two-day workshop attracted high-level approved, such network will be jointly used by all
member states as an integrated information and
participants from governmental and non-
technology database. Representatives of ECO’s
governmental sectors. They included about 60
international partner organizations, including UNIDO,
stakeholders who, along with representatives of UNFPA, UNECE, FAO, SESRIC and IDB exchanged
UNCTAD, IMMTA (International Multimodal Transport their views on the HLEGM agenda. The next meeting is
Association) and the ECO Secretariat, deliberated on expected to be held in Tajikistan in 2009.
ways to develop MMT throughout the ECO region.
The workshop was opened by His Excellency Mr.
Mamaiev, First Vice Minister of Transport of the The 6th Meeting of ECO National Focal Points
Kyrgyz Republic. Mr. Hooman Fathi, Program Officer
for Statistics and Economic Research
of the Transport and Communications of ECO, and
(Ankara, 17-18 November 2008)
Mr. Sham Bathija, Representative of UNCTAD, also
spoke at the inauguration. The 6th Meeting of ECO National Focal Points for
Presentations were made by international and national Statistics and Economic Research was held on 17-18
resource persons and concerned local officials. An in- November 2008 in Ankara. It was inaugurated by Dr.
dept discussion was held on key issues for improving Unal Gundogan, Vice President of the Turkish Statistical
the status of Multimodal Transport in the Kyrgyz Institute.
Republic. There was a useful exchange of experiences Participants from Member States adopted the work
about innovative approaches and methodologies. The program, the calendar of events for 2008-09 and the
Workshop also stressed the need for coordinated work table of ECO key statistical indicators. The participants
by all the concerned institutions for development of welcomed the two training events scheduled for 2009 for
Multimodal Transport and transit trade in the Kyrgyz capacity building of ECO National Statistical Offices.
Republic. It highlighted the need to conduct detailed These would focus on national accounts and compiling
corridor studies to identify the potentials of the routes geological sciences’ data base.
passing the Kyrgyz Republic. The meeting also deliberated ongoing and new
The Workshop noted that the carriers and freight economic research projects and ECO publications.
forwarders in the Kyrgyz Republic had formed their Special attention was paid to use of innovative
associations. The participants requested the techniques in economic research and long-term
Government, ECO, UNCTAD and IDB to support these perspectives of widening intra-regional trade. The
associations. They welcomed ECO's current initiative to Meeting stressed the need for streamlining project
set up the ECO Logistic Provider Associations monitoring in ECO.
Federation. They hoped that this federation would help In addition to the member states, the participants
the Kyrgyz Associations with methodology, training and included Representatives of ECO Trade Development
capacity building. Bank, FAO and SESRIC. Their presence enriched the
The next National Workshop on Multimodal Transport is deliberations and reflected the importance they attached
scheduled for Turkey in November, 2008 to further strengthening cooperation with ECO countries.
The 7th NFP Meeting will be hosted by the Kyrgyz the principles and objectives of regional cooperation
Republic. as laid down in the Treaty of Izmir, and given in the
policy guidelines and directives of the COM. At the
forthcoming RPC meeting, seven committees on
Trade & Investment Network, Web Portal priority areas of cooperation and service directorates
Launched on 25th November 2008 will hold discussion on various activities of the
On the eve of ECO day, Trade & Investment Organization.
Directorate and the IT Department launched in The four-day deliberations of the RPC and its
collaboration with M/s Raahbar Information Services Working Committees would cover such fields as trade
Co. launched Trade & Information Network, Web and investment, transport and communications,
Portal on 25th November 2008. energy and minerals, agriculture and environment,
The operations of the Web Portal have been given industry and tourism. The participants would also
final shape by the Iranian Company commissioned for discuss ECO’s Specialized Agencies and relations
the task. The information pertaining to ECO has been with regional and international organizations.
added into the Web Portal which is now all set to be The Regional Planning Council plays an important
activated. role in carrying out the activities of the ECO. It has
technical committees to assist it. The plans and
programmes framed by RPC will be submitted to the
18th Council of Ministers (COM) for approval. The
COM is expected to meet in early March 2009.
The 1st Meeting of ECO Heads of Trade
(Tehran, 18-19 January 2009)
In order to manage the inflow of data, the Member The meeting will deliberate on the Establishment of
States had nominated their Focal Points during 2007. an ECO Forum for Trade Promotion Organizations
Since the selection of the Company and award of (TPOs). The Forum will have regular meetings in the
Contract took more than expected, the list of NFPs Member States to facilitate trade and investment
nominated by the Member States is currently being cooperation among the ECO Member States. The
updated. Member States are in the process of Heads of ECO Trade Promotion Organizations will
nominating NFPs representing the officials of the discuss the following:
Ministries of Commerce / Foreign Trade / Trade Joint strategy for promotion of intra-regional
Promotion Organizations and the organizations trade and trade of the region with rest of the
responsible for Investment Promotion. The Pass world
Words will be shared with them to make the Portal
operational. Trade Missions for Networking between
exporters – importers
Exchange of trade information
Organizing joint Fairs or Fairs in each other
countries on reciprocal basis
(ECO Agreement on Joint Trade Promotional
The 19 Meeting of ECO’s Regional Events.)
Planning Council (RPC) Assistance/cooperation in Market Research
(Tehran, 11-15 January 2009)
Cooperation for Development of SMEs
The 19th Meeting of ECO’s Regional Planning Council
(RPC) is scheduled to be held in Tehran, Islamic Establishing Sectoral Associations/Unions on
Republic of Iran on 11-15 January 2009. The regional basis
meeting, held annually, focuses on the policies and Organizing Training Courses/Seminars
programmes of the organization, and evolves the
calendar of events for the coming year. New plans
and programmes are drawn up in accordance with
16 ECO Bulletin – December 2008
The ECO Bulletin is published quarterly by the
Secretariat of the Economic Cooperation Organization.
Secretariat of the Economic Cooperation Organization
Address: No.1 Golbou Alley, Kamraniyeh
Tehran – Islamic Republic of IRAN
P.O. Box: 14155-6176
Tel: (+9821) 2283 1733-34
Fax: (+9821) 2283 1732
Amb. Hassan Taherian DSG (Admin)
Mr. Ahmad Reza Asghari, AD (Admin)
Syed Naveed Mustafa, Data Base Officer (IT)
Mr. A. R. Ashtiani, ADBO (IT)