The Meeting saw delegations of all the 10 Member States, ECO Observers and Specialized Agencies, Regional Institutions and Affiliated Bodies, discuss ECO’s policies and programs according to Treaty of Izmir and the guidelines of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Member States (COM).
In the opening session, the ECO Secretary General, Dr. Hadi Soliemanpour, welcomed the participants and presented an overview of the main activities of the Organization undertaken during the Year 2019.
In addition to introducing a number of projects, the Secretary General provided delegates with an overview of the Organization’s current and future activities.
On trade, Dr. Soleimanpour said that ECOTA remained on top of the agenda of the 24th Council of Ministers. The Council appreciated the efforts of the ECOTA Cooperation Council for the implementation of ECOTA and attached importance on convening the 5th Ministerial Meeting of Economy and Development in 2020 scheduled to be held in Tajikistan, which is expected to evaluate the operationalization of the agreement, among others, by removing impediments in the way of its implementation. The relevant sectoral committee is also expected to mull over the possibility of developing a result-oriented approach to facilitate and enhance intra-trade activities in the region.
The Secretary General added that as the ECO Transit Transport Framework. Agreement (TTFA) provides the main framework for cooperation, the Secretariat has been committed to the Turkmenbashi Declaration which seeks to harmonize regional efforts regional transit transport: connectivity, mobility, and accessibility as envisaged in the ECO Vision-2025. he added. In this line, the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran, (KTI) railway route will be launched in the near future and we are working towards the implementation of the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) and Kyrgyz-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Iran (KTAI) Road Corridors, Dr. Soliemanpour said.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Gholam-Reza Ansari, also addressed the meeting saying that ECO Vision 2025 has defined transportation, energy, trade and tourism as the main areas of cooperation within the region. In line with our commitment to the Organization, the Islamic Republic of Iran has invested in the development of the missing links within the transport sector, he said. The Deputy Minister continued that the southern Iranian port of Chabahar has been tasked with assisting Member States, especially landlocked counties, in gaining access to the sea.
On the issue of energy security, Mr. Ansari said taking into account the potentials of the region, Iran welcomes and supports development of renewable and energy efficiency programs and solutions for regional cooperation on sustainable energy development.
The Heads of Delegation of the ECO Member States made their country statements, highlighting policies, programmes and activities of the Organization at national, regional and global levels, including the progress achieved on implementation of the decisions taken during the 29th Meeting.
The Heads of delegation of the ECO Specialized Agencies, Regional Institutions and Affiliated Bodies, including ECO Science Foundation also delivered their statements, elaborating activities and progress achieved since last RPC Meeting.
After the Opening session, various Sectoral Committees were formulated on trade, investment, transport, communications, energy, environment, agricultural, industry, tourism and the Afghanistan development projects. The Sectoral Committees thoroughly discussed the ongoing programs and projects as well as the areas of future cooperation and shared the result of their deliberations to the closing ceremony wherein, the final RPC report was presented and adopted with consensus. The Council noted, with appreciation, the work of the Sectoral Committees as well as the ECO Secretariat for the proposed ECO Work Programmes and Calendar of Events for 2018.
The Regional Planning Council (RPC) is the main technical planning body of the Economic Cooperation Organization and comprises the heads of the Planning Organizations of the Member States as well as officials and experts from the national sectoral ministries and agencies.
RPC convenes its annual meetings to “evolve programs of action for realizing the objectives of the Organization along with a review of past programs and evaluation of results achieved to be submitted to the Council of Ministers.”