Economic Cooperation Organization

From Kazakhstan Encyclopedia

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The Economic Cooperation Organisation or ECO (Template:Lang-fa, Template:Lang-ur, Template:Lang-tr, Template:Lang-kz, Template:Lang-uz, Template:Lang-ky, Template:Lang-az, Tajik: Template:Lang, Template:Lang-ps) is a Eurasian political and economic intergovernmental organization which was founded in 1985 in Tehran by the leaders of Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. It provides a platform to discuss ways to improve development and promote trade and investment opportunities. The ECO is an ad hoc organisation under the United Nations Charter (Chap. VIII). The objective is to establish a single market for goods and services, much like the European Union.[1] ECO's secretariat and cultural department are located in Iran, its economic bureau is in Turkey and its scientific bureau is situated in Pakistan.

The nature of ECO is that it consists of predominantly Muslim-majority states as it is a trading bloc for the Central Asian states connected to the Mediterranean through Turkey, to the Persian Gulf via Iran, and to the Arabian sea via Pakistan. The current framework of ECO expresses itself mostly in the form of bilateral agreements and arbitration mechanisms between individual and fully sovereign member states. This makes ECO similar to ASEAN in that it is an organisation that has its own offices and bureaucracy for implementation of trade amongst sovereign member states.

This consists of the historically integrated agricultural region of the Ferghana Valley which allows for trade and common agricultural production in the border region of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Free trade agreements between the industrial nations of Iran and Turkey are due to be signed in 2017.[2] Likewise the Pakistan-Turkey Free Trade Agreement is due to be signed.[3] Pakistan has free trade agreements with both Afghanistan and Iran which are signed and are in the process of implementation, and currently most of Afghanistan trade is through Pakistan. And the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement is designed to facilitate trade for goods and services for Central Asia via both Afghanistan and Pakistan.[4] This is in addition to the Ashgabat agreement which is a multi-modal transport agreement between the Central Asian states.[5]

Further cooperation amongst members is planned in the form of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline as well as a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline. Current pipelines include the Tabriz–Ankara pipeline in addition to the planned Persian Pipeline. This is in addition to the transportation of oil and gas from resource rich Central Asian states such as Kazakshtan and Turkmenistan of minerals and agriculture that complements the industrialisation underway in Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. Pakistan plans to diversify its source of oil and gas supplies towards the Central Asian states including petroleum import contracts with Azerbaijan.[6]


The Economic Cooperation Organization was the successor organisation of what was the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD), founded in 1964, which ended activities in 1979. In 1985 Iran, Pakistan and Turkey joined to form the ECO. By the fall of 1992, the ECO expanded to include seven new members; Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The date of the expansion to its present strength, 28 November, is referred to as "ECO Day". The status and power of the ECO is growing. However, the organisation faces many challenges. Most importantly, the member states are lacking appropriate infrastructure and institutions which the Organization is primarily seeking to develop, to make full use of the available resources in the region and provide sustainable development for the member nations. The Economic Cooperation Organisation Trade Agreement (ECOTA) was signed on 17 July 2003 in Islamabad.[7] ECO Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) is a new organization for trade promotion among member states located in Iran (2009).[8] Under the agreement reached between ECO members, the common trade market should be established by 2015.[1]

Official names

The official working languages of the Economic Cooperation Organization is English. The official names of the organization are:

  • Azeri: İqtisadi Əməkdaşlıq Təşkilatı
  • Persian: سازمان همکاری اقتصادی
  • Kyrgyz: Экономикалык Кызматташтык Уюму
  • Urdu: اقتصادی تعاون تنظیم
  • Turkish: Ekonomik İşbirliği Teşkilatı
  • Kazakh: Экономикалық ынтымақтастық ұйымы
  • Tajik: Созмони Ҳамкории Иқтисодӣ
  • Uzbek: Iqtisodiy Hamkorlik Tashkiloti
  • Pashto:د اقتصادي همکاريو سازمان

Objectives & Principles of Cooperation

  • Sustainable economic development of Member States;
  • Progressive removal of trade barriers and promotion of intra- regional trade; Greater role of ECO region in the growth of world trade; Gradual integration of the economies of the Member States with the world economy;
  • Development of transport & communications infrastructure linking the Member States with each other and with the outside world;
  • Economic liberalization and privatization;
  • Mobilization and utilization of ECO region's material resources;
  • Effective utilization of the agricultural and industrial potentials of ECO region.
  • Regional cooperation for drug abuse control, ecological and environmental protection and strengthening of historical and cultural ties among the peoples of the ECO region; and
  • Mutually beneficial cooperation with regional and international organizations.
  • Sovereign equality of the Member States and mutual advantage;
  • Linking of national economic, development plans with ECO's immediate and long-term objectives to the extent possible;
  • Joint efforts to gain freer access to markets outside the ECO region for the raw materials and finished products of the Member States;
  • Effective utilization of ECO institutions, agreements and cooperative arrangements with other regional and international organizations including multilateral financial institutions;
  • Common endeavors to develop a harmonized approach for participation in regional and global arrangements;
  • Realization of economic cooperation strategy; and Exchanges in educational, scientific, technical and cultural fields


Full members

Official Name
Area (km²)
(per km²)
GDP (2016)(nominal)[9]
GDP (2016)
(per capita)

Official languages
Template:Flagicon Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Kabul Template:Nts Template:Nts {{#expr: 27657145 / 647500 round 1}} $Template:Nts million $Template:Nts Afghani Dari, Pashto
Template:Flagicon Republic of Azerbaijan Baku Template:Nts Template:Nts {{#expr: 9802000 / 86600 round 1}} $Template:Nts million $Template:Nts Manat Azerbaijani, Russian (interethnic)
Template:Flagicon Islamic Republic of Iran Tehran Template:Nts Template:Nts {{#expr: 78859600 / 1648195 round 1}} $Template:Nts million $Template:Nts Rial Persian
Template:Flagicon Republic of Kazakhstan Astana Template:Nts Template:Nts {{#expr: 17926500 / 2724900 round 1}} $Template:Nts million $Template:Nts Tenge Kazakh, Russian
Template:Flagicon Kyrgyz Republic Bishkek Template:Nts Template:Nts {{#expr: 6120400 / 199900 round 1}} $Template:Nts million $Template:Nts Som Kyrgyz, Russian
Template:Flagicon Islamic Republic of Pakistan Islamabad Template:Nts Template:Nts {{#expr: 196358000 / 796095 round 1}} $Template:Nts million $Template:Nts Rupee Urdu, English
Template:Flagicon Republic of Tajikistan Dushanbe Template:Nts Template:Nts {{#expr: 8551000 / 143100 round 1}} $Template:Nts million $Template:Nts Somoni Tajik, Russian (interethnic)
Template:Flagicon Republic of Turkey Ankara Template:Nts Template:Nts {{#expr: 79814871 / 783562 round 1}} $Template:Nts million $Template:Nts Lira Turkish
Template:Flagicon Turkmenistan Ashgabat Template:Nts Template:Nts {{#expr: 4751120 / 488100 round 1}} $Template:Nts million $Template:Nts Manat Turkmen, Russian (interethnic)
Template:Flagicon Republic of Uzbekistan Tashkent Template:Nts Template:Nts {{#expr: 32121000/ 447400 round 1}} $Template:Nts million $Template:Nts Som Uzbek, Russian (interethnic)



Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers (COM) is the highest policy and decision-making body and is composed of the various Ministers of Foreign Affairs or such other representatives of the ministerial rank as may be designated by the respective governments. The COM meets at least once a year by rotation among the member states.

Council of Permanent Representatives

The Council of Permanent Representatives (CPR) consists of the Permanent Representatives/Ambassadors of the member states accredited to the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as to the ECO and the Director General for ECO Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Regional Planning Council

The Regional Planning Council (RPC) is composed of the Head of the Planning Organization of member states or such other representatives of corresponding authorities.

General Secretariat

The General Secretariat (GS) consists of six directorates under the supervision of the Secretary General and his deputies. Two specialized agencies and six regional institutes are acting under the supervision of the GS.


Activities of ECO are conducted through directorates under the supervision of Secretary General and his Deputies which considered and evolve projects and programs of mutual benefit in the fields of:

  • Trade and Investment
  • Transport and Telecommunications
  • Energy, Minerals and Environment
  • Agriculture, Industry and Tourism
  • Human Resources & Sustainable Development
  • Project & Economic Research and Statistics

Summits and General Secretaries

List of summits

Heads of State
Meeting Date Country Location
1st February, 16-17 1992 Template:IRN Tehran
2nd 6-7 May 1993 Template:TUR Istanbul
3rd 14-15 May 1995 Template:PAK Islamabad
4th 14 May 1996 Template:TKM Ashgabat
Extraordinary 14 May 1997 Template:TKM Ashgabat
5th 11 May 1998 Template:KAZ Almaty
6th 10 June 2000 Template:IRN Tehran
7th 14 October 2002 Template:TUR Istanbul
8th 14 September 2004 Template:TJK Dushanbe
9th 5 May 2006 Template:AZE Baku
10th 11 March 2009 Template:IRN Tehran
11th 23 December 2010 Template:TUR Istanbul
12th 16 October 2012 Template:AZE Baku
13th 1 March 2017 [12][13] Template:PAK Islamabad

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List of General Secretaries

# Name Nationality Period
1 Alireza Salari[14] Template:Flagicon August 1988 - July 1992
2 Shamshad Ahmad Template:Flagicon August 1992 - July 1996
3 Onder Ozar Template:Flagicon August 1996 - July 2000
4 Template:Interlanguage link multi Template:Flagicon August 2000 - July 2002
5 Seyed Mojtaba Arastou Template:Flagicon August 2002 - July 2003
6 Bekzhassar Narbayev Template:Flagicon August 2003 - January 2004
7 Askhat Orazbay Template:Flagicon February 2004 - July 2006
8 Khurshid Anwar Template:Flagicon August 2006 - July 2009
9 Yahya Maroofi Template:Flagicon August 2009 - July 2012
10 Shamil Alaskerov Template:Flagicon August 2012 - July 2015
11 Halil İbrahim Akça Template:Flagicon August 2015 - July 2018
source ECO Secretaries General

Regional Institutions & Agencies

File:10th ECO Summit Azerbaijan.jpg
Azerbaijani stamp celebrating the 10th ECO summit in Azerbaijan.

ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industry

ECO-CCI was established on 10 June 1993. Its objectives are to contribute to enhance economic cooperation and relations in trade, industry, agriculture, tourism, contracting, engineering and banking sectors as well as to realize joint investments among the Member States. National Chambers of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkey are member of ECO-CCI. The 7th General Assembly Meeting of ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECO-CCI), held on 20 April 2004 in Kabul, Afghanistan. The participating member states offered some proposals for developing new mechanism and modalities for better interaction between member chambers and to re-activate ECO-CCI.

ECO Reinsurance Company

In March 1995, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey agreed to establish ECO Reinsurance Company. The purpose is supplement the existing reinsurance services in the region, promote growth of the national underwriting and retention capacities, minimize the outflow of foreign exchange from the region and to support economic development in the region. The three member countries decided to form a Trilateral Interim Committee to pave the way for the establishment of this important institution. The Trilateral Interim Committee in its various meetings reviewed the relevant issues such as the development of the business plan and signing of the Articles of Agreement already finalized by a group of Experts from the three founding member countries.[15]

ECO Consultancy & Engineering Company

Governments of all the ECO Member States has established a central resource pool in the shape of ECO Consultancy and Engineering Company (Pvt.) Ltd., or ECO-CEC, to assist in the development projects sponsored by ECO Member States or by its Trade and Development Bank. The founder States are Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Republic of Turkey which hold an equal share in ECO-CEC, Turkey being represented by two companies and Iran and Pakistan, by one each. The Iranian and Turkish Companies specialize mainly in oil and gas pipelines, refineries, petrochemical and industrial engineering, while the Pakistani partner in all other fields of development engineering, including communications, power, urban development public health, telecommunications, water resources development and agriculture. ECO-CEC provides its expertise in the entire range of consultancy operations, starting from conception, project planning and appraisal, through pre-feasibility, feasibility and financial studies, investigation and exploration, site selection to engineering design, material and equipment specifications, construction supervision, contract management, quality control and preparation of technical manuals for the operation and maintenance of the projects.

ECO Trade and Development Bank

The Economic Cooperation Organization Trade and Development Bank (ETDB) was established by the three founding members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in 2005 which are the Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Republic of Turkey. The Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Kyrgyz Republic became the member of the ETDB in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.

As of 31 December 2015, the paid in share capital of the ETDB was SDR 310,870 thousand since Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan are in process of payment of their paid-in capital contributions.

The Bank has successfully started its operations in 2008. Its headquarters is in Istanbul (Turkey) and representative offices are in Karachi (Pakistan) and Tehran (Iran). The primary objective of the Bank is to provide financial resources for projects and programmes in member countries. The Bank offers a range of medium-to-long term products i.e. project finance, corporate finance, trade finance and loans to support small and medium-sized enterprises directly or through financial intermediaries to private and state owned entities.

ECO Cultural Institute (ECI)

ECO Cultural Institute (ECI) is affiliated with ECO and aims at fostering understanding and the preservation of the rich cultural heritage of its members through common projects in the field of the media, literature, art, philosophy, sport and education.[16]


  • ECO Supreme Audit Institutions
  • ECO Cultural Institute
  • ECO Science Foundation
  • ECO Educational Institute
  • ECO Drug Control Coordination Unit
  • ECO Trade promotion Unit
  • ECO Post
  • ECO Shipping Company

Relationship with other organizations

All the ECO states are also member-states of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), while ECO itself has observer status in the OIC since 1995. Template:Supranational Islamic Bodies


See also



External links


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