A senior officials’ meeting (SOM) of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) opened in Dushanbe today.  This meeting precedes the 23rd session of the ECO Council of Foreign Ministers. 

According to the Tajik MFA information department, the ECO Council of Foreign Ministers will meet here tomorrow and it will discuss issues related to the process of implementation of agreements concluded between the ECO member nations, relations between the ECO Secretariat and international organizations, activities of specialized agencies and affiliated bodies of the ECO, the progress and evaluation of implementation of goals and objectives determined by the ECO Vision 2025, adoption of a new ECO program on supporting Afghanistan, as well as a number of administrative and financial issues.

A two-day exhibition of  folk crafts of ECO member nations is taking place in Dushanbe’s Boghi Iram from April 16-17.  

Tajikistan has assumed rotating chairmanship in the Economic Cooperation Organization this year.  

The Economic Cooperation Organization or ECO 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 organization under the United Nations Charter (Chap. VIII).  The objective is to establish a single market for goods and services, much like the European Union.  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.