The 23rd Meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Council of Ministers (COM) was convened in Dushanbe on April 16.  The delegates from all the Member States, observers (Turkish Cypriot State, Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States and Energy Charter) and the ECO Specialized Agencies/Regional Institutions/Affiliated Bodies, including among others ECO Cultural Institute (ECI), ECO Educational Institute (ECO-EI), ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) and ECO Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ECO-IEST) attended the Meeting.

In the opening ceremony, ECO Secretary General Ambassador Halil İbrahim Akça highlighted the significance of the “ECO Vision 2025” adopted at 13th ECO Summit, held Islamabad on March 1, 2017, according to the ECO’s website.

He reportedly also reminded that the 13th ECO Summit tasked the ECO to take necessary and effective measures to achieve the vision targets.  He also emphasized that ECO reforms will facilitate the efficient functioning of the Secretariat. On the issue of the reconstruction of Afghanistan, the Secretary General expressed that it is a major concern for ECO that is reflected in the New ECO Advocacy Program for Afghanistan, which is proposed at this meeting.

As per the ECO rules Ismatullo Nasreddin, the head of the delegation of Tajikistan, which is the Host Country, was elected as the Chairman of the SOM.

In his statement Nasreddin welcomed the delegates and underscored the need for regional cooperation among ECO member States for boosting regional trade activities, economic integration and energy security as well as synergic cooperation in cultural and tourism spheres in the context of ECO Vision 2025, which would lead to economic prosperity, social development and sustainable development in the region.

The Ministerial segment of the Council was held on April 17, 2018. 

The meeting reportedly reviewed progress made since the 22nd COM held in Islamabad on February 28, 2017.

The meeting also discussed the developments of the ECO since its expansion and exchanged views on the possible reforms needed for keeping pace with the evolving requirements of regional cooperation, the statement said.

In a statement delivered at the meeting, Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Aslov underlined the significance of cooperation between the ECO member nations in the fields of commerce, transportation, investment and tourism, according to the Tajik MFA information department.

Tajik minister called on the ECO member nations to continue making contribution to implementation of joint regional projects.

Aslov also noted that the main spheres of cooperation of Tajikistan with the ECO member nations agreed with goals and objectives of the ECO Vision 2025 and Tajikistan National Development Strategy for the Period to 2030, and therefore, he considered it expedient to take joint measures to implement those goals and objectives.  

The meeting resulted in adoption of the Dushanbe communiqué, which reinforced the importance of regional connectivity for regional development in order to transform the ECO into a vibrant prosperous and progressive region. The meeting participants renewed their commitment to promoting regional economic integration among the ECO member states and resolved to play an active role in the realization of the organization’s aims and objectives.