09 November 2023

The ECO summit was held under the chairmanship of the President of Uzbekistan

On November 9, the 16th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization was held in the city of Tashkent under the motto “Together for economic stability and development”, the press service of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan reports.

The event, chaired by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, was attended by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ibrahim Raisi, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, the President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov , Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Anwar ul-Haq Kakar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Alikhan Smailov and ECO Secretary General Khusraw Noziri.

In accordance with the agenda, the prospects for multifaceted cooperation within the ECO and taking it to a new level were discussed, and a detailed exchange of views took place on current international and regional issues.

Opening the summit, the President of Uzbekistan expressed sincere gratitude to the distinguished guests for participating in such an important event, which confirms the common aspirations to expand comprehensive and mutually beneficial cooperation.

It was emphasized that the member states of the organization are inextricably linked by a common history and religion, rich culture and similarity of values.

As the head of our state noted, the ECO space, which covers a half-billion population and has one-third of the world’s energy resources, has enormous potential for expanding ties in the trade, economic, industrial sphere, in the field of investment, innovation and transport.

The progressive dynamics of cooperation within the organization in recent years and the consistent implementation of proposals and initiatives voiced at the summit in Ashgabat in 2021 were noted with satisfaction.

In particular, systematic work is being carried out to reform and improve the efficiency of the Organization’s activities and increase its authority in the international arena. The Tashkent Declaration of Transport Ministers was recently adopted, and practical work is being carried out to create a regional electricity market, as well as a Clean Energy Center in the city of Baku. A high-level dialogue platform on environmental issues has been created, a network of tour operators has been formed, and a program for the development of safe tourism has been approved.

At the same time, the head of Uzbekistan pointed out the great untapped potential for expanding comprehensive cooperation between the member states of the Organization. For example, last year trade between ECO countries was $85 billion, representing just 8 percent of their total foreign trade.

Many years of attempts to conclude an agreement on preferential trade have not yielded the expected results, and many other restrictions and obstacles to the formation of unhindered trade remain.

In order to give a new impetus to the development of cooperation within the ECO, the President of Uzbekistan proposed developing a new conceptual document “Strategic Goals of Economic Cooperation – 2035”.

In this important document, it is necessary to pay attention to such main areas as stimulating mutual trade, strengthening transport and communication interconnectedness, enhancing industrial cooperation, ensuring energy security, combating climate change, deepening cooperation in the field of tourism and cultural and humanitarian exchanges.

The head of our state called for the adoption of an Agreement on Trade Facilitation, in which special attention is paid to facilitating trade in goods and services, preventing technical and non-tariff barriers, digitalization of customs, phytosanitary and veterinary rules, and the development of e-commerce. According to preliminary calculations, thanks to these measures, by 2035 it is possible to achieve at least a twofold increase in mutual trade volumes.

Noting that the majority of member states of the organization do not have direct access to the sea, the President of Uzbekistan pointed out the importance of using the full potential of transcontinental transport corridors, launching multimodal corridors along the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan route and the Trans-Afghan Road.

The leader of our country also called on other members of the organization to join the document on the development of the transport corridor “Uzbekistan – Turkmenistan – Iran – Turkey”, adopted on November 2 in Tashkent at a meeting of ministers of transport, optimization of mutual tariffs and fees.

In order to widely introduce digitalization of cargo transportation data and effective coordination of such modern systems, the creation of the ECO Digital Transport and Customs Office in Tashkent was initiated.

The head of Uzbekistan noted the importance of adopting a Program of Joint Action to increase the flow and protection of mutual investments and deepening industrial cooperation, creating an Interregional Industrial Exhibition with its first event to be held in 2024 in Uzbekistan.

He also advocated expanding partnerships with the Organization’s Trade and Development Bank.

As part of ensuring energy security, the increasing importance of harmonizing national energy strategies, developing interregional energy transmission networks, and widespread introduction of “green” energy technologies is pointed out. To establish systematic cooperation in this area, it was proposed to establish a Council of Ministers of Energy of the ECO.

In connection with growing climate challenges, the President of Uzbekistan emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation in the fight against climate change and environmental protection. It is proposed to hold, within the framework of the upcoming Samarkand Climate Forum in 2024, the first conference of the ECO High-Level Platform on Environmental Issues, created at the initiative of Uzbekistan.

The leader of our country called on representatives of member countries of the Organization to actively participate in the meeting of the Committee to Review the Implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, which will be held in Uzbekistan this coming week, as well as to support the Samarkand Declaration on combating dust storms.

Considering the huge potential for cooperation in the field of tourism and the growing popularity of cross-border destinations, it is proposed to introduce joint tourist routes and increase common tourism programs under the “Silk Road” brand.

The head of state also made a proposal to create an Advisory Committee on Tourism at the ECO Secretariat, consisting of tourism administrations and leading experts of member countries, as well as to hold its first meeting in the city of Shakhrisabz, declared the tourism capital of the organization.

Noting the importance of deepening cultural and humanitarian cooperation for further bringing together the peoples of the ECO member countries, the President of Uzbekistan initiated the annual holding of weeks of culture, art and cinema, the establishment of youth creative festivals and an innovative cooperation platform, and strengthening interaction in fundamental scientific areas.

In his speech, the head of state also touched upon pressing international and regional problems, in particular the situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan. He called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip, the start of peace negotiations and the achievement of a reasonable compromise. Once again he expressed his firm position on supporting the right of the people of Palestine to create their own independent state, confirmed by UN resolutions.

The President of Uzbekistan also called for an increase in humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, solving acute socio-economic problems in this country on the basis of collective responsibility and acceptable mechanisms. As he noted, the active involvement of Afghanistan, which is also a member of the ECO, in regional integration processes is a necessary condition for the sustainable development of the region.

The heads of delegations of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and ECO Secretary General Khusrav Noziri also spoke at the summit.

In accordance with the agenda, the President of Uzbekistan, as chairman of the summit, announced the winners of the Organization’s award for achievements in science. They were one representative from each country.

Following the event, the Tashkent Communiqué was adopted.

The chairmanship of the ECO passed to Iran, and Azerbaijan was determined to host the next summit.