What is an Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO)?
Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) is an intergovernmental regional organization which was established in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. It was preceded by the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD), which was established in 1964 by these same countries. The RCD remained in operation till 1979. The governing document is the
A Little More About the Economic Cooperation Organization
The purpose of the organization is to collaborate in the following fields.
• Trade and Investment
• Transport and Telecommunications
• Energy, Minerals and Environment
• Agriculture, Industry and Tourism
• Human Resources & Sustainable Development
• Project & Economic Research and Statistics
It seeks to enhance economic development of member states by promoting trade, energy and cultural ties among its member states. While the ECO is plagued by a lack of organization and structure, its international reputation is growing and it seeks to accelerate economic prospects of these nations.
Becoming a Member of the ECO
“Any State enjoying geographical contiguity with the ECO region and/or sharing the objectives and principles of ECO may apply to become a member of the Organization” (Treaty of Izmir).
At its inception, the ECO had only 3 members — Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. But the number of its member increases after the collapse of USSR. Today, it has ten members spanning from west Asia, South Asia, the Caucuses and Central Asia. In 1992, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and six former Soviet Republics, namely, Republic of Kyrgyz, Republic of Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Republic of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Republic of Uzbekistan became members of ECO.
The observing members are: Northern Cyprus, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Turkic Council, and Energy Charter.
What is the Economic Cooperation Organization’s Structure?
The organizational structure is as follows:
• Council of Ministers – The Council of Ministers composed of the foreign ministers of member states. They meet at least once in a year. It’s the decision-making and policy-making body. The member states’ ministers may propose any action or project in the meetings.
• Council of Permanent Representatives – The Council of Permanent Representative includes ambassadors of member countries. They meet as often as is necessary.
• Regional Planning Council – The Regional Planning Council consists of the heads of the planning organizations of its member states. They meet once a year before annual the meeting of the Council of Ministers. They plan and recommend policies, guidelines and strategies pursuant to the guidelines of the Council of Ministers and the Treaty of Izmir.
• General Secretariat – The General Secretariat (GS) consists of six directorates. Each of these directorates is under the supervision of the Secretary General. The GS consists of two specialized agencies and six regional institutes. The six ECO Directorates are as follows:
⁃ Industry & Agriculture
⁃ Trade & Investment
⁃ Energy, Mineral & Environment
⁃ Transport & Communications
⁃ Economic Research & Statistics
⁃ Project Research & Development