13TH SUMMIT OF THE ECONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANIZATION (ECO ISLAMABAD) Islamabad
The 13th ECO Summit was held in Islamabad, Pakistan, on 1 March 2017. The Summit was chaired by H.E. Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan. The Summit was attended by H.E. Mr. IlhamAliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, H.E. Mr. Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, H.E. Mr. Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Mr. Recep TayyipErdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, President of Turkmenistan, H.E. Mr. Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Prime Minister of Kyrgyz Republic, H.E Mr. UlugbekRozukulov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, H.E. Mr. Askar Myrzakhmetov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan and H.E. Mr. Hazrat Omer Zhakhilwal Special Envoy of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
H.E. Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, was elected as the Chairman of the Summit. In his welcoming remarks, he highlighted the importance of the ECO region and appreciated ECO’s performance in various fields, reiterated the commitment of Government of Pakistan to the objectives of the Organization and expressed the hope that progress towards regional integration would be further accelerated to transform the lives of over half a billion people.
In their remarks at the Summit, the Heads of State/Government of the Member States underscored the need for expansion of cooperation in various fields under the framework of ECO and reaffirmed their support to the goals and objectives of the Organization.
The Heads of State/Government also reviewed the performance of the ECO, the progress made since the Baku Summit in 2012, and underlined the challenges and opportunities lying ahead, giving directions to pace up progress in various sectors.
The Summit was preceded by the Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) on 26-27 February 2017 and the 22ndCouncil of Ministers’ Meeting (COM) on 28 February 2017. H.E. Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, who had chaired the COM, submitted his report to the Summit on the deliberations of the 22nd COM. The Secretary General of ECO, Mr. Halil Ibrahim Akca, in his report to the Summit, outlined the performance of the Organization since the 12th ECO Summit held in Baku in 2012.
The major takeaways from the 13th ECO Summit include:
a. An understanding among member states to transform the ECO region into a zone of peace and collective prosperity. They underscored the intrinsic linkages between member states based on shared history, culture, geography and mutual common interests.
b. An emphasis by ECO member states to build and promote connectivity in sea, land and air transport, energy, trade as well as in cyberspace in order to give further impetus to intra-regional trade.
c. Enhanced regional cooperation in the energy sector, focusing on energy efficiency, energy infrastructure development, intra-regional energy trade and access to affordable energy.
d. Important steps to ease people-to-people contacts, as well as revive and rebuild historical connections and promote regional tourism.
e. Collective determination to face regional challenges together, such as extremism,terrorism and drug trafficking and addressunresolved conflicts, in order to realize the leaderships’ vision of making the region a zone of peace and prosperity.
f. Strengthened collaboration to address common regional and international developmental challenges including climate change, food security and energy sufficiency as well as disaster risk reduction through an emphasis on innovation, research and development and partnership in science and technology.
g. Cooperation for an effective implementation of the Agenda 2030.
During the Summit, ECO Awards 2017 were conferred on nationals of the ECO Member States. The awards were given in the field of Economics, History, Culture and Fine Arts, Science and Technology, Education, Agriculture and Environment.
The Summit unanimously adopted the Islamabad Declaration 2017 that represents the collective political will of Member States to focus on connectivity of energy, infrastructure, transport, and trade for regional prosperity. Another important outcome of the Summit is ECO Vision 2025 which provides guidelines to the Organization in all spheres of ECO activity.