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    • Visit of European Commission's Delegation to the ECO Secretariat
      Visit of European Commission's Delegation to the ECO Secretariat
      A three member delegation of the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) led by Mr. Micha Ramakers, Deputy Head of Unit, Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia, DG-DEVCO, visited ECO Secretariat on 18 April 2019 for paving a way to strengthen cooperative relations between the two organizations.
      At the very outset, the Deputy Secretary General of ECO, Ambassador Dr. Huseyin Avni Bicakli, welcomed the visiting delegation to the ECO Secretariat. Ambassador Bicakli briefed the visiting delegation about historical background of ECO as well as ongoing activities of the Organization. He informed the delegation about the ECO Vision 2025 and explained the strategic goals of the Vision in six priority areas of cooperation. During the joint working meeting, International Relations Unit of the ECO provided an overview of ECO Cooperative relations with international and regional organizations.On the occasion, the delegation of European Commission was briefed by concerned officials of the ECO Secretariat about the different areas in which ECO is promoting cooperation among the member states, including transport and communications, trade and investment, agriculture and industrial development, energy and environment, human resource development, economic research, Information Technology and Anti-narcotics and Trafficking.
      The Head of the European Commission delegation, Mr. Micha Ramakers, thanked the ECO side for providing such a detailed and informative briefing covering all the major activities of the organization. He underlined the scope of ECO for its tremendous potential for regional development in various fields. On his part, he briefed about the major activities of the European Commission and mentioned possibilities of joint activities in various fields of mutual interest including Connectivity/Infrastructure, Disaster Risk Reduction, Regional Electricity Market and Trade Facilitation Measures.
      At the end of the joint working meeting, Ambassador Bicakli thanked the European Commission’s delegation for their visit of ECO Secretariat and promised the delegation to share a preliminary paper containing proposals on the potential fields of cooperation between the two organizations.
      Later on, European Commission's delegation met with the Secretary General of the ECO, H.E. Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour, in his office. The ECO Secretary General briefed the delegation about the priorities, objectives and mission of the organization for promoting economic solidarity in the region. He informed the delegation that ECO is a geo-economic organization and there are various areas of mutual interest where both the organizations could reciprocally contribute to accomplish their respective objectives.
      Dr. Soleimanpour appreciated the growing role of the European Commission in promoting economic development and social change in different regions of the world. In this regard, he highlighted the possible scenarios for future cooperation of the two organizations. He specifically mentioned scope of joint projects in regional connectivity, disaster risk reduction, sustainable clean energy and climate change. The ECO Secretary General also offered cooperation in European Commission's Programmes for Central Asia, restructuring of Afghanistan and combating drug production & trafficking. He also invited the attention of the visiting delegation on specific activities for capacity building/development of the organization in achieving mutual objectives in the ECO region. Taking note of the convergence in objectives of the two organizations, Secretary General stressed on the need to adopt necessary measures to develop a mechanism for enhanced cooperation between the two organizations in the coming period.
      The Head of the European Commission's delegation, Mr. Micha Ramakers thanked ECO Secretary General for providing detailed information about the Organization and its activities. He also appreciated the initiatives launched by ECO in different sectors aimed at promoting economic cooperation and regional integration among the member states. He stated some of the areas of possible cooperation for which there existed a lot of scope and complementarities and in this regard he share the ECO Secretary General’s view on potential joint activities in regional connectivity, disaster risk reduction, sustainable clean energy, restructuring of Afghanistan and combating drug production & trafficking. He further expressed his views that both organizations can benefit from their respective expertise and potential in the mentioned areas to achieve the common objective of socio-economic development in the region and beyond.
      In their concluding remarks, the two sides expressed a strong desire to strengthen the cooperative relationship between them and exchanged focal points for further communication to identify possible joint projects/programmes in future.
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