The Fourth Ministerial Meeting on Health was virtually hosted by the Islamic Republic of Iran on June 2, 2021. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Dr. Saeed Namaki, the honourable Minister of Health and Education of Iran. The relevant ECO Ministers/Deputy Ministers, high-level Representatives of the Member States, WHO Representatives, ECO Secretary General, H.E. Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour and his delegation participated in the Meeting.
While inaugurating the event, the ECO Secretary General appreciated and thanked the host authorities for making excellent arrangements to organize the Meeting. He underscored that the importance of the Ministerial event was increased manifolds due to the conditions taking place after the outbreak of COVID-19. Dr. Soleimanpour noted that the post pandemic situation had slowed down the overall development in the ECO region, affecting smooth social economic progress of the Member States. He also highlighted, inter alia, some post-pandemic steps taken by the ECO Secretariat to address the most immediate requirements of the region, including the release of a concise preliminary assessment concerning the potential impacts of COVID-19 on region’s economy, as well as ECO Practical Guidelines on Cross Border Facilitation Measures under conditions of COVID-19 to facilitate smooth intra-regional movement of goods, especially food and medicines.
While chairing the meeting, the Minister of health and Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran H.E. Dr. S. Namaki recalled that the ECO had already achieved many significant milestones in its work for regional development through joint efforts, building on the Member States’ close cultural ties, shared historical past, and coordinated plans for future. He emphasized on the importance of the meeting which was aimed at implementing practical cooperation and strengthening the health infrastructure particularly among the ECO Member States by establishing unique and feasible cross border protocols. Considering, the overwhelming global impacts of COVID-19, the Minister noted an ever stronger and expanded collaboration amongst the countries to figure out a mutual solution of a common problem.
The meeting featured various aspects of the pandemic, exploring certain ways and means to address the associated regional health issues as well as a joint course of action to prepare a regional mechanism to collectively respond to the ongoing health crises, preempting such future conditions. Relevantly, the Meeting adopted the “Tehran Declaration” as well as a “Plan of Action on Health Cooperation in ECO Region 2021-2022″. The adopted Declaration stresses the need for an enhanced collaboration among the Member States and expansion of scope of their mutual activities and engagements to upgrade and improve regional health sector. Moreover, the approved Plan of Action is to pursue the health objectives in accordance with Treaty of Izmir and ECO Vision 2025.