The Midterm Meeting of the ECO Regional Planning Council (RPC) was held virtually on July 28, 2021. The Representatives of the ECO Member States and ECO Observers participated in the event. The ECO Secretary General, H.E. Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour and Chairman of the CPR, H.E. Mr. Ahmet Gurbanov, as well as ECO Deputies Secretary General, relevant Directors and Program Officers also attended the meeting.
While inaugurating the event, the ECO Secretary General, H.E. Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour welcomed the event’s participants. Highlighting the RPC’s actual mandate, Dr. Soleimanpour noted that this particular midterm meeting would review and adjust the year 2021’s activities and engagements of the organization in special consideration of the COVID-19 and the post-pandemic conditions that obliged a shift in the global and regional working methods.
The Secretary General underlined that ECO was able to successfully hold several ministerial and experts group meetings of regional significance within the first half of 2021, particularly the 14th ECO Summit on March 4, as well as 2nd General Conference of the Parliamentary Assembly of ECO Countries (PAECO) on June 1,“3 at Islamabad. He further stated that the 15th ECO Summit to be preceded by 25th Meeting of the ECO Council of Ministers (COM) would be held in the last week of November this year. Citing the ECO’s recently adopted project-oriented approach, he underlined that this outreach appeared to bear notable results, especially increasing the number of small-sized projects to gratify the concept of making the ECO a more project-and-result-oriented economic forum. He mentioned that the ECO Secretariat was further endeavouring to ensure smooth compliance of the useful ideas and proposals expressed by Heads of State/Government of the Member States during 14th Summit for a greater regional integration. Dr. Soleimanpour briefed the meeting about sector-wise implementation of some ECO projects, stressing that in the recent years the projects’ execution rate has significantly increased. In this regard, he conveyed details of a few small-sized completed, ongoing and proposed projects, adding that efforts were being made to expand the scope and number of small-sized projects.
The Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan and the Chairman of Midterm RPC, H.E. Mr. Toyli Malikov underscored that activities within the ECO had notably increased in recent years, bearing positive impact on ECO’s efforts for expanded regional cooperation. Nevertheless, he emphasized on the significant potential of the region, especially in economic, trade, transport, energy and investment areas that he considered necessary to be utilized to attain the developmental goals of ECO Vision 2025. He further accentuated that maximized collective and sustainable efforts of the member states could help enable the regional economy to recover from the post-pandemic state of rigidity.
While reviewing sector-wise activities of the organization, the meeting took into account the progress report on the ECO Work Program and Calendar of Events 2021 that contained ECO priority areas of development, including (i) trade & investment (ii) transport & communication (iii) energy, mineral & Environment (iv) agriculture & industry (v) tourism (vi) economic research & statistics (vii) human resources & sustainable development (viii) judicial & parliamentary coordination and ECO Advocacy Program for Afghanistan (ix) ECO Regional Institutions/Specialized Agencies/Affiliated Bodies and International Relations. The reviewed Work Program and Calendar of Events 2021, based on updates/suggestions of the member countries, were also adopted during the midterm RPC event.