The “2nd Meeting of the ECO Heads of National Organizations/Centers for Civil Registration” was held on 17 October 2017 in Istanbul. The Meeting was attended by delegations from 9 ECO Member States, namely, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Republic of Azerbaijan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkey and Republic of Uzbekistan.
In the opening session, statements were delivered by Mr. Sinan Guner, Director General of Population and Citizenship Affairs of Turkey (who also chaired the Meeting), ECO Secretary General Halil Ibrahim Akca and Mr. Mehmet Ersoy, Deputy Minister of Interior of Turkey. In his statement, ECO Secretary General expressed his profound gratitude to the people and the Government of Republic of Turkey, particularly to H.E. Mr. Suleyman Soylu, the Honourable Minister of Interior, for providing warm hospitality and making the excellent arrangements for this important meeting in the beautiful and historical city of Istanbul. He presented an overview on ECO activities, including the recently adopted “ECO Vision 2025”. ECO Secretary General referred to the 6 priorities of the Vision and underscored that success in implementation of the programmes and actions of the Vision necessitates a range of people-centred services. He defined civil registration as an area of cooperation which can yield critical people-related services for human development dividend.
During a day-long meeting, the heads/officials of national civil registration organizations/centers of the Member States discussed regional cooperation in the areas such as civil status registration and best E-government practices; technological and educational cooperation among ECO civil registration organizations; sharing best practices and experiences in Geographic Information Systems; sharing best practices and experience on ID Cards; verification of citizens’ identity in production and release of statistical data; etc.
The participating countries agreed to work towards, among others, establishment of online regional demographic dashboard; publication of ECO civil registration data yearbook; conducting a study using technical assistance of the relevant international organizations such as UNFPA to assess the existing civil registration systems of the Member States with a view to their further improvement; preparation of the ECO statistical data sheet; exchange of documented experiences in the field of issuance of Smart-Card considering the biometric parameters; working closely on the issue of non-registered citizens and migrants to decrease the risk of fraud and other negative impacts of these non-registered individuals; etc.
The Meeting also decided to establish a task group of high level registration experts to develop necessary frameworks for realization of regional cooperation in the above areas. ECO Secretariat was requested by the Meeting to develop a project/programme for implementation of the agreed measures and submit it to the relevant ECO bodies for needed decisions and financial support.