Economic Cooperation Organization

A new basis for developing common approaches to addressing regional issues

The 16th ECO Summit will convene on November 9, 2023, in Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan.

A member of the organization since November 1992, independent Uzbekistan will host for the first time a multilateral summit within the framework of ECO.

In 2022, Uzbekistan chaired the ECO for the first time. Speaking at the 15th ECO Summit in Ashgabat on 28 November 2021, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev put forward proposals for cooperation in trade, investment, transport and “green” economy. “We need to more fully utilize the significant potential of our countries, which have a huge market with a population of over 500 million people, in the spheres of trade and investment,” he stressed at the summit. Accepting the chairmanship, the President said Uzbekistan favors the development of comprehensive relations within the ECO framework. In addition, at the summit in Ashgabat, President Mirziyoyev put forward an initiative on active joint development of “green” economy, wide introduction of resource-saving technologies in industrial sectors, and achievement of carbon neutrality.

Uzbekistan considers ECO as a platform for discussing ways to improve development and promote trade and investment opportunities in South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. Moreover, Uzbekistan advocates creation of interregional transit hubs, development of modern transport and road infrastructure, optimization of transport and transit tariffs, simplification of conditions for international freight and passenger traffic and introduction of digitalization in the transport industry.

Today, the ECO countries are the largest trade partners of Uzbekistan. According to the results of 2022, trade turnover between Uzbekistan and ECO countries totaled $12.3 billion, and in January-July 2023 – $5.8 billion.

Uzbekistan also supports joining efforts to develop common approaches and provide necessary assistance to Afghanistan. In this regard, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has put forward an initiative to consistently continue the implementation of major trade, transport and energy projects of regional significance jointly with Afghanistan in order to promote the economy of this country and support its people.

Since May 2018, there has been an intensification of Uzbekistan’s cooperation with ECO. At the same time, the participation of the Uzbek delegations in international events held under the auspices of ECO has been considerably intensified.

As a result of the meeting of the Ministers of Transport of the ECO Member States in December 2020, Uzbekistan’s initiative to include road and rail transport corridors “Central Asia-Afghanistan-Pakistan”, “Central Asia- Afghanistan-Iran”, “Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran” into the transport arteries of the ECO region was supported by all member countries of the organization and included in the final Declaration.

At the regular meeting of the ECO Regional Planning Council chaired by Uzbekistan on 17-26 January 2022, 2022 was declared the “Year of Strengthening Connectivity” in the ECO region upon Uzbekistan’s proposal.

ECO held more than 25 events during Uzbekistan’s chairmanship in ECO. In particular, the 7th meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture on 5-6 July 2022 and the 4th meeting of the Tourism Ministers on 13 December 2022, during which Shakhrisabz was selected as the ECO Tourism Capital in 2024, yielded significant achievements in enhancing regional cooperation in these sectors.

On 5 December 2022, the President of Uzbekistan signed the law “On Ratification of the Treaty of Izmir”, strengthening the legal basis for full membership in the Economic Cooperation Organization, as well as expanding opportunities for comprehensive cooperation with the Organization’s Member States.

On 24 January 2023, the 26th meeting of the ECO Council of Ministers of (COM) was held in Tashkent, which was attended for the first time by the foreign ministers of all member states of the organization. As a result, the Tashkent Communiqué was adopted.

It is also worth noting that ECO Secretary General Khusrav Noziri participated as an international observer at the presidential elections in October 2021, as well as at the Constitutional Referendum held in Uzbekistan on 30 April this year.

Holding the next ECO Summit in Tashkent will give a new impetus to Uzbekistan’s interaction with the ECO member states, create a new basis for the development of common approaches to addressing regional issues, and determine further key priorities of the organization on developing and strengthening regional economic cooperation for the benefit of all peoples inhabiting the vast ECO space.