Economic Cooperation Organization

The ECO Secretariat in partnership with the Chairmanship of the Republic of Azerbaijan in ECO jointly organized the International Roundtable “New horizons for enhanced regional cooperation in the field of minerals” on 26 October in Baku. The Roundtable was held in a hybrid format on the margins of the International Geology and Mining Forum.

The Roundtable brought together around 30 participants of the aforementioned forum, including policymakers, delegates of international organizations, research scientists and other representatives from academia, businesses, as well as other stakeholders engaged in geology and mining. The delegates from the ECO Member States, namely Azerbaijan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Türkiye and Uzbekistan also participated in the event.
The meeting was inaugurated by Mr. Mukhtar Babayev, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Ambassador Hüseyin Avni Bıçaklı, Deputy Secretary General of ECO. In his opening remarks, Minister Babayev briefed about the importance the Chairmanship of Azerbaijan attaches to supporting just, sustainable and green transition in the ECO Region. In this vein, he recalled the Ministerial Meeting on Environment, expected to be organized on 9 December 2023 on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai, as well as highlighted the new Regional Initiative on Resource Efficiency, Sustainability and Circular Economy in the ECO Region (RESCUE) as a possible regional cooperation platform that will advocate for this transition.
In his welcoming speech, Ambassador Bıçaklı emphasized the resolve by ECO to the consolidation of efforts and overcoming fragmented approaches among the Member States in view of the multiple complex challenges confronted by the minerals sector. In this regard, he characterized ECO as an inclusive forum to address renewed mechanisms and solutions for enhancement of regional cooperation in the minerals sector with the strong focus on just, resource-efficient and sustainable transition. Ambassador Bıçaklı pointed out that despite availing enormous mineral resources and several full-fledged platforms to unfold these ample opportunities, there is a dire need for ECO in streamlining the project-oriented cooperation in this sector.
The Roundtable was proceeded by several impressive presentations, notably on “Integrating circular economy concepts into the mining sector and critical materials” by Mr. Alan Young, Co-Director of Materials Efficiency Research Group (MERG), “Role of international organizations in enabling just transition and resource-efficient policies: Showcase project of Harnessing Critical Energy Transition Minerals for Sustainable Development in LDCs and LLDCs” by Mr. Hari Tulsidas from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), “International cooperation and outreach opportunities for regional organizations in the field of minerals” by Mr. Fuad Farzalibeyov, ECO Director of Energy, Minerals and Environment, and “International cooperation for metal resourcing and green transition” by Mr. Anar Valiyev from Azerbaijan International Mining Company.
In the end of the event, the interactive dialogue among participants was undertaken to stimulate discussions on ways and solutions how international organizations could facilitate regional cooperation. The roundtable produced key policy recommendations on enhancement of regional cooperation and addressing the critical challenges for engagements with international partners based on the best and inspiring examples worldwide.