The 7th ECO Ministerial Meeting, preceded by 6th High Level Experts Meeting (HLEM) on Agriculture, was hosted by the Republic of Uzbekistan in Tashkent on July 5-6, 2022. Delegations of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of Tأ¼rkiye, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan (Host) attended the meeting (s). The Turkish Cypriot State also participated in the meeting as an ECO Observer. The Representatives of FAO, ECO-RCC, ECOSA, and IOFS, as well as the delegation of ECO Secretariat headed by ECO Secretary General also attend the meeting (s).
The ministerial event was inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Jamshid Khodjaev, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Uzbekistan. In his opening remarks, he welcomed the distinguished delegates in Tashkent and thanked them for their participation in the Meeting. He underscored the essence of Uzbekistan’s policy and their notable measures to promote agricultural development through the implementation of relevant programs and projects in the country. He appreciated the rapidly developing relations with the ECO Member States and expressed his desire to further strengthen their bilateral and multilateral ties. He stressed that the climate change and environmental degradation appeared to bear negative impacts on agriculture development in the region, illuminating the issues relating to food security, agri-food systems and other concerned areas. Moreover, the Minister underscored the need for farming community to adapt to the rapid climate change in order to adjust their actions for the continuity of agricultural development.
The ECO Secretary General H.E. Ambassador Khusrav Noziri acknowledged the receptivity and valuable support of Uzbekistan for organizing the ministerial meeting in Tashkent that is aimed at making important decisions for ensuring smooth implementation of ECO’s agenda of agricultural cooperation in the region.
In his report to the meeting, the Secretary General conveyed that based on the relevant stipulations of ECO Vision 2025, the Organization is deeply dedicated and determined for the establishment of a robust institutional basis for a long-term cooperation with Member Countries, International Organizations and Financial Institutions to expedite the execution of regional/national projects for securing sustainable agricultural development in the region.
The ministerial meeting also mulled over certain aspects of food security, intensification of agricultural production and sustainable methods for agricultural development. Food security as well as ensuring food for all was considered as a major challenge for regional and global communities. Among others, the factors that affected food security across the globe included rapid inflation and instability in food prices, uncontrolled population, climate change and related impact on agricultural production, frequent migration, poverty, unemployment, lack of proper housing and access to healthcare as well as the undesirable conditions development in the aftermath of COVID-19, the meeting concluded. The participants agreed to resort to a more coordinated and synergic approach to jointly address the food security issues and challenges in the region.