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Dated : 15 December 2017
The 28th Meeting of the Regional Planning Council (RPC) of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) was held from 11th to 14th December 2017 at Islamabad-Pakistan. The Meeting was attended by Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz, Pakistan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan. The Turkish Cypriot State and the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States attended the meeting as Observers. The ECO Specialized Agencies, Regional Institutions and Affiliated Bodies were also present during the meeting. The delegation of the ECO Secretariat was led by the ECO Secretary General, Ambassador Halil Ibrahim Akca.
The Senior Officials Meeting and the Committee Meetings of the RPC were held from 11th to 13th December 2017. The Senior Officials Meeting was inaugurated by Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms. He warmly welcomed the delegates and while highlighting the enormous regional potential, he called for adopting collective ECO Regional efforts to address the challenges faced by the region. He emphasized that trade, regional connectivity, infrastructure, development of tourism and energy are the key areas for cooperation.
The Secretary General thanked and appreciated Pakistan for hosting the landmark 28th RPC Meeting. He provided a comprehensive overview of activities of ECO during 2017. He said that holding of the 13th ECO Summit and the 22nd COM Summit at Islamabad were the main highlights of the year.
During the Senior Officials Segment eight parallel sectoral committees discussed various issues related to Trade & Investment, Transport & Communications, Energy, Minerals & Environment, Agriculture, Industry & Tourism, Projects, Economic Research & Statistics, Human Resources & Sustainable Development, Drugs & Organized Crime Coordination, ECO Bodies and International Relations. Various activities relating to these areas for 2018 were proposed and approved.
The Ministerial Segments of the RPC was inaugurated by Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Deputy Chairman, Pakistan’s Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms. In his opening remarks, while welcoming the delegates he highlighted the importance of the regional cooperation and integration. He stressed that the ECO Member Countries need to enhance their economic linkages. The Deputy Chairman called for the implementation of the decisions taken during the 13th ECO Summit and 22nd COM. He called for formulating the ECO policies and programmes in line ECO Vision 2025. He highlighted the significance of the RPC Meeting and called upon the participants for adopting holistic approach for enhancement of economic cooperation to achieve economic prosperity. He was unanimously elected as the Chairman.
The ECO Secretary General in his statement informed that the ECO Vision 2025 approved earlier this year was a major achievement for the Organization as this will help in realizing the overarching objectives of the ECO. He especially mentioned the achievement of the ECO namely, the formation of ECO Reinsurance Company in Karachi and establishment of Customs Anti-smuggling Database in Ankara. In the Transport sector, he mentioned the establishment of a Working Group to follow up the decisions of Second ICT Ministerial Meeting. He also informed the meeting about the four commercialization studies for the East-West and North-South corridors of ECO region.
During the Ministerial Meeting, the ECO Heads of Delegation thanked the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for making excellent arrangements and warm hospitality provided to them. In their Country Statements, they highlighted the significance of the regional cooperation and gave an overview of their major developments contributing to ECO objectives.
The Ministerial Meeting adopted the ECO Work Programme 2018 along with ECO Calendar of Events 2018 and called upon the Member States to actively participate in implementation of this Programme.