ISLAMABAD: The 14th summit of the 10-member Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) will be held virtually on Thursday (today) for deliberating prospects of enhancing regional cooperation in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Imran Khan will open the summit as Pakistan is the chair of the 13th summit, which was held in Islamabad in March 2017.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will take over the chair of the 14th summit.
The theme of this year’s summit is ‘Regional Economic Cooperation in the Aftermath of Covid-19’.
“The summit meetings entail exchange of views on regional and global issues of interest to the ECO region and review of the progress in implementation of ECO programmes and projects,” the Foreign Office (FO) said.
In his inaugural speech, Mr Khan, the Foreign Office said, would share Pakistan’s perspective on Covid-19 challenges and outline his government’s vision for regional economic development in line with ECO’s founding principles of promotion of trade and connectivity.
Imran to inaugurate the 14th summit of bloc today
Pakistan is a founding member of the ECO along with Turkey and Iran. The grouping was formed in 1985 as a successor organisation of the erstwhile Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) to promote economic, technical and cultural cooperation among member states.
The ECO was later expanded to include seven new members — Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The FO said that Pakistan remained strongly committed to ECO for promotion of effective regional cooperation, with focus on communications, trade, culture and connectivity.
“Pakistan has been actively contributing towards advancement of the goals and objectives of ECO, including regional economic integration,” it added.
The ECO, in its 36 years of existence has had little success to its account due to lack of political commitment of member states, absence of complementarities among regional economies, trade and non-trade barriers and inadequate transport linkages.
Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2021