Economic Cooperation Organization

Last updated

Economic Cooperation Organization
  • Azerbaijani:İqtisadi Əməkdaşlıq Təşkilatı
    Kazakh:Экономикалық Ынтымақтастық Ұйымы
    Kyrgyz:Экономикалык Кызматташтык Уюму
    د اقتصادي او همکاريو سازمان
    سازمان همکاری اقتصادی
    Russian:Организация экономического сотрудничества
    Tajik:Ташкилоти ҳамкории иқтисодӣ
    Turkish:Ekonomik İşbirliği Teşkilatı
    Turkmen: Ykdysady Hyzmatdaşlyk Guramasy
    اقتصادی تعاون تنظیم
    Uzbek:Иқтисодий Ҳамкорлик Ташкилоти
Economic Cooperation Organization logo.png
Motto: "Sustainable socioeconomic development for the people of the region"
Economic Cooperation Organization map.svg
Member states of the ECO
Headquarters Tehran, Iran
Official languages English
Member states
Khosro Nozari
7,937,197 km2 (3,064,569 sq mi)(6th)
 Water (%)
 2021 estimate
66/km2 (170.9/sq mi)
GDP  (PPP)2021 estimate
US$7.6 trillion [2] (4th)
 Per capita
GDP  (nominal)2021 estimate
US$3.3 trillion(6th)
 Per capita
10 currencies
Time zone UTC +2 to +5
Calling code

The Economic Cooperation Organization or ECO is an Asian political and economic intergovernmental organization that was founded in 1985 in Tehran by the leaders of Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. It provides a platform to discuss ways to improve development and promote trade and investment opportunities. The ECO is an ad hoc organisation under the United Nations Charter. [3] The objective is to establish a single market for goods and services, much like the European Union. [4] After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the ECO expanded to include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in 1992.


The current framework of the ECO expresses itself mostly in the form of bilateral agreements and arbitration mechanisms between individual and fully sovereign member states. That makes the ECO similar to ASEAN in that it is an organisation that has its own offices and bureaucracy for implementation of trade amongst sovereign member states. This consists of the historically integrated agricultural region of the Ferghana Valley which allows for trade and common agricultural production in the border region between Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Pakistan has free trade agreements with both Afghanistan and Iran which are in the process of implementation.

In 2017, a free trade agreement between Turkey and Iran was proposed to be signed in the future, [5] in addition to a proposed Pakistan-Turkey Free Trade Agreement. [6] The Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement is designed to facilitate trade for goods and services for Central Asia via both Afghanistan and Pakistan. [7] That is in addition to the Ashgabat agreement, which is a multi-modal transport agreement between the Central Asian states. [8] Further cooperation amongst members is planned in the form of the Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline, as well as a Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan pipeline. Current pipelines include the Tabriz–Ankara pipeline in addition to the planned Persian Pipeline. This is in addition to the transportation of oil and gas from Central Asian states such as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to supply the industrialisation underway in Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, and beyond. Pakistan plans to diversify its source of oil and gas supplies towards the Central Asian states including petroleum import contracts with Azerbaijan. [9]

The ECO's secretariat and cultural department are in Iran, its economic bureau is in Turkey, and its scientific bureau is in Pakistan.


The Economic Cooperation Organization was the successor organisation of what was the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD), founded in 1964, which ended activities in 1979. In 1985 Iran, Pakistan and Turkey joined to form the ECO. By the fall of 1992, the ECO expanded to include seven new members; Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The date of the expansion to its present strength, 28 November, is referred to as "ECO Day". The status and power of the ECO is growing. However, the organisation faces many challenges. Most importantly, the member states are lacking appropriate infrastructure and institutions which the Organization is primarily seeking to develop, to make full use of the available resources in the region and provide sustainable development for the member nations. The Economic Cooperation Organisation Trade Agreement (ECOTA) was signed on 17 July 2003 in Islamabad. [10] ECO Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) is a new organization for trade promotion among member states located in Iran (2009). [11] Under the agreement reached between ECO members, the common trade market should be established by 2015. [4]

Official names

The official working language of the Economic Cooperation Organization is English. The official names of the organization are:

Objectives and principles


Full members

(2018, millions) [12]
Area [13] Population
(2018, nominal,
US$ billions)
GDP per capita
(2018, nominal, US$) [12]
(2018, PPP,
Int$ billions)
GDP per capita
(2018, PPP, Int$) [12]
Current account balance
(2018, US$ billions) [12]
Flag of Afghanistan (2004-2021).svg  Afghanistan [lower-alpha 1] 36.020652,230 km2
(251,830 sq mi)
(143.0/sq mi)
Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan 9.94086,600 km2
(33,400 sq mi)
(297.3/sq mi)
Flag of Iran.svg  Iran 82.3601,648,195 km2
(636,372 sq mi)
(129.4/sq mi)
Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan 18.4632,724,900 km2
(1,052,100 sq mi)
(17.6/sq mi)
Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan 6.389199,951 km2
(77,202 sq mi)
(82.8/sq mi)
Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan 226.992881,913 km2
(340,509 sq mi)
(667/sq mi)
Flag of Tajikistan.svg  Tajikistan 9.107144,100 km2
(55,600 sq mi)
(163.7/sq mi)
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 81.867783,562 km2
(302,535 sq mi)
(270.6/sq mi)
Flag of Turkmenistan.svg  Turkmenistan 5.770488,100 km2
(188,500 sq mi)
(30.6/sq mi)
Flag of Uzbekistan.svg  Uzbekistan 32.657447,400 km2
(172,700 sq mi)
(189.0/sq mi)
10 total483.5337,971,133 km2
(3,077,672 sq mi)
(157.1/sq mi)



Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers (COM) is the highest policy and decision-making body and is composed of the various Ministers of Foreign Affairs or such other representatives of the ministerial rank as may be designated by the respective governments. The COM meets at least once a year by rotation among the member states.

Council of Permanent Representatives

The Council of Permanent Representatives (CPR) consists of the Permanent Representatives/Ambassadors of the member states accredited to the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as to the ECO and the Director-General for ECO Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Regional Planning Council

The Regional Planning Council (RPC) is composed of the Heads of the Planning Organizations of member states or other representatives of corresponding authorities.

General Secretariat

The General Secretariat (GS) consists of six directorates under the supervision of the Secretary-General and his deputies. Two specialized agencies and six regional institutes are acting under the supervision of the GS.


Activities of ECO are conducted through directorates under the supervision of Secretary-General and his Deputies which considered and evolve projects and programs of mutual benefit in the fields of:

A Transport Council to develop clearer transport and transit policies is proposed. [16]

ECO has selected Shakhrisabz as its tourism capital for 2024. [17]

Summits and General Secretaries

World leaders gathering for the 13th ECO Summit 13th Summit of Economic Cooperation Organization.jpg
World leaders gathering for the 13th ECO Summit

Heads of State summits

1st 1617 February 1992Flag of Iran.svg  Iran Tehran
2nd 67 May 1993Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey Istanbul
3rd 14-15 May 1995Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan Islamabad
4th 14 May 1996Flag of Turkmenistan (1992-1997).svg  Turkmenistan Ashgabat
5th 11 May 1998Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan Almaty
6th10 June 2000Flag of Iran.svg  Iran Tehran
7th14 October 2002Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey Istanbul
8th14 September 2004Flag of Tajikistan.svg  Tajikistan Dushanbe
9th5 May 2006Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan Baku
10th11 March 2009Flag of Iran.svg  Iran Tehran
11th23 December 2010Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey Istanbul
12th 16 October 2012Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan Baku
13th 1 March 2017 [18] [19] Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan Islamabad
14th4 March 2021Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey Virtual
15th28 November 2021Flag of Turkmenistan.svg  Turkmenistan Ashgabat [20]

List of General Secretaries

1 Alireza Salari [21] Flag of Iran.svg  Iran August 1988  July 1992
2 Shamshad Ahmad Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan August 1992  July 1996
3 Önder Özar  [ tr ]Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey August 1996  July 2000
4 Abdolrahim Gavahi  [ fa ]Flag of Iran.svg  Iran August 2000  July 2002
5 Seyed Mojtaba Arastou Flag of Iran.svg  Iran August 2002  July 2003
6 Bekzhassar Narbayev Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan August 2003  January 2004
7 Askhat Orazbay Flag of Uzbekistan.svg  Uzbekistan February 2004  July 2006
8Khurshid AnwarFlag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan August 2006  July 2009
9 Yahya Maroofi Flag of Afghanistan (2004-2013).svg  Afghanistan August 2009  July 2012
10 Shamil Alaskerov Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan August 2012  July 2015
11 Halil Ibrahim Akca Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey August 2015  July 2018
12 Hadi Soleimanpour Flag of Iran.svg  Iran August 2018 2021
13 Khusrav Noziri Flag of Tajikistan.svg  Tajikistan August 2021 present
source ECO Secretaries General

Regional Institutions & Agencies

Azerbaijani stamp celebrating the 10th ECO summit in Azerbaijan. Stamps of Azerbaijan, 2009-860.jpg
Azerbaijani stamp celebrating the 10th ECO summit in Azerbaijan.

ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industry

ECO-CCI was established on 10 June 1993. Its objectives are to contribute to enhancing economic cooperation and relations in trade, industry, agriculture, tourism, contracting, engineering and banking sectors as well as to realize joint investments among the Member States. National Chambers of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Turkey are members of ECO-CCI. The 7th General Assembly Meeting of ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECO-CCI), held on 20 April 2004 in Kabul, Afghanistan. The participating member states offered some proposals for developing new mechanism and modalities for better interaction between member chambers and to re-activate ECO-CCI.

ECO Reinsurance Company

In March 1995, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey agreed to establish ECO Reinsurance Company. The purpose is to supplement the existing reinsurance services in the region, promote the growth of the national underwriting and retention capacities, minimize the outflow of foreign exchange from the region and to support economic development in the region. The three-member countries decided to form a Trilateral Interim Committee to pave the way for the establishment of this important institution. The Trilateral Interim Committee in its various meetings reviewed the relevant issues such as the development of the business plan and signing of the Articles of Agreement already finalized by a group of Experts from the three founding member countries. [22]

ECO Consultancy & Engineering Company

Governments of all the ECO Member States has established a central resource pool in the shape of ECO Consultancy and Engineering Company (Pvt.) Ltd., or ECO-CEC, to assist in the development projects sponsored by the ECO Member States or by its Trade and Development Bank. The founder States are the Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and Republic of Turkey which holds an equal share in ECO-CEC, Turkey being represented by two companies and Iran and Pakistan, by one each. The Iranian and Turkish Companies specialize mainly in oil and gas pipelines, refineries, petrochemical and industrial engineering, while the Pakistani partner in all other fields of development engineering, including communications, power, urban development public health, telecommunications, water resources development and agriculture. ECO-CEC provides its expertise in the entire range of consultancy operations, starting from conception, project planning and appraisal, through pre-feasibility, feasibility and financial studies, investigation and exploration, site selection to engineering design, material and equipment specifications, construction supervision, contract management, quality control and preparation of technical manuals for the operation and maintenance of the projects.

ECO Trade and Development Bank

The Economic Cooperation Organization Trade and Development Bank (ETDB) was established by the three founding members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in 2005 which are the Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Republic of Turkey. The Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Kyrgyz Republic became the member of the ETDB in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.

As of 31 December 2015, paid in the share capital of the ETDB was SDR 310,870 thousand since Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and Kyrgyzstan are in process of payment of their paid-in capital contributions.

The Bank has successfully started its operations in 2008. Its headquarters is in Istanbul (Turkey) and representative offices are in Karachi (Pakistan) and Tehran (Iran). The primary objective of the Bank is to provide financial resources for projects and programmes in member countries. The Bank offers a range of medium-to-long term products i.e. project finance, corporate finance, trade finance and loans to support small and medium-sized enterprises directly or through financial intermediaries to private and state-owned entities. 11

ECO Cultural Institute (ECI)

ECO Cultural Institute (ECI) is affiliated with ECO and aims at fostering understanding and the preservation of the rich cultural heritage of its members through common projects in the field of the media, literature, art, philosophy, sport and education. [23]


Relationship with other organizations

All the ECO states are also member-states of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), while ECO itself has observer status in the OIC since 1995.

A clickable Euler diagram showing the relationships between various multinational organisations within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (note that Syria is currently suspended from all organizations included in this diagram due to human rights abuses in the ongoing Syrian civil war).v * d * e OIC Diagram-en.svgPalestine
A clickable Euler diagram showing the relationships between various multinational organisations within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (note that Syria is currently suspended from all organizations included in this diagram due to human rights abuses in the ongoing Syrian civil war). vde

Leaders of ECO member states, as of 2022

Leaders are either heads of state or heads of government, depending on which is constitutionally the chief executive of the nation's government.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Since the return to power by the Afghan Taliban over the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was not present at the 15th ECO summit held in November 2021. [1]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Central Asia</span> Subregion of the Asian continent

Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia that stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to western China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north. It includes the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, which are colloquially referred to as the "-stans" as the countries all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of". The current geographical location of Central Asia was formerly part of the historic region of Turkistan, also known as Turan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Foreign relations of Tajikistan</span> Overview of the foreign relations of Tajikistan

Foreign relations of Tajikistan are based on a desire to secure foreign investment and promote regional security while ensuring Tajikistan's independence. Sirodjidin Aslov is the current Foreign’s Minister of Tajikistan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Foreign relations of Uzbekistan</span> Overview of the foreign relations of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan joined the Commonwealth of Independent States in December 1991. However, it is opposed to reintegration and withdrew from the CIS collective security arrangement in 1999. Since that time, Uzbekistan has participated in the CIS peacekeeping force in Tajikistan and in United Nations-organized groups to help resolve the Tajik and Afghan conflicts, both of which it sees as posing threats to its own stability. Uzbekistan is an active supporter of U.S. efforts against worldwide terrorism and joined the coalitions which have dealt with both Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a member of the United Nations, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Partnership for Peace, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). It belongs to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Economic Cooperation Organization, which comprises 7 Central Asian countries: Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. It is a founding member of and remains involved in the Central Asian Union, formed with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, joined in March 1998 by Tajikistan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shanghai Cooperation Organisation</span> Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic and security organization. It is the world's largest regional organization in terms of geographic scope and population, covering approximately 60% of the area of Eurasia, 40% of the world population, and more than 30% of global GDP.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Geostrategy in Central Asia</span>

Central Asia has long been a geostrategic location because of its proximity to the interests of several great powers and regional powers.

Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) or Organization for Regional Cooperation and Development (ORCD) was a multi-governmental organization which was originally established on the 21st of July 1964 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, regional members of the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), to allow socio-economic development of the member states. Its headquarter was in Tehran, Iran. In 1979, this organization was dissolved. It was replaced by Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in 1985. Seven new members were added: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia</span>

The Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is an inter-governmental forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. It is a forum based on the recognition that there is a close link between peace, security and stability in Asia and in the rest of the world. The key idea of the Conference is based on the priority of the indivisibility of security, joint initiative and mutually beneficial interaction of small and large states.

The ECO Cup was a football competition for members of Economic Cooperation Organization. Previously it was known as RCD Cup, RCD abbreviates Regional Corporation for Development and was an economic cooperation between Iran, Pakistan and Turkey from 1964 to 1979. A new organisation, ECO, was set up in 1985. In 1992, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan joined ECO.

CARICC - Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Organization of Turkic States</span> Eurasian intergovernmental organization

The Organization of Turkic States (OTS), formerly called the Turkic Council or the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, is an international organization comprising prominent independent Turkic countries: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. It is an intergovernmental organization whose overarching aim is promoting comprehensive cooperation among Turkic-speaking states. First proposed by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2006, it was founded on 3 October 2009, in Nakhchivan. The General Secretariat is in Istanbul.

The Economic Cooperation Organization Trade Agreement or ECOTA is a preferential trade agreement reached on 17 July 2003 at the ECO summit in Islamabad whereby a preferential trade region was formed between the countries of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. As of 2008, the ECOTA is in effect. As part of ECO Vision 2025, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkey agreed to implement free trade area by 2025.

The 1993 ECO summit was the second Economic Cooperation Organization summit, held between 6–7 May in Istanbul, Turkey. Afghanistan was welcomed as the 10th member state of the ECO during the summit.

The Ashgabat agreement is a multimodal transport agreement between the governments of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, India, Pakistan, and Oman for creating an international transport and transit corridor facilitating transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. The agreement came into force in April 2016. Ashgabat in Turkmenistan is the depository state for the agreement.

The 1996 ECO summit was the fourth Economic Cooperation Organization summit, held between 14 and 15 May 1996 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

The 2012 ECO summit was the twelfth Economic Cooperation Organization summit, held on 16 October 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) is an intergovernmental organization and a specialized agency of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). It was established in Islamabad, Pakistan in December 2011, with holding of the first meeting of Board of Trustees (BoT), the highest decision making body. ECOSF aims to promote scientific and technology research with an end goal to raise socio-economic standing of ten member states.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation is an intergovernmental organization established in 1985 with cooperation of Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The crucial goal of this organization is to achieve sustainable economic development, promote trade, integrate to the world economy and develop efficient transport system. Azerbaijan joined the organization in 1992. From August 2012 till 2016, the Secretary General of ECO is a representative from Azerbaijan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2022 SCO summit</span> 22nd annual summit of the SCO

The 2022 SCO summit was the 22nd annual summit of heads of state of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation held between 15 and 16 September 2022 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.


  1. "Heads of State at ECO Summit Discuss Afghanistan Crisis". TOLOnews . 29 November 2021. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  2. "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects".
  3. United Nations Charter (Chapter VIII).
  4. 1 2 "Official: Iran's share of ECO trade stands at $10 billion - Tehran Times". Archived from the original on 2 May 2013.
  5. "Turkey hopes to sign free trade agreement with Iran". 4 January 2017.
  6. "Pakistan-Turkey sixth round of talks on FTA next week".
  7. Center, Asia Regional Integration. "Pakistan-Turkey Preferential Trade Agreement Free Trade Agreement".
  8. "Pakistan announces to join Ashgabat Agreement, Lapis Lazuli Corridor". Dunya News.
  9. "Away from Gulf, Pakistan set to import oil, gas from Central Asia". The Express Tribune . 4 February 2017.
  10. "ECOTA" (PDF). Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  11. Archived 2 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". World Economic Outlook Database. International Monetary Fund. 9 February 2019. Archived from the original on 9 February 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  13. "Country Comparison  Area". CIA World Factbook . Central Intelligence Agency. Archived from the original on 8 February 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  14. "Observers". ECO.
  15. "ECO Secretary General Meets the Representatives of Turkish Cyprus State in Tehran". ECO. 25 February 2014. Archived from the original on 2 February 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  16. "Kazakh Prime Minister Proposes to Revive Silk Way at 15th ECO Summit in Ashgabat". The Astana Times.
  17. "ECO declares Shakhrisabz as its tourism capital for 2024". Retrieved 18 December 2022.
  18. "Public Holiday In Islamabad and Rawalpindi On 1 March Due To ECO Summit 2017". Archived from the original on 28 February 2017.
  19. "Pakistan to host 13th ECO Summit in Islamabad next week". Dawn . 25 February 2017. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  20. "15TH ECO SUMMIT, November 28, 2021 Ashgabat, Turkmenistan" . Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  21. "ECO Secretary Generals". ECO. Archived from the original on 6 July 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  22. "Leading News Resource of Pakistan". Daily Times. 11 February 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  23. "ECO Cultural Institute's Medals". Retrieved 31 October 2014.