Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO)



Development Cooperation


Iran (Islamic Republic of)


17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Organization Type

Intergovernmental Organization




Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) is an inter-governmental regional organization encompassing countries from Europe, Caucuses and Central Asia, Middle East and South Asia with more than 460 million inhabitants and over 8 million square kilometers connecting Russia to Persian Gulf and China to Europe. The overall objective of the Organization is the ssustainable economic development of its Member States and the Region as a whole. Established as Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) in 1964 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, the Organization was renamed as “ECO” in 1985.

In 1992 and in the aftermath of collapse of Soviet Union, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and six former Soviet Republics, namely, Republic of Azerbaijan, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Republic of Uzbekistan also joined the Organization, forming one of the biggest regional blocs in Asia and beyond.

Over the past three decades or so, the ECO Member States have been collaborating to accelerate the pace of regional development through their common endeavors. Besides shared cultural and historic affinities, they have been able to use the existing infrastructural and business links to further fortify their resolve to transfer their hopes and aspirations into a tangible reality.

In March 2017, Heads of States/Government of the Member States in their 13th Summit in Islamabad endorsed “ECO Vision 2025” where main directions of the ECO in the years to come are drawn.

Vision Statement:

In view of the rapid socio-economic, political and scientific developments taking place at the regional and global levels, and taking into account the opportunities and challenges before the Organization, it is envisioned that "ECO will pave the way to a territory of integrated and sustainable economies as well as free trade area achieved by highly educated societies and improved governance through enhanced cooperation".

We resolve to make the Organization better equipped to face challenges and advance the fundamental principles of the Organization to expand project based economic activities and develop and strengthen the ECO institutions, enabling them to play a proactive role in realizing the objectives of the Organization and implementing the Vision. We also recognize the need to strengthen the ECO Secretariat for realization of our vision.

Core Principles:

1. Sustainability

We acknowledge that any long term benefits to the peoples of the region through social and economic programs depend on long term sustainable progress, therefore we express our resolve to support the global efforts aimed at addressing the challenges facing the international community. We share the goals and targets defined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015 as enshrined in its outcome document "Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development". In doing so, we will give priority to the immediate needs and concerns of our Region and its peoples as odentified in this Vision. To this end, we will welcome partnerships with the relevant international and regional organizations.

We acknowledge the strong interdependence between peace and development, and reiterate our firm belief that peace and stability are essential for realizing the genuine goals of sustained economic growth, sustainable development and welfare of our countries and peoples. We recommit ourselves to continue supporting the national, regional and global efforts for assisting Afghanistan in its attempt to achieve lasting peace and prosperity.

2. Integration

We are now a region representing a combined population of over 440 million people and have achieved noteworthy results in the economic field, such as increasing economic growth and reducing poverty as well as increased trade and investment flows over the past years.

We have, through mutual efforts undertaken necessary steps towards the socio-economic development of the region which has helped in achieving prosperity of our peoples and steady improvement in their lives. We resolve to build upon these achievements and intensify our efforts to achieve the common goals.

Representing a diverse membership and equipped with vast natural and human resources that can contribute immensely to the generation of economic activity in the region, we acknowledge that our deep-rooted historical and cultural affinities are an important factor in fostering a sense of regional integration and cooperation, which can be strengthened through policy approximation in the selected priority areas.

For purposes of further development of economic cooperation in the region, we express readiness to intensify cooperation of the ECO with the other regional economic communities, international economic and financial institutions as deemed feasible by all Member States.

3. Conducive Environment

Conducive economic environment in the Region is a pre-requisite for stimulating national economies of the Member Countries, boosting intra-regional cooperation and integration into the global economy. We reiterate our resolve to promote conducive environment in the region and take tangible steps to enable our people to utilise their abilities with vigour in pursuit of innovation, production and job creation, which are important components of our endeavours to make ECO an integrated and sustainable region. The enabling and conducive environment for regional cooperation will be achieved through adhering to the principles of equality, equity, mutual benefits and transparency.

Cooperation Areas:

To materialise the enhanced region al cooperation for economic growth and development in line with this Vision, we are determined to develop and implement strategies in the following areas during the next decade:

  1. Trade

  2. Transport and Connectivity

  3. Energy

  4. Tourism

  5. Economic Growth and Productivity

  6. Social Welfare and Environment

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