Friday, August 28, 2009

Objectives, Structure and Performance of ECO

On July 21, 1964 three heads of governments of Turkey, Iran and Pakistan met in Tehran and they have had the foundation of “Regional Cooperation for Development” (RCD). In such meeting it was realized that the regional cooperation amongst these countries will not only accelerate the economic development but it will also lead to promote political stability in region. Under RCD the cooperation was made in the fields of trade, communication, banking industry, political and cultural affairs, railway and transportation. But process remained very slow. However in 1974 under the request of Iran the name of RCD was replaced by Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). After disintegration of Soviet Union it was realized to bring the ‘States’ separated from Russian Federation in the sphere of ECO. Then in February 1992 in the meeting of ECO held in Iran in addition to Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, Aizerbijan, Turkamanistan, Azbikistan and Kirgistan attended as observers. In this way this organization became an “International Forum”. Then in May 1992 in Ashakabad, the capital of Kirgihstan the meeting of heads of governments was held where not only the Central Asian States got the membership of ECO but Afghanistan was also included in ECO and the members of ECO from 3 to 9. Now the members ECO are Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Aizerbijan, Kirghistan, Tajikistan, Turkamanistan, and Izbikistan.

Objectives of ECO:

Following are the objectives of ECO.

1. To establish ECO Preferential Tarrif System whereby the trade restrictions could be minimized in the minimum possible time.

2. The joint companies will be established on the basis of mutual cooperation between member countries.

3. The member countries will establish “Investment Development Bank” with the help of private sector.

4. The reinsurance pool under ECO will be converted into ECO re-insurance company.

5. The mutual regional tourism will be developed.

6. The effective and rapid facilities regarding post, telephone, telegraph and telex will be provided in the region of ECO.

7. ECO shipping company will be setup and the facilities of air traffic will be increased.

8. The technical assistance and skill will be provided to the member countries on mutual basis. Moreover institutions will be setup to train the people.

9. The ECO Science Foundation with its headquarter at Islamabad will be setup to train superior technical scientific man power.

10. The ECO Youth Foundation will be setup for cultural links and friendship between the youth.

11. A closer cooperation will be established between the mass media of the members of ECO.

Structure of ECO:

The structure of ECO is given as under:

1. Ministerial Council: This is a decision and policy making body. This council comprise of foreign ministers.

2. Regional Planning Council: This council consist of deputy ministers of planning commissions or ministries. This council will arrange for practical programmes which will finally be presented to ministerial council for approval. Moreover, this council will present the reports regarding the previous programmes and the results attained.

3. The Council of Deputies: The council of Deputies is a permanent body. Its members will be consisting of concerned direct or generals in Iranian foreign ministry and Pakistan and Turkey’s ambassadors in Iran. The Chairmanship of such council will change between members alternatively. The council will take necessary steps regarding the implementation of decisions made.

4. Technical Committees: Following committees have been setup to perform different functions.

(i) The committee on economic and trade cooperation.

(ii) The committee on transportation and communication.

(iii) The committee on technical ad industrial cooperation.

(iv) The committee on monetary cooperation.

(v) The committee for educational, scientific and cultural cooperation.

(vi) The committee on cooperation regarding energy.

(vii) The committee on basic infra-structure and public works sector.

(viii) The committee to check “Drug Trafficking”.

ECO Secretariat:

The secretariat of ECO has been setup in Tehran. It arranges to send the approved plans to the members of ECO. It also assists in the preparation of different documents regarding the performance of ECO. The incharge of the Secretariat is ‘General Secretary’ and he will be appointed by the ministerial council for the period of 4 years. Moreover the post of secretary general will change between member countries alternatively.

Specialized Agencies:

The following specialized agencies have been setup:

(1) ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

(2) ECO Insurance Centre Karachi.

(3) ECO Integrated Re-Insurance Pool.

Performance of ECO:

Following achievements have been attained by ECO since its inception.

1. All the member countries have signed on the document of preferential tarrif in their first head of governments meeting.

2. The multilateral agreement regarding shipping is under consideration. Again the draft agreement for the establishment of shipping company has also been prepared.

3. The document of financial and commercial bank of ECO is under consideration.

4. Regarding the establishment of ECO investment and development bank the agreement has been made regarding the followings:

(A) Its name be converted to ECO trade and development bank (TDB).

(B) The bank will promote the exchange of goods and services between the members.

(C) The banks and financial institutions can become the share holders of the TDB with the permission of their respective governments.

(D) The founder members of ECO as Turkey, Iran and Pakistan will have major shares in TDB.

(E) The suitable level of authorized capital for proposed bank will be 300 million ECO units which have been given the name of EU. The value of each EU will be equal to one SDR. The face value of each share of the bank will be one lac EU.

(F) Under the rules TDB can open its branch in the member country. The number of branches in a country will not be more than one. However with the approval of “Board of Trustees” more branches can be opened.

5. ECO insurance college has been setup in Tehran.

6. ECO Satelite is under consideration.

7. In order to telecast the TV programmes between member countries the micro-wave unit has been set-up.

8. The agreement of mutual technical and industrial training is under way.

9. Fibre optics cable system regarding communications is also under process.

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