Economic Cooperation Organization

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Economic Cooperation Organization
سازمان همکاری اقتصادی
اقتصادی تعاون تنظیم
Ekonomik İşbirliği Teşkilatı
İqtisadi Əməkdaşlıq Təşkilatı
Iqtisodiy Hamkorlik Tashkiloti
Ташкилоти ҳамкории иқтисодӣ
Экономикалық ынтымақтастық ұйымы
Flag of Economic Cooperation Organization سازمان همکاری اقتصادی (Persian) اقتصادی تعاون تنظیم (Urdu) Ekonomik İşbirliği Teşkilatı (Turkish) İqtisadi Əməkdaşlıq Təşkilatı (Azerbaijani) Iqtisodiy Hamkorlik Tashkiloti (Uzbek) Ташкилоти ҳамкории иқтисодӣ (Tajik) Экономикалық ынтымақтастық ұйымы (Kazakh)
Motto: "Sustainable socioeconomic development for people of the region"
Member states of the ECO
Member states of the ECO
Headquarters Iran Tehran, Iran
Official language English
Type Cooperation
Membership 10 member states
 •  Secretary General Turkey Halil İbrahim Akça
Establishment 1985
 •  Total 7,937,197 km2
3,064,568.90 sq mi
 •  2010 estimate 416,046,863
 •  Density 52/km2
134.7/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2014 (IMF) estimate
 •  Total $4.699 trillion
 •  Per capita $11,294
GDP (nominal) 2014 (IMF) estimate
 •  Total $1.899 trillion
 •  Per capita $4,564

The Economic Cooperation Organisation or ECO (Persian: سازمان همکاری اقتصادی‎‎, Urdu: اقتصادی تعاون تنظیم‎, Turkish: Ekonomik İşbirliği Teşkilatı, Kazakh: Экономикалық ынтымақтастық ұйымы, Uzbek: Iqtisodiy Hamkorlik Tashkiloti, Azerbaijani: İqtisadi Əməkdaşlıq Təşkilatı, Tajik: Ташкилоти ҳамкории иқтисодӣ) is a Eurasian political and economic intergovernmental organization which 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 organization under the United Nations Charter (Chap. VIII). The objective is to establish a single market for goods and services, much like the European Union.[1] ECO's secretariat and cultural department are located in Tehran, its economic bureau is in Turkey and its scientific bureau is situated 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 organization 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.[2] ECO Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) is a new organization for trade promotion among member states located in Iran (2009).[3] Under the agreement reached between ECO members, the common trade market should be established by 2015.[4]

Official names

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

  • Persian: سازمان همکاری اقتصادی
  • Urdu: اقتصادی تعاون تنظیم
  • Turkish: Ekonomik İşbirliği Teşkilatı
  • Kazakh: Экономикалық ынтымақтастық ұйымы

Objectives & Principles of Cooperation

  • Sustainable economic development of Member States;
  • Progressive removal of trade barriers and promotion of intra- regional trade; Greater role of ECO region in the growth of world trade; Gradual integration of the economies of the Member States with the world economy;
  • Development of transport & communications infrastructure linking the Member States with each other and with the outside world;
  • Economic liberalization and privatization;
  • Mobilization and utilization of ECO region's material resources;
  • Effective utilization of the agricultural and industrial potentials of ECO region.
  • Regional cooperation for drug abuse control, ecological and environmental protection and strengthening of historical and cultural ties among the peoples of the ECO region; and
  • Mutually beneficial cooperation with regional and international organizations.
  • Sovereign equality of the Member States and mutual advantage;
  • Linking of national economic, development plans with ECO's immediate and long-term objectives to the extent possible;
  • Joint efforts to gain freer access to markets outside the ECO region for the raw materials and finished products of the Member States;
  • Effective utilization of ECO institutions, agreements and cooperative arrangements with other regional and international organizations including multilateral financial institutions;
  • Common endeavors to develop a harmonized approach for participation in regional and global arrangements;
  • Realization of economic cooperation strategy; and Exchanges in educational, scientific, technical and cultural fields


Official Name
Area (km²)
(per km²)
GDP (2014)(nominal)[5]
GDP (2015)
(per capita)

Official languages
Afghanistan Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Kabul 647,500 26,023,100 40.2 $20.444 million $614.892 Afghani Dari, Pashto
Azerbaijan Republic of Azerbaijan Baku 86,600 9,676,500 111.7 $74.145 million $6,794.432 Manat Azerbaijani
Iran Islamic Republic of Iran Tehran 1,648,195 78,859,600 47.8 $416.490 million $5,047.835 Rial Persian
Kazakhstan Republic of Kazakhstan Astana 2,724,900 17,630,700 6.5 $216.036 million $11,028.069 Tenge Kazakh, Russian
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz Republic Bishkek 199,900 5,975,000 29.9 $7.402 million $1,197.755 Som Kyrgyz, Russian
Pakistan Islamic Republic of Pakistan Islamabad 796,095 192,208,550 241.4 $246.849 million $1,427.085 Rupee Urdu, English
Tajikistan Republic of Tajikistan Dushanbe 143,100 8,354,000 58.4 $9.242 million $949.052 Somoni Tajiki
Turkey Republic of Turkey Ankara 783,562 77,695,904 99.2 $798.332 million $9,290.425 Turkish Lira Turkish
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan Ashgabat 488,100 4,751,120 9.7 $47.932 million $7,534.021 Manat Turkmen
Uzbekistan Republic of Uzbekistan Tashkent 447,400 31,022,500 69.3 $62.613 million $2,129.504 Som Uzbek


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 Head of the Planning Organization of member states or such 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:

  • Trade and Investment
  • Transport and Telecommunications
  • Energy, Minerals and Environment
  • Agriculture, Industry and Tourism
  • Human Resources & Sustainable Development
  • Project & Economic Research and Statistics

Regional Institutions & Agencies

File:10th ECO Summit Azerbaijan.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 enhance 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 member 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 supplement the existing reinsurance services in the region, promote 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.[7]

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 ECO Member States or by its Trade and Development Bank. The founder States are Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Republic of Turkey which hold 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 (the Bank) was established by the three founding members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in 2005; Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. Its subscribed capital is 300 million SDR, which is to be paid by the member countries equally. For the first five years starting from November 2006, the first President of the Bank is from Turkey (Mr. Murat Ulus) and the position of the President will pass to other member countries on a four-year rotation basis after the first five years. The headquarters of the Bank is in Istanbul, Turkey. The Bank has successfully started its operations in 2008. The representative offices of the Bank in Tehran and Karachi are fully functional. 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

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. [8]


  • ECO Supreme Audit Institutions
  • ECO Cultural Institute
  • ECO Science Foundation
  • ECO Educational Institute
  • ECO Drug Control Coordination Unit
  • ECO Trade promotion Unit
  • ECO Post
  • ECO Shipping Company

Relationship with other organizations

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

Secretaries General

# Name Nationality Period
1 Alireza Salari[9] Iran 1988 - 1992
2 Shamshad Ahmad Pakistan 1992 - 1996
3 Onder Ozar Turkey 1996 - 2000
4 Abdolrahim Gavahi Iran August 2000 - July 2002
5 Seyed Mojtaba Arastou Iran July 2002 - August 2003
6 Bekzhassar Narbayev Kazakhstan August 2003 - January 2004
7 Askhat Orazbay Kazakhstan January 2004 - August 2006
8 Khurshid Anwar Pakistan August 2006 - August 2009
9 Yahya Maroofi Afghanistan August 2009 - August 2012
10 Shamil Alaskerov Azerbaijan August 2012 - August 2015
11 Halİl İbrahİm Akça Turkey August 2015 - August 2018
source ECO Secretaries General

See also


  2. "ECOTA" (PDF). Retrieved 9 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. [1] Archived 2 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". 10 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Report for Selected Countries and Subjects
  7. "Leading News Resource of Pakistan". Daily Times. 11 February 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "ECO Cultural Institute's Medals". Retrieved 31 October 2014. External link in |website= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "ECO Secretary Generals". Retrieved 9 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links