The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO)

The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO)



Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) is a regional intergovernmental organization for the purpose of economic cooperation between its member states on the basis of their common needs in the light of the changes taking place on global economic scene.


The member states of the ECO are Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The ECO was formally established by Iran, Turkey and Pakistan in 1985 as the successor Organization of Regional Cooperation for Development which remained in existence from 1964 to 1979. And, it became an Organization of ten member countries encompassing an area of 7 million sq kilometers –inhabited by now about 400 million people- when other member states joined in the Organization on 28 November, 1992 which is observed as the ECO Day.


The Treaty of Izmir which was originally signed on 12 March 1977 by the three founding member states and amended in 1990, 1992 and 1996 is the basic Charter of the ECO. The objectives of the ECO, as laid down in the Treaty of Izmir, include mobilization of economic and social potentials of the region for promoting sustainable economic development and raising standards of living and quality of life in the member states, expansion of intra and inter-regional trade and encouragement of active regional collaboration and mutual assistance in economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields.




The Summit consists of Heads of State/Government of member countries and is convened every other year on an advisory basis. The last ECO Summit was held on 2-5 May, 2006 in Baku, Azerbaijan and the next Summit is planned to be held in Pakistan in 2008.


The Council of Ministers (COM) is the highest policy and decision-making body of the ECO. The COM meets at least once a year by rotation among the member states. The member state which hosts the COM meeting assumes the Chairmanship of the COM. Afghanistan has assumed the Chairmanship since the last COM meeting held on 20 October, 2007 in Herat, Afghanistan.


The Regional Planning Council (RPC) is composed of the Heads of the Planning Organization of the member states or such other representatives of corresponding authorities. In the RPC meetings which are held once a year the ECO’s activities are evaluated and reported for the submission to the COM and the plans and programs of the Organization are determined. The last RPC meeting was held on 18-22 February 2007 in Tehran, Iran and the next one will be held on 3-6 March 2008 in Islamabad, Pakistan.


The Council of Permanent Representatives (CPR) is consisting 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 Iran. It meets at least once a month to take decisions, on behalf of the Ministers, on the affairs of the Organization on the agenda and to implement them.


ECO Secretariat is located in Tehran, Iran. The Secretariat is responsible for initiation, coordination and monitoring the implementation of ECO activities and serving the meetings of the Organization.


The Secretary General is elected and appointed by the COM for a non-renewable term of three years. Khurshid Anwar (Pakistani national) has been the Secretary General since August 2006. The Secretariat consists of fourteen directing staff four of whom are Turkish national -including one of the Deputy Secretary Generals, twenty nine professional staff and seventeen local staff.


Activities of the ECO are conducted through those directorates at the Secretariat: “Trade and Investment”, “Transport and Telecommunications”, “Energy, Minerals and Environment”, “Agriculture, Industry and Tourism”, “Human Resources & Sustainable Development” and “Project & Economic Research and Statistics”




“ECO Shipping Company”, “ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECO-CCI)”, “ECO College of Insurance”, “ECO Trade and Development Bank (ECOBANK)” and “ECO Consultancy and Engineering Company (ECO-CEC)” are the main regional institutes of the ECO acting under the supervision of the Secretariat.


The ECO Shipping Company was established by the Agreement signed in 1995 by six member states:  Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan.


The ECO-CCI was established in 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. In October 2007, Permanent Secretariat to ECO-CCI was founded and its chairmanship was assumed by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) for three years.


The ECO College of Insurance, based in Tehran, is functioning since 1992. The college is a state-owned and non-profit institution of higher education.


The ECOBANK was established by an Agreement signed by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan on 15 March 1995 which became effective on August 3, 2005. The ECOBANK became fully operational at the end of 2007. Its headquarters is in Istanbul, Turkey.


The ECO-CEC was founded for the purpose of assisting in the development projects sponsored by member states or by ECO Trade and Development Bank. The founder States are Iran, Pakistan and Turkey which hold an equal share in ECO-CEC. Turkey is being represented by two companies and Iran and Pakistan, by one each.


The ECO Reinsurance Company was agreed to be established as a regional institute of ECO by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey in 1995. The Company is expected to be established in 2008.


ECO Regional Institute for Standardization, Conformity Assessment, Accreditation and Metrology (RISCAM) is planned to be established as one of ECO’s regional institutions.


“ECO Cultural Institute”, “ECO Science Foundation” and “ECO Educational Institute” are three Specialized Agencies of ECO acting under the supervision of the Secretariat. Information about them can be found through the link below:


Bilateral and Multilateral Cultural Affairs

The ECO Regional Center for Risk Management of Natural Disasters (ECO-RCRM) was established in Mashhad, Iran, in 2007 as an ad hoc body affiliated to the ECO with a view to being transformed into an ECO specialized agency in the future.


ECO Website (

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