Economic Cooperation Organization
Learn more about Economic Cooperation Organization
The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) is an intergovernmental international organization involving ten Asian nations. It provides a platform to discuss ways to improve development and promote trade, and investment opportunities. The nations involved are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. ECO is headquartered in Tehran, Iran.
 History and role
The Economic Cooperation Organization was originally established in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey to allow the socio-economic development of the first member states. It was the successor organisation of what was the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD), founded in 1962, which ended activities in 1979. In the fall of 1992, the ECO expanded to include seven new members, namely Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
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 following organs exist:
- The Council of Ministers, which is the highest policy-making body and composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the member-states, or other ministerial-level officials. It meets at least once a year.
- The Council of Permanent Representatives, is composed of the ambassadors of the other nine member states to Iran, plus the Director General for ECO Affairs in the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Iran.
- The Regional Planning Council
- The General Secretariat, consisting of six Directorates under the supervision of the Secretary General.
- Directorate of Industry & Agriculture
- Directorate of Trade & Investment
- Directorate of Energy, Minerals & Environment
- Directorate of Transport and Communications
- Directorate of Economic Research & Statistics
- Directorate of Project Research
Two specialised agencies and two regional institutes also function under the supervision of the General Secretariat.