Majlisi Namoyandagon (Tajikistan’s lower chamber of parliament) Speaker Mahmadtoir Zokirzoda yesterday delivered a statement at the 3rd general conference of the Economic Cooperation Organization Parliament Assembly (PAECO) that has been held in Baku, Azerbaijan, according to the Majlisi Namoyandagon press center.       

He, in particular noted that the coronavirus pandemic had a negative impact on the socioeconomic development of all regions of the world.  

According to him, the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) has confirmed its importance as an effective platform to address the emerging challenges.  

“We consider it important to consolidate efforts to expand the transportation ties that will undoubtedly lead to an increase in the volume of mutual trade,” Tajik parliament speaker said. 

In this context, Zokirzoda underlined the necessity of expanding the network of transport corridors and ensuring free movement of commodities and services between the ECO member nations.  

He also stressed that under conditions of the global coronavirus pandemic, no country can rely on its own strength only. 

“Only global response and global coordination have become the key to victory over the pandemic,” Zokirzoda concluded. 

The 3rd general conference of PAECO is being held in Baku from May 17-18.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Economic Cooperation Organization was finally set up in February 2011 after the representatives of ECO member countries signed in Islamabad, Pakistan a ‘PAECO charter’.  The move was described as a milestone towards enhanced regional cooperation and integration.

The eleven-article charter came into force immediately after four member nations signed it and notified to the ECO Secretariat that internal legal procedures had been fulfilled.

The main objective of the assembly is to promote people-to-people contacts with a view to achieving understanding, trust and friendship among ECO members.

Other objectives are to coordinate and exchange experiences of parliaments and parliamentarians of ECO countries, provide a forum for exchanging experiences of parliamentary practices, increase interaction through friendship groups in parliaments and cooperate with each other at international forums in matters of common values, interests and opportunities.

Founded in 1985 in Tehran by the leaders of Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey, the Economic Cooperation Organization or ECO is an Asian political and economic intergovernmental organization, which 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.  The objective is to establish a single market for goods and services, much like the European Union.  The ECO's secretariat and cultural department are located in Iran, its economic bureau is in Turkey and its scientific bureau is situated in Pakistan.

The nature of the ECO is that it consists of predominantly Muslim-majority states as it is a trade bloc for the Central Asian states connected to the Mediterranean through Turkey, to the Persian Gulf via Iran, and to the Arabian Sea via Pakistan.  The current framework of the ECO expresses itself mostly in the form of bilateral agreements and arbitration mechanisms between individual and fully sovereign member states.

The Organization has ten full members, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.