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Economic Cooperation Organization
Member states of the ECO
Headquarters Iran Tehran, Iran
Type Cooperation
Membership 10 member states
 -  Secretary General Afghanistan Yahya Maroofi
Establishment 1985
 -  2008 estimate 416,143,738 

The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) is an intergovernmental organization involving seven Asian and three Eurasian nations. 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 common objective is to establish a single market for goods and services, much like the European Union. 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 organization's area is 8,620,697 km². The organisation was founded by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.


History and role

Economic Cooperation Organization is an intergovernmental regional organization established in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey for the purpose of promoting economic, technical and cultural cooperation among the 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 Economic Cooperation Organisation Trade Agreement (ECOTA) was signed on 17 July 2003 in Islamabad.[1] ECO Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) is a new organization for trade promotion among member states located in Iran (2009).[2]

Member states

Flag & Common name
Official name
Area (km²)
Population (2008)
(per km²)
GDP (2008)(total)[citation needed]
GDP (2009)
(per capita)[citation needed]
Official languages
Coat of arms of Afghanistan.svg
 Afghanistan Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Kabul &0000000000647500.000000647,500 &0000000032738376.00000032,738,376 &0000000000000046.00000046 $&0000000000020099.00000020,099 million $&0000000000000733.000000733 Afghani Dari, Pashto
Coat of arms of Azerbaijan.svg
 Azerbaijan Republic of Azerbaijan Baku &0000000000086600.00000086,600 &Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",".Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ","8,832,000 &0000000000000097.00000097 $&0000000000077665.00000077,665 million $&0000000000008958.0000008,958 Manat Azerbaijani
Coat of arms of Iran.svg
 Iran Islamic Republic of Iran Tehran &0000000001648195.0000001,648,195 &0000000070472846.00000070,472,846 &0000000000000042.00000042 $&0000000000816839.000000816,839 million $&0000000000011209.00000011,209 Rial Persian
Coat of arms of Kazakhstan.svg
 Kazakhstan Republic of Kazakhstan Astana &0000000002724900.0000002,724,900 &0000000015340533.00000015,340,533 &0000000000000005.0000005 $&0000000000167622.000000167,622 million $&0000000000010837.00000010,837 Tenge Kazakh
National emblem of Kyrgyzstan.svg
 Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz Republic Bishkek &0000000000199900.000000199,900 &0000000005356869.0000005,356,869 &0000000000000026.00000026 $&0000000000010508.00000010,508 million $&0000000000002000.0000002,000 Som Kyrgyz
Coat of arms of Pakistan.svg
 Pakistan Islamic Republic of Pakistan Islamabad &0000000000803940.000000803,940 &0000000172800000.000000172,800,000 &0000000000000215.000000215 $&0000000000410295.000000410,295 million $&0000000000002594.0000002,594 Rupee Urdu, English
Coat of arms of Tajikistan.svg
 Tajikistan Republic of Tajikistan Dushanbe &0000000000143100.000000143,100 &0000000007215700.0000007,215,700 &0000000000000050.00000050 $&0000000000011829.00000011,829 million $&0000000000001842.0000001,842 Somoni Tajik
Türkiye arması.svg
 Turkey Republic of Turkey Ankara &0000000000783562.000000783,562 &0000000071517100.00000071,517,100 &0000000000000091.00000091 $&0000000000937143.000000937,143 million $&0000000000012000.00000012,000 Lira Turkish
Coat of Arms of Turkmenistan.svg
 Turkmenistan Turkmenistan Ashgabat &0000000000488100.000000488,100 &0000000005179571.0000005,179,571 &0000000000000010.00000010 $&0000000000026822.00000026,822 million $&0000000000005171.0000005,171 Manat Turkmen
Coat of Arms of Uzbekistan.svg
 Uzbekistan Republic of Uzbekistan Tashkent &0000000000447400.000000447,400 &0000000027345026.00000027,345,026 &0000000000000059.00000059 $&0000000000071618.00000071,618 million $&0000000000002634.0000002,634 Som Uzbek

Organization structure

The following organs exist:

  • The Council of Ministers ( COM ) is the highest policy and decision-making body and is composed of Ministers of Foreign Affairs or such other representatives of the Ministerial rank as may be designated by the Government. The council of Ministers meets at least once a year by rotation among the Member States.
  • 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 the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • The Regional Planning Council (RPC) is composed of the Head of the Planning Organization of the Member States or such other representatives of corresponding authorities.


Activities of ECO are conducted through Directorates under the supervision of Secretary General and his Deputies which considered and evolve projects and programmes 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


  • 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.

Principles of cooperation

  • 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

Regional institutions & Specialized agencies

  • ECO Shipping Company
  • ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • ECO Reinsurance Company[3]
  • ECO Trade & Development Bank
  • ECO Consultancy & Engineering Company
  • 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 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 mission of the ECO Trade & Development Bank is to initiate, promote and provide financial facilities to expand intra-regional trade and to promote the economic development of ECO member countries.

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.

ECI's Charter was signed on 15 March 1995 in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Relationship with other organizations

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.

See also

External links




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