2nd General Conference of Parliamentary Assembly of ECO held in Islamabad

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Second General Conference of Parliamentary Assembly of ECO (PAECO) was held from 31st May to 3rd June 2021 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Theme of the Conference was “Promoting Parliamentary Partnership for Regional Integration”. The conference was hosted by the Speaker of National Assembly of Pakistan H.E. Mr. Asad Qaiser, whereas, the Speakers/Deputy Speakers of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan attended the conference. I.R. of Iran and Turkmenistan joined virtually.

The 4-Day conference was opened by H.E. Dr. Arif Alvi President of Pakistan. In his inaugural address, Dr. Alvi said that “your voice will be heard on the global platform only if you are economically strong and stable”. He stressed the need for viable regional integration through an open trade market for sustainable development.

In welcoming remarks, the Speaker of National Assembly of Paksitan Mr. Asad Qaiser said that the ECO countries were sole route for international trade between West and East, thus, the multilateral cooperation was imperative for regional development and economic prosperity. He remarked that ECO region with an area 8 million Square kilometres and vast population of 460 million has immense potential of mutual cooperation in the spheres of trade and economy.

In his virtual address, ECO Secretary General Dr. Hadi Suleimanpour spoke in favour of a strong regional financial system, as well as the creation of banks and a regional payment system to support trade activities in the ECO region. He said that building regional tourism networks and supporting the ECO's annual budget could help ensure the realization of the dream of development and prosperity.

Mir Rehman Rahmani,Speaker of the Wolsi Jirga of Afghanistan; Ms. Sahiba Gafarova, Speaker of the Mili Majlis of Azerbaijan; Mr. Talant Mamytov, Speaker of the Supreme Council of Kyrgyz Republic; Mr. Zokirzoda Mahmodthohir, Chairman of the Majlisi Namoyandagon of the Majlisi Oli, Republic of Tajikstan; Mr. Mustafa Sentop, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey; Mr. Ismoilov Nurdinjoin, Speaker of the Majlis Oli of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Mr. Mynbay Darkhan as Heads of the delegation of the House of Representatives of Kazakhstan also addressed the inaugural ceremony of the conference. Whereas, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran and Ms. Gulshat Mammedova Chairperson of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan virtually addressed the conference.

In their addresses the guest Speakers appreciated Pakistan’s effort to bring ECO member Parliaments on the platform of PAECO. They also mentioned about vast opportunities in the field of economy and trade. They mentioned of the need of close cooperation and connectivity among ECO member states. The Speakers mentioned that PAECO is a platform for regional parliamentary diplomacy through dialogue, consensus, synergy and alignment of national Parliaments of the member states. Speakers also mentioned that peace and tranquillity without eliminating the threats to solidarity and cooperation on a global scale, and especially without international consensus and cooperation on issues such as war, violence and the countering against terrorism is not possible.

The agenda of the conference included discussions on the impact of COVID-19 on implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, the role of parliaments in enhancing trade and connectivity, and advancing tourism for development and poverty alleviation. The aim of the conference was to help and push the governments to further strengthen economic and trade relations, and boost people-to-people contacts between the member states.

PAECO was founded in 2013 and its first Inaugural meeting was held in Islamabad in Feb 2013, with an aim to support the member states in enhancing socio-economic development of the region.

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