32nd Meeting of ECO Regional Planning Council (RPC) held in Hybrid Mode

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The 32nd Meeting of the ECO Regional Planning Council (RPC) was held from January 17-26, 2022. The Meeting held in hybrid mode because of the prevailing situation of COVID-19 pandemic, thus, the Meeting prolonged to two weeks. During the meeting, various sectoral committees discussed and considered their specific areas for making appropriate recommendations to the RPC.

The meeting was attended by the delegations Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkey, Turkmenistan and Republic of Uzbekistan participated in the meeting. Moreover, the Representatives of the Turkish Cypriot State and Energy Charter attended the Meeting in the capacity of Observers. The ECO Secretary General along with the Deputies Secretary General and other relevant staff of the Secretariat, as well as the Representatives of ECO Specialized Agencies, Regional Institutions and Affiliated Bodies also attended the Meeting. President ECOSF along with Scientific Officer, Assistant Director and Accounts Officer represented ECOSF in the Meeting.

The ECO Secretary General, H.E. Mr. Khusrav Noziri welcomed the participants and highlighted the significance of RPC in consideration of its essentially important role of analyzing and evaluating the Organization’s ongoing activities as well as considering and developing some new projects and programs to be implemented to shoulder, support and continue the regional development process.  Despite the post-pandemic challenges, the ECO Secretariat managed to convene several important meetings in 2021, both in virtual/hybrid and physical formats, added the Secretary General. Moreover, the Secretary General congratulated the Republic of Uzbekistan for assuming the Organization’s Chairmanship for 2022, assuring his complete support and cooperation to ensure the implementation of any initiatives by Uzbekistan which are aimed at maintaining and accelerating the Organization’s performance for smooth socioeconomic progress in the region.

Being the Organization’s Chair, the Meeting was chaired by Mr. Ashraf Khodjaev, Director of the Department of Economic Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Mr. Khodjaev welcomed the participants and thanked them for joining the Plenary Session of the 32nd RPC to consider, review and finalize the ECO’s Work Program and Calendar of Events-2022. Expressing deep pleasure over the first-time assumption of ECO’s Chairmanship by the Republic of Uzbekistan, he assured that his country is well-determined to effectively meet the assigned responsibility for further strengthening regional cooperation within the ECO framework.

Prof. Soomro made the statement of ECOSF in the meeting. In his statement, he said that the entire world has been facing challenges due to deadly COVID-19, although situation is improving but it is not yet back to normal. Hence, the pandemic has not only raised the expectations we have of science, but it has also emphasized the fact that stronger collaboration & cooperation among nations to develop scientific solutions towards this global challenge, is much needed. Therefore, collaboration across scientists and experts is a powerful way of bringing evidence and scientific consensus to the attention of policymakers to make informed decisions grounded in the evidence-based research. This lies at the core of values & principles that ECOSF was established for. President ECOSF also shared the progress of the Foundation made during the year 2021.

Prof. Soomro further said that he is personally and on behalf of the Foundation, grateful to the Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan for signing the Host Country Agreement in December 2021, thereby making it possible for staff from other Member Countries to join ECOSF in Islamabad. He hoped that his successor from I.R. of Iran Prof. Syed Komail Tayebi would join soon and wished him all the best. He also said that this also means that this RPC meeting is going to be his last meeting; hence he personally thanked all the Member States and the Secretary General, the past four Secretaries General of ECO as well as the Scientific Community of the region & ECO Secretariat staff for their continuous support in establishing the organization and running it for the last over eight years. He also made sincere appreciation to ECOSF’s small but dedicated and able team for their efforts and support in his endeavours as the Founder President.

The Council appreciated and thanked the ECO Secretary General and his team for making necessary arrangements for successful holding 32nd meeting of RPC and preparation of relevant documents. The Council concluded the meeting with a vote of thanks to the Chair for managing the meeting in a proactive, smooth, and efficient manner. The Council also acknowledged and thanked the Chairmen of various Sectoral Committees for successfully conducting their tasks.

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