President of the Republic of Tajikistan

Speech at the 15th Summit of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO)

28.11.2021 16:30, Turkmenistan

Honorable Chairman,
Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the onset, I would like to congratulate brotherly Turkmenistan on the successful presidency over the Economic Cooperation Organization.

May I convey my deep gratitude to the President of Turkmenistan, His Excellency Gurbanguly Myalikguliyevich Berdimuhamedov for the invitation and for arranging the Summit at such a high level in the beautiful city of Ashgabat.

I wish to also extend my deep appreciation to the previous Chairman of the Organization – His Excellency Rejep Tayyib Erdogan for valuable contribution to strengthening our interaction within the Economic Cooperation Organization.

I am confident that this meeting, which is coinciding with the Day of the Economic Cooperation Organization, will serve as an important step towards further development and strengthening of multifaceted interaction between our countries.

Tajikistan attaches great importance to cooperation in the framework of the ECO.

The Organization’s member states have enormous labor and natural resources, and possess abundant potential in energy, transport and connectivity.

Joint effective use of this potential can contribute to the improved well-being and prosperity, as well as strengthening peace and security in our region.

There are favorable conditions created for mutual trade, free movement of people and transit and transport connectivity, cultural and humanitarian cooperation between our countries has gained further development.

Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the socio-economic development of all countries and regions of the world.

The efforts made to overcome the consequences of the pandemic at the regional and global levels have clearly demonstrated the need for close interaction of the international community during the emergence of global crises.

Dear colleagues,

Trade and investment cooperation is among the priorities of the Organization.

Today, the share of ECO member states in the foreign trade of the Republic of Tajikistan accounts for nearly 40 percent of its total volume.

At the same time, mutual trade within the Organization accounts for only 8 percent of the total foreign trade of its members.

This indicator certainly does not correspond to the existing opportunities and potential.

To increase our trade cooperation, we propose to promote measures removing the quarantine transport and transit restrictions introduced due to the pandemic, as well as tariff and non-tariff trade barriers.

The ECOTA, which has been promoted for many years with a view to increasing trade within the Organization, unfortunately, has yet to be operationalized.

In this regard, we invite the member states to develop a joint plan for the effective implementation of the trade potential of the ECO region.

There is no doubt that the transport connectivity would increase the mutual trade.

In this regard, it is of particular importance to expand the network of transport corridors and ensure the free movement of goods and services between member states.

Therefore, we must attach priority attention to enhancing the transport and transit potential of the Organization’s operation area.

It is important to promote the development of projects for landline transport and connectivity corridors within the ECO.

In this context, we believe the transportation of goods by road along the corridor "Kyrgyzstan – Tajikistan – Afghanistan – Iran" (KTAI) tested last year was a significant step.

Dear colleagues,

Energy cooperation is essential for economic growth and sustainable development in the ECO region.

We are eager to be proactively engaged in the implementation of the projects under development to connect and form regional energy networks, in particular, to create a Regional Energy Market.

We emphasize the importance of the timely and full implementation of the CASA-1000 project of a high-voltage power transmission line.

Tajikistan is known for its vast resources of clean renewable energy.

Hydropower plants generate about 98 percent of Tajikistan’s electricity.

Tajikistan is in the group of six leading countries in the world in terms of the "green" energy share.

We propose to the Secretariat to initiate the development of the ECO Region Energy Sustainability Strategy.

This strategy could facilitate an implementation of projects that focus on the increased use of renewable energy and the development of a “green” economy.

Tajikistan is interested in developing industrial cooperation with the ECO member states.

We in this regard do believe it is important to pay attention to expanding investment cooperation, as well as developing mechanisms for financing small and medium enterprises.

Ensuring food security as an urgent task requires active cooperation between the Organization’s member states.

The need for such cooperation becomes even more urgent due to the need to overcome the socio-economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We invite the Secretariat to study the issue of developing an appropriate document aimed at coordinating the efforts of member states to ensure food security.

In this regard, in our view, it is important to develop a long-term plan for the development of cooperation in the field of agriculture within the Organization at the earliest.

Our countries remain vulnerable to the climate change risks.

The persistent drought in recent years has had tangible impacts on agriculture.

Due to the accelerated melting, the total volume of glaciers in Tajikistan has decreased by almost a third.

Mudflows, floods, landslides and other natural disasters have become more frequent, which annually cause significant damage to the economy.

With these factors in mind, we believe it is important within our Organization to give priority attention to climate change issues and, in this context, to reduce the risk of natural disasters.

I hope that the proposals previously voiced by Tajikistan to declare 2025 the International Year for Preservation of Glaciers and determine a specific date for the World Glacier Day, as well as to establish an International Glacier Protection Fund, will gain the support of our ECO partners.

Dear colleagues,

Tourism is an area of regional cooperation hardly hit by the pandemic.

Elimination of the negative consequences of the pandemic and the restoration of international and domestic tourism in our region necessitates strengthening cooperation between member states in this area.

With a view to contributing to the solution of this issue within the framework of our Organization, Tajikistan hosted the International Festival "Dushanbe - the Tourism Capital of ECO" and the International Agri-tourism Forum in August this year.

We invite the Secretariat to facilitate the implementation of measures aimed at the full use of the region's tourism opportunities for the benefit of the sustainable development of our countries.

At the same time, the focus should be on the issues of enrichment and strengthening of cultural and humanitarian ties between our peoples.

We are pleased that the organization's project activities are consistently expanding and, in this regard, we emphasize the need to revitalize the activities of its specialized institutions.

Along with this, in our view, it is important to establish a broad dialogue with other international and regional organizations, as well as financial institutions in order to mobilize technical and financial assistance for the development and implementation of programs and projects in the ECO region.

In this context, I would like to note the significance of the UN General Assembly Resolution on cooperation between the UN and ECO adopted on September 9 this year.

Tajikistan intends to further take an active part in the activities of the Organization in all six priority areas set out in the fundamental document "ECO Vision - 2025".

Dear colleagues,

We recognize the importance of Afghanistan as an integral player in the implementation of our joint trade and economic, and transit and connectivity projects and programs in the framework of the Organization.

The further promotion of all outlined plans in this area mainly depends on the normalization of the politico-military situation and ensuring security in this country.

In our view, the solution of the problems that have arisen in Afghanistan dictates the need for the earliest possible creation of an inclusive government in this country with the engagement of all ethnopolitical groups.

Afghanistan is currently on the brink of a humanitarian disaster.

With the onset of cold weather, the situation may worsen even more, which will lead to famine.

In this regard, we believe it is necessary to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan through the UN agencies and international humanitarian organizations.

I am convinced that the relevant activities on further strengthening of interaction within the Organization will continue in a constructive manner in the upcoming period of the presidency of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

I congratulate His Excellency President Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev on resuming the Organization’s presidency by the Republic of Uzbekistan.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate my gratitude to the President of Turkmenistan, H.E. Gurbanguly Myalikgulyevich Berdimuhamedov for the warm welcome and cordial hospitality.

I thank you for your attention.

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