View from Ukraine: Uzbekistan, chairing ECO, proposes concrete plans for sustainable development


Reprinted from the official information site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan.

KYIV, November 30 / NA "Dune" /.

Chairman of the Board of the Baltic-Black Sea Economic Forum Volodymyr Makukha commented for Dune news agency on the results of the next summit of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the participation of Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the President of Uzbekistan:

Although the ECO is considered a regional intergovernmental economic organization with 10 member states, its authority and influence extend far beyond the borders of these states. One of the testimonies is the UN General Assembly resolution on cooperation with the ECO in September this year.

We also closely followed the course of the 15th ECO summit in Ashgabat. The problematic issues raised during this meeting by the presidents of the participating countries and the proposals for joint action plans were a kind of marker for the international team of the Baltic-Black Sea Economic Forum. These are markers that allow timely adjustments to improve the implementation of international projects that act as connecting bridges between Europe and Asia, from the shores of the Baltic Sea to Central and South Asia.

In this context, it was very important to know the basic, fundamental segments, proposed plans and main directions of joint actions of the ECO member states, which will be emphasized by President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev in his speech.

For the first time in the years of the ECO's existence, Uzbekistan has taken over the chairmanship of this organization for 2022. Uzbekistan's chairmanship in the ECO took place in a very difficult period, especially for the countries of Central and South Asia. The COVID-19 pandemic and the extremely difficult situation in Afghanistan, which is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe, require not only an objective assessment of the situation, a clear definition of basic priorities in the implementation of joint action plans, but also need will and determination in their implementation.

The President of Uzbekistan presented that’s a clear plan of action, once again demonstrating an example of strategic thinking. At the same time, his speech at the ECO summit in Ashgabat should be seen as a consistent concretizing link in a well-defined chain of multilateral joint action plans, which the head of state introduced to everyone at the Tashkent High-Level Conference "Central and South Asia: Regional Interconnectedness. Challenges and opportunities" in July this year. 

In his program speech at the ECO summit, he not only clearly voiced the next guidelines and expected results, not only concretely formulated the proposed joint action plans, but also showed the importance of consistency and systematization of these actions, the importance of interconnected planning decisions to ensure region’s stability and its sustainable development.

In particular, the proposal to remove trade barriers between ECO member states, digitalization of customs procedures, deepening of production cooperation should be considered not only as a significant stimulus and additional development mechanisms within the ECO, but also as an additional incentive for new joint projects, in particular with European partners. 

The challenges, connected to preventing a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan and ensuring food security in the region, require the strengthening of bridges of effective cooperation and interaction, in particular from the Baltic coast to Central and South Asia.

There are also clear recipes for establishing these bridges, both in the proposed plans and in the successive actions of the President and Government of Uzbekistan. Last month, we talked about an important step - Uzbekistan's accession to the intergovernmental agreement on "dry ports". Now, taking another confident step forward, in his speech in Ashgabat, the President of Uzbekistan emphasizes the need not only to effectively use existing transport corridors in the region, but also the need to create new ones, to expand the transit capacity of ECO member states. If we add to this the extremely urgent proposal of the President of Uzbekistan on the importance of creating interregional transit hubs, optimizing transport and transit tariffs, providing additional discounts and simplifying conditions for international freight, we expect a trend of increasing freight through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan (Kuryk and Aktau). The implementation of these timely proposals should stimulate further intensification of cargo movement through the territory of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey using the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) international railway project.