The First ECO Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture
(23-25 July Islamabad- Pakistan)
The First ECO Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture was held in Islamabad, Pakistan at the Marriott Hotel on 25 July 2002 which was inaugurated by the General Pervez Musharraf, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In his inaugural address, H.E. General Pervez Musharraf highlighted the importance of the regional cooperation on agriculture and underlined the significant role of Economic Cooperation Organization in mobilizing the regional resources aiming at prosperous future for its member nations. He also expressed the commitment of the Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan to contribute to the objectives of the Organization. He emphasized the role of trade and the private sector’s involvement in enhancing ECO cooperation in the region.
H.E. Seyed Mojtaba Arastoo, Secretary General, ECO stated that the region have become focus of international attention connected with security, peace and stability as well as economic and social development and emphasized that more stable political and economic environment could be achieved through well framed and targeted programs including sustainable agricultural development.
The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. Khair Mohammad Junejo, the Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and attended by Mr. H.E. Syyed Hosain Anwari, Minister of Agriculture, Afghanistan, H.E. Mr.Mahmoud Hojjati, Minister of Jehad and Agriculture, Iran, H.E. Mr. Tursunbey Rakhmatov, Minister of Agriculture, Tajikistan, H.E. Mr. Husnu Yusuf Gokalp, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Turkey and delegations from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. International organizations, FAO, ICARDA and UNESCAP were also represented in the meeting.
The meeting organized by the Government of Pakistan in cooperation with the ECO Secretariat was the first meeting of agriculture ministers of ECO countries who unanimously adopted “Islamabad Declaration on Agricultural Cooperation among the ECO Member States”, transpiring a common vision to achieve a sustainable agricultural development in accordance with resource endowments and comparative advantages.
During the meeting, the participants reviewed and analyzed the challenges and achievements of ECO countries in agriculture sector. ECO Member States, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey have volunteered to coordinate among the ECO countries on specific areas such as drought management, water management, trade promotion, development of post harvesting and processing industry, conservation of genetic resources and exchange of information through networking. They also agreed to evolve an “ECO Strategy for Agricultural Development and Food Security” with the support of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN.
The next meeting of ECO Agriculture Ministers will be held in Turkey in 2003. In addition, a senior officers/high level expert group meeting will be held in Iran to follow-up of the decisions taken by the Ministers.