AKIPRESS.COM - "The global political architecture is changing before our eyes and its global transformation is underway," President Shavkart Mirziyoyev said in his address to the 16th Economic Cooperation Organization Summit today in Tashkent.
"It is crucially important for member states of our Organization, which have their important place in these complex processes, to act together in unity and seek for effective solutions to emerging challenges and threats," he said.
Uzbekistan stands for summarizing implementation of the ECO Vision - 2025, the framework document of the Organization.
It is high time for developing the Objectives of Economic Cooperation-2035. This conceptual document will define the future priority areas of engagement for the Organization, building on a thorough analysis of the enormous and still untapped opportunities, President Mirziyoyev said.
This important document will highlight the following main areas.
First. Promotion of mutual trade.
Last year, the trade turnover between ECO countries totaled $85 billion. This represents only 8% of the total foreign trade of the Organization’s member-states.
"Regrettably, the years of efforts to develop a preferential trade agreement have not delivered the expected results. There are still many restrictions and problems to barrier-free trade. We must openly admit this and take a new perspective to turn the situation into a positive shift. I would like to encourage for the adoption of the ECO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement developed by our experts," President Mirziyoyev said.
This document will focus on the following:
- facilitation of trade in goods and services;
- removal of technical and non-tariff barriers;
- digitalization of customs, phytosanitary, and veterinary procedures;
- development of electronic commerce.
Second. Strengthening transport and communication connectivity.
The majority of the member states are landlocked. It is necessary to fully utilize the potential of transcontinental transport corridors that pass through our territories and link us with major markets in the Asia-Pacific region, South Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
The launch of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan and Trans-Afghan multimodal roads in the coming future meets the interests of all member states.
"I also encourage other members to join the document, adopted at the meeting of transport ministers held on November 2, 2023 in Tashkent on the development of “Uzbekistan - Turkmenistan-Iran–Turkiye” Transport Corridor, and optimize mutual tariffs and fees," he said.
President Mirziyoyev proposed to establish ECO’s Digital Transport and Customs Office in Tashkent in order to widely implement and effectively coordinate these modern systems.
Third. Promotion of industrial cooperation and business ties, forming industrial hubs.
"We have developed the Program of Joint Actions to increase the flow of mutual investments, ensure their protection, and deepen industrial cooperation. The document has been submitted to the Secretariat of the Organization. The Program seeks to promote new joint projects in the fields of chemistry, energy, geology, textiles, leather, footwear, food, pharmaceuticals, and construction," President Mirziyoyev stated.Uzbekistan proposes establishment of the Interregional Industrial Exhibition and hold the first exhibition in Uzbekistan in 2024.
Fourth. Ensuring guaranteed energy security.
The harmonization of national energy strategies, the development of interregional energy transmission networks, and the widespread introduction of “green” energy technologies are becoming increasingly important.
By 2030, Uzbekistan seeks to create 25 gigawatts of renewable energy sources and increase the share of renewables in our energy mix to 40%. This year alone, Uzbekistan is launching 2 gigawatts of large wind and solar power plants.
"We are also taking the initial steps in green hydrogen production. We are ready for open dialogue and exchange of experience with all countries in these areas," President Mirziyoyev said.
"We propose to establish a new Council of Ministers of Energy within the Organization to thoroughly discuss issues of cooperation and conduct systemic work," he added.
Fifth. The intensification of our contacts in addressing climate change and environmental protection.
"Our countries are facing the serious consequences of these acute problems. Melting of glaciers, water scarcity, desertification, dust storms, soil erosion and the loss of biodiversity are causing serious concerns. I would like to extend my gratitude to all countries for supporting our initiative to establish a High-level Dialogue Platform for Ecology within the Organization," the President of Uzbekistan stated.
"We are ready to organize its first meeting as part of the Samarkand Climate Forum in 2024," he said.
President Mirziyoyev urged to support the Samarkand Declaration to combat sand and dust storms, which are becoming a growing problem.
Sixth. Enhancing cooperation in the tourism sector.
The General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization recently held in Samarkand with the participation of more than 140 countries has become a historic event in attracting the attention of the world to the tourism potential of the region.
Today, the countries of the Organization accommodate 90 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and nearly 80 million tourists visit countries annually.
"Given the fact that cross-border routes are becoming increasingly popular, I propose to introduce Joint Tourist Routes and increase joint tourist programs within the “Silk Road” Tourism Brand," President Mirziyoyev said.
"I invite member states to take advantage of the opportunities of the International Tourism Academy of the World Tourism Organization, opened in Samarkand," he added.
Seventh. Bringing our peoples together through deepening cultural and humanitarian cooperation.
The annual organization of Culture, Arts and Cinema Weeks in our countries, the establishment of Creative Youth Festivals and Innovative Cooperation Platform, and the strengthening of mutual cooperation in fundamental scientific areas will effectively promote relations.