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CPEC a project of the century- Iran, Turkey and other ECO member countries keen to join CPEC

While Iran and Turkey have expressed their desire to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project at the 13 ECO Summit held in Pakistan, the other member countries were also willing to be the part of CPEC—a project of the century.

Prominent among the participants of the ECO Summit were including Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov and Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon appreciated Pakistan initiatives for promoting integration with an economic vision to develop an effective economic bloc of the ECO member countries.

The infrastructure development under CPEC is currently in full swing, which is destined to bring a new culture of regional connectivity making Pakistan as the central point where transit trade routes converge linking Russia through Pakistan with Central Asian region converting ECO into a key regional economic bloc.

According to Dr Noor Fatima, who is an outstanding economist, the mega project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would play an instrumental role in bringing revolutionary changes in the country’s economy. The government was working for regional connectivity and the more stakeholders would become part of CPEC.

CPEC TOWER

The government has decided last week to build ‘The CPEC Tower’ which would be the tallest building in the city serving as a symbol of socioeconomic progress of Pakistan.

This iconic project will also be symbolizing China-Pakistan friendship and is being designed to provide facilitation to Chinese and other investors from around the world. CPEC Tower would be equipped with state-of-the-art hotel, office spaces, commercial spaces and modern facilities.

The tallest building is expected to help image building of Islamabad as a sustainable and vibrant city thriving upon entrepreneurship, science and technology, research and development, finance and culture. A high level committee headed by Malik Ahmed Khan, Member Infrastructure, PD & R will work on the proposed CPEC Tower.

BELT & ROAD

The Belt and Road (B&R) is an innovative paradigm of global integration involving 65 countries, including one-third of the world’s GDP, impacting 65 percent of the world’s population and a quarter of all the goods and services, the website observed.

It may be recalled that the Chinese President Xi Jinping had announced the Belt and Road Initiative in late 2013. It comprises the “Belt,” which is a network of roads across the world, and “the Road” which is actually a network of shipping lanes and ports.

The project has a geo-strategic component focused on advancing China’s economic goals and utilizing its industrial potential. It serves to remove China’s dependence on the Malacca Strait for oil imports, improves trade connectivity, furthers China’s foreign policy and minimizes conflicts as it reconnects the world.

This project of the century has kept the world economy afloat since 2013 by withstanding the crash of the trans-Atlantic banking systems. As PricewaterhouseCoopers reports, the “real value” in China’s economy and its investments in countries along its Belt and Road initiative is shifting to infrastructure projects and rising at a rapid pace.

The B&R is to be financed mainly by the Silk Road Fund and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. Additionally, the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership provides Beijing with the perfect opportunity to re-integrate Asian investment that used to find its way to American banks.

Further prospects and direction of the B&R initiative will be determined at the “two sessions” as the project is an integral part of China’s new reforms and an intrinsic part of its foreign policy.

China is going to hold the Belt and Road forum this May and it would be a masterstroke by China if more countries like US and India announce their participation or signal their approval with their presence at this forum; the great game is never really over and there is much more scope in Chinese wisdom and peaceful globalization in the Eurasian Century.

IMPORTANT POINTS: DECLARATION OF 13TH ECO SUMMIT ISLAMABAD

– Approaching connectivity as a dynamic concept that encompasses multiple dimensions including cyber, energy, rail, road, and ports and shipping.

– Encouraging further development of educational and scientific linkages, and cultural and people to people contacts.

– Underlining the significance of fully exploiting the complementarities offered by shared geography, history and culture, and the comparative advantages and diversity of resources of member states to bring about greater connectivity and economic integration in the ECO Region.

– Appreciating the value and importance of a steady and flexible approach to regional connectivity and integration that enables Member States to contribute to, be part of and benefit from the various connectivity and integration programs in a gradual and progressive manner according to their respective state of preparedness.

– Recognizing the existence of various connectivity initiatives in the ECO region, and welcoming that these projects feed into the overall vision of comprehensive ECO connectivity and integration.

– Reiterating commitment to promote intra-ECO trade as an instrument of enhanced economic cooperation and revitalization in the Region.

– Underlining the importance of the Post 2015 Development Agenda and the role that can be played by the ECO member states for achieving the goals and targets set out therein and in this context recalling that promotion of conditions for sustainable development through mobilization of economic and social potential of the ECO region requires further strengthened cooperation and collaboration especially through enhanced trade and connectivity among the member states in order to further strengthen  the deep-rooted historical and cultural ties among the peoples of the Region.

– Recognizing the importance of moderation as an approach to counter all forms of extremism and promote dialog, mutual respect, understanding and social harmony, thereby contributing towards the achievement of sustainable and inclusive development, equitable growth, stability and prosperity in the ECO Region.

– Acknowledging the importance of Afghanistan for ECO region and reiterating our continued support to the national, regional and global efforts for reconstruction and sustainable development as well as peace and security in Afghanistan.

– Welcoming the recently adopted United Nations General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/71/222) on proclaiming International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development ” 2018-2028.

– Welcoming the adoption of the ECO Vision 2025 as a comprehensive document outlining the core principles and areas of cooperation within ECO, and Resolving that Member States as well as ECO Secretariat, ECO Specialized Agencies and Regional Institutions will take necessary steps for implementation of ECO Vision 2025 in a timely and effective manner.

– Underscore the three core principles of ECO Vision 2025, i.e. sustainability, integration and conducive environment and emphasize the need to augment cooperation in the areas of trade, transport and connectivity, energy, tourism, economic growth and productivity and social-welfare and environment as identified in Vision 2025.

– Envision a more efficient and effective ECO, equipped with required capabilities and resources, to better serve the noble objectives of the Organization; and hereby Task our relevant Officials and the ECO Secretariat to take necessary and effective measures, using inside and outside resources, to bring about necessary reforms in the Organization.

– Encourage Member States to accede to relevant agreements developed within the ECO framework in order to achieve the objectives set forth under the Treaty of Izmir and the ECO Vision 2025; and Task hereby our relevant Ministers and authorities to consider joining these agreements.

– Enhance ECO-wide connectivity in terms of transport and transit; telecommunications; cyber; and all forms of energy; as well as people-to-people exchanges, including through regional tourism arrangements.

– Welcome in this regard the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a far-reaching initiative that would act as catalyst for the development of the entire region.

– Work to double the current level of intra-ECO trade within the next 3-5 years, including through implementation of ECO Trade Agreement (ECOTA) and other ECO trade-related arrangements; as well as identification and elimination of physical and non-physical barriers to this end.

– Acknowledge the crucial role of financing projects on regional development, appreciate the ECO Bank’s growing scope of activities in this regard and Underline the need to further strengthen the Bank through augmenting its resource base, as well as increasing its membership.

– Call for making ECO Reinsurance Company operational at the earliest and Encourage other Member States to join it.

– Enhance regional cooperation in energy sector, focusing inter alia, on energy efficiency; energy infrastructure development including oil and gas pipelines, intra-regional energy trade, particularly electricity trade; and access to affordable energy resources, including renewable energy resources by promoting green energy investment and the development of environmentally friendly energy technologies; and Task respective authorities to consider possibility of pursuing the ongoing initiative of establishment of ECO Regional Electricity Market with the widest possible intra-regional power grid interconnection.

– Develop, operationalize and commercialize the ECO intra-regional transit networks as well as corridors connecting ECO Region with other regions in line with the ECO rail and road development plans, with a view to building the required infrastructure needed for bolstering trade and transport connectivity within the Region and beyond.

– Recognize that the expansion of regional cooperation has, direct or indirect, impacts on safety, prosperity and welfare of our peoples and societies, including environment and climate change, health, food security standards, disaster risk reduction and education, which continue to be on the agenda of the Organization; and Task our relevant Ministers and officials as well as ECO Secretariat to streamline these important issues and concerns in the activities/projects of the Organization.

– Ensure that the existing regional arrangements and programs in ECO to combat the menace of drugs and transnational organized crimes, including, inter alia, human trafficking, are in place and continue to function and that effective regional mechanisms for cooperation in law enforcement, judicial issues, capacity building, as well as other relevant areas are established.

– Renew our strong desire for a secure, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan, and recalling our recent commitments made in the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, Task our relevant authorities and the ECO Secretariat to develop a comprehensive ECO advocacy program for Afghanistan in the upcoming “ECO Special Conference on Afghanistan” to be held in May 2017 in Kabul.

– Express support to the implementation of the UN General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/71/222) on International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” 2018-2028, adopted on December 21, 2016, and instruct the relevant authorities as well as the ECO Secretariat to consider this issue in the framework of the activities and projects of the Organization.

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