On the sidelines of Azerbaijan International Telecommunications and Information Technologies Exhibition and Conference Bakutel 2017, the 2nd meeting of the Ministers of Information and Communication Technologies of the member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) was held in Baku. It should be recalled that the first meeting was held in Tehran in 2012.
The meeting discussed the prospects for multilateral cooperation in the areas of regulation, radio frequencies, telecommunications, satellite services, cybersecurity and high technologies.
The event was attended by representatives of the secretariat of the Economic Cooperation Organization, International Telecommunication Union, heads of relevant agencies of Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
Azerbaijan is also cooperating with other member countries in a number of priority areas, including in transport, energy, trade and investment fields within the framework of the organization.
Speaking at the meeting, Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Ramin Guluzade said that holding the 2nd meeting of the Ministers of Information and Communication Technologies of ECO member states in Baku is the result of Azerbaijan’s success as an initiator and participant of a number of important regional and economic projects.
By citing Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway as an example, the Minister said that Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline is a major infrastructure project connecting the Caspian Sea with the Mediterranean Sea.
“Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline has been operating successfully for over 10 years. These projects play an important role in the energy security of Europe. One of the strategically important regional infrastructure projects is Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line. This railway line is the shortest and most reliable route connecting Europe to Asia. Along with the development of the East-West transport corridor, Azerbaijan also invests in the development of the North-South transport corridor. In October this year, together with Russia, we laid the foundation of an motoway bridge on the Azerbaijani-Russian border across the Samur River. All work on the North-South railway project have been completed on the territory of Azerbaijan. We are closely cooperating with the Islamic Republic of Iran in connection with the construction of Resht-Astara railway.”
Ramin Guluzade also stressed the importance of building a new international sea port in the settlement of Alat in turning the country into a transit transport and logistics center.
Touching upon the ICT sector, the minister noted that the tasks for the development of information and communication technologies are defined in the Strategic Roadmap for the Development of Telecommunication and Information Technologies in the Republic of Azerbaijan, approved by the decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Ramin Guluzade also pointed out the coincidence of these goals with the Regional Strategy of the Organization for Economic Cooperation for the Development of the Information Society.
“Expanding cooperation with high-tech parks operating in ECO member countries, innovative centers, business incubators, and creation of joint start-ups can be one of the areas of cooperation between our countries in the field of ICT. We are also interested in increasing the volume of electronic commerce between our countries. To this end, we consider it necessary to carry out joint work on mutual recognition of electronic signature certificates. One step to be taken in this direction could be the signing of a multilateral relevant agreement between the member states. I am confident that holding such meetings within the framework of the Organization for Economic Cooperation will give impetus to the cooperation between our countries in the field of ICT and will play the role of an effective platform.”
ECO Secretary General Halil Ibrahim Akca expressed gratitude for the organization of the 2nd ministerial meeting in Baku at a high level. According to him, close cooperation in the field of transport and ICT is carried out with Azerbaijan: “The cooperation of the ECO with Azerbaijan is very useful for the development of the transport and communication system of the region. Azerbaijan is the main participant in the project of Gazvin-Rasht-Astara railway, North-South and East-West transport corridors. The main goal of the organization is to achieve sustainable economic growth, trade liberalization, promotion of the region’s internal trade, development of transport and communication system.”
ECO Secretary General also stressed that today’s conference was dedicated to analyzing the results of yesterday’s discussions of the joint working group and expanding cooperation within the organization.
He also considered it expedient to optimize the legislative and regulatory policy in the relevant field in the member states, intensify cooperation in a multilateral format on ICT.
Then speeches were made by representatives of the member states (Turkey, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan).
In conclusion, the adoption of the Baku Declaration as a recommendatory document on the results of the issues discussed at the meetings of the working groups was discussed. It was noted that today’s discussions will give impetus to the development of ICT in member countries.