International Energy Charter observership of ECO follows the granting of reciprocal observer status to ECO, which was approved at the 27th Energy Charter Conference in Tokyo on November 26-27 of last year. International Energy Charter-ECO reciprocal observer status formal approvals come as a result of mutually beneficial and practical cooperation initiatives that have been developed by the Secretariats of both organisations during 2016. These include, in particular, a jointly organized technical workshop; ‘Stimulating energy investments in an era of low oil prices and de-carbonisation’, which took place under the auspices of the 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul in October 2016.
The Council of Ministers (COM) meeting was taking place a day prior to the 13th ECO Summit, which was being hosted by the government of Pakistan on 1 March 2017. The International Energy Charter was invited to attend both the COM and the Summit, and given the floor in the former in order to address event participants. In his intervention during the COM meeting, Energy Charter Principal Coordinator of the Knowledge Centre, Dr Marat Terterov, stressed that the Charter can become a useful partner for the ECO countries as they seek to develop regional cooperation in the energy sector. The Charter is both a friend and natural ally of the ECO region, he stressed, since eight of the ten ECO member states have also ratified the Energy Charter Treaty. The other two ECO member countries are observers of the Energy Charter Conference, and the Energy Charter Treaty remains open to their accession.