The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), with the financial support of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), are partnering on the establishment of the Clean Energy Centre for the ECO region (hereinafter CECECO). ECO Member States include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The Implementation Framework of the ECO Vision 2025 aims to establish the regional centre by 2025.
Energy represents one of the priority areas of ECO along with trade and transport. ECO’s energy agenda has nowadays a strong focus on promoting the uptake of sustainable energy product and service markets in the region. The adoption of innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and business models offers opportunities to enhance inclusive and sustainable economic growth and industrialisation and the reduction of negative environmental externalities (e.g. local pollution and climate change) at the same time. This is also part of the global trend towards circular economy concepts and emerging technologies such as cleantech, industry 4.0 and digitalisation.
The CECECO is being developed under the umbrella of the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres (GN-SEC) and follows its theory of change. The innovative platform offers opportunities for joint learning and south-south cooperation on priority issues and solutions. UNIDO provides technical services for institution-building and technical program development of the centre in line with the developed twinning methodology.
ECO and UNIDO have undertaken a comprehensive consultative preparatory process, which determined the added value, feasibility as well as the technical and institutional design of the centre. The process included the development of a baseline and needs assessment, a feasibility study and a project document on the first operational phase of the centre. The documents determine the best institutional and technical design for the CECECO. Laudable progress has been achieved. The CECECO design was validated during a regional workshop organised on 23 June 2020 by the ECO Secretariat and UNIDO.
The 25th Meeting of the ECO Council of Ministers (COM), held on November 27, 2021 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, adopted the Charter of the CECECO and nominated the Republic of Azerbaijan as the host country of the centre. The host country was selected based on a competetive process. Currently, the ECO Secretariat, UNIDO and Azerbaijan are finalising the hosting arrangements and are discussing financial support with various international partners.