Directorate of Human Resources & Sustainable Development
The issue of Human Resource Development has always been considered important for ECO Member States. Establishment of the Directorate for Human Development at the Secretariat first proposed under ECO-UNDP Capacity Building programme which was implemented in two phases during 1998-2003.
Later on 13th Council of Ministers (COM) held in June 11, 2003, in Bishkek, set up Eminent Persons Group (EPG) with the mandate to submit its recommendations on the measures to promote efficiency and effectiveness of ECO. The EPG in section D of its recommendations regarding consideration of new priorities and new issues highlighted by international organizations such as UN Millennium Development Goals etc. recommended the following:
“However, to take into account developments that have taken place in the international environment and in the member states, the issues of the human resource development, poverty alleviation, environment, agriculture and industry should receive increased attention from member states at national and regional levels”.
The EPG’s report was submitted to 14th COM Meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan which endorsed the report in principle and referred to CPR for further consideration. The report was deliberated upon thoroughly by the CPR and in several sessions of a Working Group created by it, as well. Resultantly, 104th Meeting of the CPR (14th September 2005) inter alia, recommended the establishment of a new Directorate with nomenclature of “Directorate of Human Resources and Sustainable Development (HRSD)” to deal with the matters relating to Human Resource Development, Social Development, Drug Control Affairs, Health, Poverty Alleviation, etc. The 15th COM (Astana, 1st October 2005), accorded its approval to these recommendations and instructed CPR to make necessary adjustments to the Organizational Chart of the Secretariat based on the above decision.
Accordingly, the 105th Meeting if CPR (October 19, 2005) approved the Organizational Structure of ECO Secretariat with necessary adjustments, effective from 1st January 2006.
The 15th COM meeting also adopted “ECO Vision 2015” as Basic Reference Document of ECO in which they reaffirmed commitment towards achieving the aims and objectives of the organization. In this Vision specific attention is paid to the Resource Development and Poverty Alleviation, related points of which are reproduced bellow:
“Human Resource Development and Poverty Alleviation:
We commit to:
· Take necessary measures for the development of human resources and to improve social, educational and health standards of our peoples,
· Drastically reduce the poverty and hunger,
· Upgrade the training of the workforce, so as to make it competitive, especially in hi-tech industries, including, inter alia, information technology,
· In compliance with the UN Millennium Development Goals, intensify poverty reduction efforts through human resource development, special programmes at national and regional levels to accelerate development of areas lagging behind in economic growth and appropriate income re-distribution policies,
· Ensure that all the girls and boys of the member states are able to complete primary schooling by the year 2015,
· Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five and reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio by the year 2015.
Since is emergence (1st January 2006) the HRSD Directorate is striving to identify its priorities and new scope for activities. The Secretariat has conducted several technical, expert level and high raking meetings to identify priority areas.
The main issues being dealt within this directorate are as follow:
· Human Development and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
· Natural Disaster Management
People are the real wealth of the nations. Indeed the basic purpose of development is the well being of people and to enlarge human choices, mainly to lead a long and healthy life; to be knowledgeable; to have access to resources needed for a decent standard of living and to participate in the life of community.
During the past century progress in human development was drastic and unprecedented. But despite this impressive progress, massive human deprivation remains. Considering this issue, world leaders present in the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, adopted Millennium Declaration and expressed their determination to end the world poverty and achieve human objectives.
Stemmed from that declaration are Millennium Development Goals (MDG) a set of 8 goals including eradication of poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; gender equality; reducing child mortality etc, that establish concrete, time-bounded targets for advancing development and reducing by 2015 or earlier. Some of the ECO activities and programs in this regard are as follows:
- Organized 1st Meeting of the ECO High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Human Development and MDGs (19–20 December, 2006) in Ankara-Turkey.
- Organized 2nd Meeting of the ECO High Level Experts Group (HLEG) on Human Resource Development (HRD) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (11-12 February, 2008) in Islamabad -Pakistan.
- Finalized the preparation of an analytical regional report on Health Related Millennium Development Goals i.e. Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality, Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health and Goal 6: Combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases. The report introduced recommendations for each Member State and suggestions at regional level. Some regional projects based on findings and recommendations of report and beneficial for the Member States are expected to be identified and implemented.
Note: With the collaboration of ECO Secretariat and UNICEF, a Consultant Team, comprising six University Professors and researchers, was constituted to work on the report. The Team made fact finding trips to selected ECO Member States. In 2009 the draft report was prepared and the Secretariat furnished the relevant excerpts of the draft report to the respective Member States for their consideration and comments. Pakistan and Turkey commented on the draft and the report has been finalized in April 2010. ECO Secretariat has already initiated consultation with the Member States and relevant International bodies to identify and implement some regional projects, based on the findings and recommendations of the above-mentioned report which are essential for the region. However, implementation of this kind of projects demands the financial support of the Member States as well as regional and international organizations.
There is no doubt that health is the most valued possession and most precious capital of the mankind. Every human being has the right to health, regardless of his or her personal legal status. Every government has an obligation to secure access to basic rights by all persons on their territory.
National Societies have recognized the central importance of health as a critical input to development, as a fundamental right with a value in itself, and as a cornerstone of humanitarian assistance.
Improved and constantly developing health system contributes to social well-being through its impact on economic development, competitiveness and productivity. Hence, high-performing health systems contribute to economic development and national prosperity.
During the recent years health sector has experienced expanding scope of cooperation. The Member States as well as relevant international organizations also supported this new orientation. Some of the activities in this field are summarized follow:
i) Organizing several meetings and activities as follow:
- 1st HLEG on Health focusing on Avian Influenza on 12-13 March 2006 in Tehran hosted by the Iranian Ministry of Health.
- 1st HLEG Meeting on Drug (Pharmaceutical) Regulatory Authorities of ECO Member States on 13-15 November 2007 in Tehran hosted by the Iranian Ministry of Health.
- The “1st Study Tour for Health Authorities of ECO Member States” organized jointly by ECO and UNFPA on 9-12 December 2007 in Tehran.
- The 1st Meeting of the Heads of Blood Transfusion Organizations/Authorities of ECO Member States on 23 – 24 June, 2008 in Tehran hosted by the Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization.
- 1st ECO Health Ministers Meeting on 5th February 2010 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
- 2nd Meeting of Heads of Blood Transfusion Organizations of the Member States on 26-27 April 2010 in Ankara, Turkey.
- Two back to back Workshops on “Voluntary Blood Donor Recruitment” and “Quality Assurance in Blood Transfusion” on 10-12 May 2010 in Tehran hosted by MOH of Iran.
- 2nd Study Tour for Health Authorities of ECO Member States on 7-11 June 2010 hosted by the Ministry of Health of Turkey in Ankara and Istanbul.
- Two back to back Workshops on “Pharmacovigilance” and “Drug Quality Control” on 19-21 July 2010 hosted by MOH of Iran in Tehran.
Workshop on “Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Osteoporosis” on 17-19 October 2010 hosted by Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran.
ii) Giving a kick-start towards establishment of the ECO Blood Safety Network. A contract between ECO Secretariat and Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization has been signed in April 2010 and basic steps for establishment of the Network have been initiated accordingly. Setting up a regional information network (e-network) for record and updating information on blood transfusion services and blood safety among ECO Member States would be the main objective of the Network.
iii) Working towards Establishment of the ECO Drug (Pharmaceutical) Regulatory Network. The modalities of the Network clarifying various aspects such as structure, objectives, activities etc prepared by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The main mission of this Network is to promote drug regulatory harmonization that covers all aspects of quality and safety of pharmaceutical products as a contribution to the quality of life and health care of the people of ECO region.
iv) An academic course on Master of Public Health (MPH) for empowering health authorities of ECO Member States was also being negotiated during recent years to be conducted by Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran as soon as possible.
ECO Member States are located in a disaster prone area. During the last decade there has been an increase in the number of natural disasters worldwide and in the ECO region. Frequent happening of disastrous earthquake and flood in the region and also serious draught make natural disasters all contributed to the increased vulnerability of the economic development and well being of the people of the region. However, disaster management issues are also a new field in ECO activities and considering the importance of this issue, the ECO Secretariat is trying to identify and expand regional cooperation/programmes for this end. In this regard a number of steps are taken that are explored as follow:
- Organizing the Workshop on “School Earthquake Safety Review” on 1-2 June 2006 in Istanbul, Turkey in cooperation with OECD and GeoHazards International (GHI).
- Organizing the 2nd ECO International Conference on Disaster Risk Management on 8-10 October, 2007 in Islamabad, Pakistan.
- ECO and the United Nations Secretariat of International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 9th May 2007.
- Organizing the 3rd ECO International Conference on Disaster Risk Management on 7-8 October, 2008, Tehran, Iran
- Organizing the 4th International Conference on Disaster Risk Management on 7 – 8 October, 2009 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
- Organizing the 5th International Conference on Disaster Risk Management on 10-11 November, 2010 in Astana, Kazakhstan.