The Baku Forum of the Organization of Economic Cooperation (ECO) was launched during the Annual Meeting of the ECO held in 2012 in Baku. The 1st Baku Forum of Economic Think-Tanks of ECO Member States was held on 5-6 September 2013, and, as a part of the Forum, the 1st International Conference on “Energy, Regional Integration and Socio-economic Development” was also held. In line with tradition, the 2nd Baku Forum of Economic Think-Tanks of Economic Cooperation Organization Member States & the 2nd International Conference on “Energy, Regional Integration and Socio-Economic Development” were held on 1-3 October 2014 in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan. The two events were organized by the Ministry of Economy and Industry of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Economic Modelling Network and Institute for Scientific Research on Economic Reforms. The two events brought together representatives from about 30 countries and included round table breakout sessions where about 120 lectures have been made on contemporary challenges of industrialization, scientific research and funding opportunities, prospects of government-university-private sector cooperation and other topics related to cooperation of international organizations, government institutions and private sectors.
Prof. Savas Alpay, Director General of SESRIC has been invited to these two events as a high-level international guest by the Minister of Economy and Industry of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Prof. Alpay made a speech at the opening ceremony of the 2nd Baku Forum-Conference on 1st October 2014. In his speech, Prof. Alpay highlighted the importance of ECO group within the large OIC group.
Giving some statistical figures on the significance of the ECO block within the OIC region, Prof. Alpay underlined the fact that ECO has a significant infrastructure and great potential for economic and development cooperation within the group as well as in a larger scope with the rest of the OIC countries. He also highlighted the importance of cooperation among ECO Member States in the energy sector with a view to facilitate their effective engagement into international energy trade and to reach different markets in the world.
On the other hand, in his speech, Prof. Alpay underscored the crucial role of the economic think-tanks in raising the quality of policymaking through bringing new ideas and perspectives on policy formulation to the attention of policymakers and the public. He mentioned that, equipped with the information provided by think-tanks, policymakers can make better choices, civil society organisations can better advocate for public interest, and the public can participate more effectively in the policy process. Giving some statistical figures on the Think-Tanks institutions worldwide, Prof. Alpay underlined the fact that the OIC region, including the ECO countries, is unfortunately still lagging behind in this important area.