Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation
Establishment: 25th of June 1992, Azerbaijan, Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukrainian Government officials has signed the Summit Declaration (renamed after as Istanbul Declaration) on establishment Black Sea Economic Cooperation. 25th of June 1992, together with Istanbul Declaration, 11 State and Government officials signed Bosfor Declaration.
Istanbul Declaration affirms principles, fundamentals, directions and initial mechanisms of Black Sea Cooperation. However, Bosfor Declaration shows Istanbul declaration and Black Sea Cooperation initiatives in the main framework.
5th of June 1998 in Yalta city, leaders of State and Government has signed Black Sea Economic Cooperation Charter and in 1999 the document came into force by receiving organisational status.
Organisation consists of 12 members: Azerbaijan, Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Romania, Serbia & Montenegro (members since April 2004), Turkey and Ukraine.
International Observers: Egypt, Germany, Israel, Poland, Slovakia, Tunisia, Italy, Austria, and France. Observance is for 2 years.
From the day it was founded it attracts attention of other countries in the region. And this in turn, proves prestige of this organisation.
16-18th of April 2003, at the BSEC's Ministers of Foreign Affair Council's 8th Conference held in Erevan, Ministers responded positively to the Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro's membership and invited abovementioned countries to submit their documents in order to become fully-fledged member. In April 2004, by ratifying the charter of BSEC, Serbia & Montenegro become a fully-fledged member of BSEC.
Coordination of Member -States implemented by the Permanent International Secretariat of BSEC. Secretariat is based in Istanbul and its main duty to provide BSEC's administrative work. At present, the duty of Head-Secretary of BSEC's Permanent International Secretariat performs Valeriy Chechelashvili (Georgia). The post of secretary-General is considered for 3 years (with option to be reselected).
It is important to note, that BSEC's Ministries of Foreign Affairs Council met in Baku on 30th April 2004 on 10th conference and the representative of Azerbaijan has been selected as deputy of Secretary-General.
Main organs of BSEC: Head organ - Council of Ministers of Foreign Affair (CMFA)
Council is the main decision-making organ. Conferences take place several times during 6 month with the purpose of analysing cooperation results and appointment of new posts.
Every member chairs organisation for six month and at the end of chairmanship - hosts a CMFA conference on the territory of its country. While chairing, each country's Minister of Foreign Affairs implements BSEC's coordination activity.
Azerbaijan has been chairing meeting since April 2003. 31st of October 2003, during the BSEC's Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, by request of Member-States the chairmanship of Azerbaijan was extended for another 6 month (November 2003-April 2004). The next chairmanship will be held by Georgia (April-October).
Within the framework of BSEC, another important organ called Senior Officials Committee represents the Ministers of Foreign Affairs. Duties of the Committee - to control activities of Subsidiary Organs, to evaluate the implementation of decisions and recommendations, as well as presenting suitable proposals to Council. At the same time, Committee as an organisation, generally controls cooperation development within the framework of BSEC. Committee approves its budget by submitting it to the Council. Normally, Meetings of the Committee occur directly after Council's Conferences.
Activities of BSEC are implemented by means of the Working group:
• Working Group on organisational tasks
• Working Group on Trade and Economic Development
• Working Group on Banking and Financial tasks
• Working Group on Statistical and Economic exchange information
• Working Group on Health and pharmacology
• Working Group on Transport
• Working Group on Disaster situations
• Working Group on Collaboration on Crime Prevention
• Working Group on Communication
• Working Group on Power Engineering
• Working Group on Science and Technology
• Working Group on Environmental Protection
• Working Group on Agriculture and Agro-industrial tasks
• Working Group on Tourism
• Working Group on Small and medium size enterprises
Azerbaijan and BSEC
Republic of Azerbaijan is a member of BSEC since 1992. The main participation purposes of Azerbaijan in BSEC is prove and to strengthen the importance role of this organisation in the region, interlink the countries, implement all measures for integration to Europe, continue Azerbaijan's strategy on oil transportation to the west, enforce transit potential, to build multilateral partnership mechanism with key countries (Turkey, Greece, Ukraine, Russia etc) and to develop by protecting our strategic interests.
For the first time in may 6th 2003, our country was responsible in chairing BSEC for 6 moths.
In order to achieve abovementioned goals of Azerbaijan in BSEC it has been designed and realized effective and outstanding chairmanship programme in the framework of the Organization by our Republic. Thus far, has been organized several meetings and conferences in the level of Ministers and Experts that our state possesses comparative advantages in the field of energy (September 18-19, 2003), transport (October 1-3, 2003), tourism (September 25-26, 2003). Indeed, the meeting was held very organized and smooth. As a result of the Ministers of Energy and Transport, there was adopted Baku Declarations directed to promoting of cooperation in respective areas.
The final meeting of Azerbaijan chairmanship was coincided to the 9th Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of BSEC High Level Group Meeting held on October 29-30, 2003 aimed at preparing the Meeting of Council.
Despite the termination of Azerbaijani chairmanship period on October, 2003 upon the request of member states the Republic of Azerbaijan demonstrated its constructive position and took up the responsibility pursuit of chairmanship for the second period. (October 2003-april 2004)
During the second chairmanship Azerbaijan had demonstrated its fully-fledged intention to underpin toward coordination and cooperation of BSEC member states and initiated to hold various considerable meetings. One of such occasion dedicated to the meeting of BSEC Ministers of Education in Baku on April 15-16, 2004. Another highly appreciated meeting was the 10th Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of BSEC held in 30 April 2004. Meeting was also remindful with its election for the position of Deputy General Secretary of Permanent International Secretariat of BSEC. With the majority of votes nominee presented by Azerbaijan side (ex-head of Department of Economic Cooperation and Development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan) gained the this election.
For the first time of BSEC history, during the chairmanship of Azerbaijan new member - Serbiya and Montenegro has accepted to BSEC. By the ratification of BSEC regulation by this country on April 2004, members of the organisation was extended from 11 to 12.
Whilst taking over the chairmanship, Azerbaijan has raised several issues which were of great importance and needed urgent solutions upon further development of the organization.
- incentives on sectoral partnership - was proposed by Azerbaijan chairmanship based on comparative advantages to take concrete measures toward BSEC cooperation.
The issue of trade facilitation has also comprised its significance during the chairmanship of Azerbaijan. In that regard, the draft agreement in facilitation of visa procedures for the businessmen and professional drivers of the region, eliminating of non-tariff barriers were discussed in the several meetings of Working Groups of BSEC. Particularly, it is worth to mention about the realisation of projects supported by Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in the framework of BSEC. As an outcome of the meeting, recommendations toward trade facilitation were prepared and presented to the attentions of member states. Project on improving of apiculture in Caucasus was designed besides the activities with FAO during the Azerbaijani chairmanship.
The development of SME in the region and the involvement of member states, including its implications were focused on the Meetings BSEC COM Working Group and seminars by the special initiative of Azerbaijan.
- Establishment of Project Development Fund is of great achievements of BSEC in 2004. The purpose of the fund was financing of projects improving the regional cooperation. It is functioned by the volunteer donations of the BSEC member states (30.000$ US). The activities of the fund were stimulated during the chairmanship of Azerbaijan. At this period Azerbaijan, Greece, Romania, Russia and Turkey had remitted its donations. During Azerbaijani chairmanship two of meetings of Administrative Committee of Fund were held. Parallel to this, the working groups of BSEC also started to operate.
- In accordance with the principles of declaration devoted to the 10th anniversary Summit of BSEC (on June, 2002), was established special working group envisaged to give its added-value to Security and Stability of the BSEC region. The task of the group is to draft the action plan compound of the possible contribution of BSEC to the related issue.
- The developments in BSEC saliently highlights its evolution on the changes of extensive political and economic level, as well as in institutional strengthening of organization. In that sense highly valued conception is to reform institutional structure of organization, decision-making process, co-ordination and administration proceedings that tentatively has got to be endorsed against the threats of aforesaid changes. The realization of such arrangements directly affects the success of the activities of BSEC and the tasks, which organization committed to come to life. Meantime, the chairmanship of Azerbaijan delivered those complicated issues on the agenda of BSEC to be discussed and furtherly sorted out. Special action plan was prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The document was embodied the constructive approach of Azerbaijan in the regional cooperation via conceptually analyzing development perspectives of BSEC, including the extending of the authority of Secretary General and High Ranking Group Committee, the quality of professional staff of the secretariat, coordinator country and the improving of Working Group Institution, evaluation of decision-making mechanism, and other certain issues.
- The Extraordinary Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of BSEC member states was held in Istanbul on May 25, 2004. In the said meeting it was adopted a declaration of "Contribution of BSEC to the regional security and stability".
- Another remindful occasion in 2004 was the Meeting of the Ministers of Internal Affairs held in 3 December 2004. All BSEC member states except Moldova were attended the Meeting. As an outcome of the meeting was signed the an Agreement on "fight against organized crime", Additional Protocol "fight against terrorism", in particular with the Joint declaration of BSEC Ministers of Internal Affairs on fight against human trafficking. The Republic of Azerbaijan signed this Protocol with the clause and declaration.
- 26-29th of December 2004, newly elected Director-General Tedo Japaridze has been on official visit to Baku. During his visit, Japaridze spend his time at various organisations and met with senior government officials. T. Japaridze has also met with president of the Republic of Azerbaijan.