The D-8 was established through the Istanbul Declaration, at the First Summit of D-8, on June 15th, 1997, in Istanbul, Turkey. The D-8 consists of 8 developing countries, namely Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan dan Turkey. The D-8's basic priciples are peace instead of conflict, dialogue instead of confrontation, justice instead of double-standards, equality instead of discrimination, and democracy instead of oppression.
At first, the D-8 was formed to unite the power of Moslem majority countries that are all members of the Organization of Islamic Conference, to face the injustice and double standards of the Western Countries. However, it was later decided that the D-8 will not serve as religion-based groupings but as an economic groupings that is aimed at improving the welfare of its member countries through social and economic development.
In order to achieve its objective, the D-8 cooperation is focused to increase intra-trade among its member countries. Intra-trade among D-8 countries is significantly increased from US $ 14.5 Millions in 1997 to US$ 49 billions in 2007, of more than 200 per cent. However this represents only less than 5 percent of total trade of D-8 with the world. It is expected that at the end of the its second decade of cooperation (2018), intra-trade among D-8 could be increased to 15-20 per cent of total trade of D-8 with the world.
One of the objective of D-8 is to make fully use of its member countries' potentials. D-8 member countries are rich with natural resources and high population, characterized by economic potency, huge and beautiful geographical endowment for tourism, and close religious and historical ties. D-8 has a vast potential for development, given large amounts of land, abundant inexpensive and skilled labor, diversified human capital, rich natural resources, and a large market of close to 1 billion people.
At the 5th D-8 Summit Meeting held in Bali on May 2006, Indonesia has succeeded the chairmanship of D-8 from Iran for the period of 2006-2008. During the summit, D-8 countries has also signed 2 agreements that is intended to facilitate trade among member countries namely the D-8 Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), and the Multilateral Agreement among D-8 Member Countries on Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters (AACM).Both agreements are yet to enter into force since not all member countries have finished their internal procedures.
As the chairman of D-8 for 2006-2008, Indonesia has done well to revitalize D-8 cooperation, among others through the significant increase of D-8 activities with the convention of 31 D-8 activities/programs, where 15 of those are held by Indonesia. Three main achievements that could be regarded as Indonesia's success during its chairmanship are as follows:
- The effort to upgrade the status of the Office of Executive Director of D-8 into D-8 Secretariat, through an interim arrangement between 3 member countries who dispatch Secretary General (Indonesia), Director (Iran), and Economist (Turkey) with their own expenses;
- The formulation of D-8 Roadmap (2008-2018) which facilitated by Indonesia in Bangka Belitung, on April 2008; and
- The conclusion of the discussion of the D-8 PTA along with its annexes.
At the Sixth D-8 Summit in Kuala Lumpur, on July 2008, Indonesia handed over the chairmanship of D-8 to Malaysia. The Summit finalized the establishment of the Permanent D-8 Secretariat which will be fully funded by member countries annual contribution. The Secretariat will be led by its first Secretary General, Mr. Dipo Alam from Indonesia for from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2012. The Summit also adopted the D-8 Roadmap which will be the guidelines of D-8 cooperation in its Second Decade of Cooperation (2008-2018).
The D-8 has various fields of cooperation in the fields of trade, industry, civil aviation, energy, mining and minerals, customs, tourism, agriculture, marine and fisheries, and micro-finance.
In the field of civil aviation, at the 3rd D-8 Working Group Meeting on Civil Aviation and Directors General Meeting in Bali, on June 2008, D-8 member countries has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the Establishment of D-8 Working Group on the Co-operation in Civil Aviation which was directed to facilitate the movements of government officials, private sectors and civil societies of D-8 countries.
In the field of industrial cooperation, at the 4th D-8 Working Group Meeting on Industrial Cooperation in Bali on November 2008, Indonesia has been appointed as the prime mover of D-8 industrial activities for the period of 2008-2010. The meeting also witnessed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between Indonesia, Iran and Turkey to facilitate long-term cooperation in the field of automotive industry, and the establishment of a Joint Working Group to implement the said initiative.
D-8 also conducts cooperation to address the current threat of food crisis that is faced by the developing countries, particularly the D-8 countries. At the First D-8 Ministerial Meeting on Food Security in Kuala Lumpur, on 25-27 Februari 2009, member countries has strived to establish concrete cooperation in the field of agriculture consisting of 3 main issues: production and supply of quality Fertilizers, production and supply of quality Animal Feed, and the establishment of D-8 Seed Bank. The meeting adopted the Kuala Lumpur Initiative to Address Food Security by D-8 Countries and appointed prime movers to realize the initiatives, as follows:
- Seed Bank (Turkey dan Iran);
- Animal Feed (Malaysia dan Indonesia);
- Fertilizer (Egypt);
- Standards and Trade Issues (Iran dan Turkey);
- Marine and Fisheries (Indonesia).
Coordinative meetings to follow up Kuala Lumpur initiatives has been conduted by Indonesia in the field of Marine and Fisheries in Manado on May 2009, and Turkey and Iran in the field of Seed Bank in Izmir on July 2009. In early october 2009, Indonesia is scheduled to convene the First D-8 Workshop on Animal Feed in Yogyakarta.
Documents of cooperation between D-8 member countries in the form of Agreements, Memorandum of Understandings, Letter of Intents and Minutes of Meetings could contribute to the increase of intra-trade among D-8 member countries that in turn could also support D-8 efforts to achieve the target set in the end of its second decade of cooperation. Indonesia's strategic positions as prime movers for various D-8 activities could also improve D-8 cooperation, that is in line with Indonesia's national interest.
Politically, Indonesia's participation in the D-8 could be seen as the realization of its solidarity with other developing countries to strive for common interest. Indonesia considers the D-8 as important forum to explore new opportunities in increasing economic ties and trade relation with non-traditional export destination countries.