The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: Peace and prosperity through security and stability
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Viktorovich LavrovThe Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, to be held in Dushanbe on Sept. 11-12, will be attended by the leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as heads and senior representatives of observer states, international organizations and other guests.
The SCO has become an influential organization and an important factor in the emergence of a new polycentric world order. The organization has worked to bring about tangible improvements in the security and multilateral political, economic and humanitarian cooperation of member states.
As a result, the role of the SCO in international and regional affairs is on the rise, attracting the attention of many countries and international organizations. Pakistan, India, and Iran want to become full members of the SCO, while more and more countries are seeking observer or dialogue partner status.
What is the secret to the success and appeal of the SCO? The answer is simple: our steadfast commitment to the UN Charter and fundamental international norms and laws; to the principles of equality, mutual respect, consideration of each other’s interests, resolving conflicts and disputes by political and diplomatic means, and the right of nations to choose their own path of development. These principles are consistent with the goal of ensuring a stable and democratic international system.
The SCO is fully in tune with the realities and demands of the 21st century, unlike the relics of a past era that rely on rigid adherence to discipline that exists within particular blocs of countries.
During Russia’s SCO presidency, which will begin right after the Dushanbe Summit, we plan to focus on better equipping the SCO to handle the many challenges facing the world today and on working together to adequately respond to events in the region and the world.
Coordinated approaches to common challenges will be reflected in the Strategy for the SCO’s Development to 2025, which will be finalized in time for the meeting of the Council of Heads of the SCO Member States in Ufa in 2015. The document is designed to deepen cooperation within the SCO while expanding cooperation with leading multilateral institutions such as the UN and its specialized agencies. It also contains provisions on establishing relations with the Eurasian Economic Union.
Regional security remains the SCO’s top priority. Other priorities include building up joint capabilities to combat terrorism, extremism, and drug trafficking, especially amid the worsening situation in Afghanistan. This will be achieved by strengthening the SCO’s Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure, implementing the Anti-Drug Strategy, and regular counter-terrorism training. The SCO Peace Mission 2014 exercises held in China on Aug. 24-29 confirmed that the member states are prepared to deal with emerging threats. The SCO has been clear that it does not seek to create a military-political alliance. However, its core principles include preventing unlawful acts that harm the interests of member states.
In the face of complex and interrelated challenges, Russia will use its presidency of the SCO to advocate for coordinated steps on the economy, financial sector, energy and food security.
The continuing instability of the global economy and the risks of another crisis demand greater economic cooperation. Plans are being outlined to make broader use of national currencies in settlements. Prospects are good for launching large multilateral projects in transport, energy, innovative research and technology, agriculture, and the peaceful use of outer space, though the optimal funding mechanism for such projects remains to be determined. The SCO Business Council, Interbank Consortium, and Energy Club are at the forefront of expanding practical cooperation among member states.
The SCO is rapidly forming a common research, educational, cultural and humanitarian space. Work is underway to expand the SCO University network and to institutionalize information cooperation. And the planned joint celebrations of the 70th anniversary of victory in the Second World War will be a clear indication of the member states’ commitment to preserving our shared historical memory and strengthening mutual trust, including through the Youth Council and the SCO Forum.
The Dushanbe Summit will also formalize the legal, administrative and financial requirements for admitting new SCO members, making it possible to start expanding the organization during the Russian presidency. At the same time, we will continue to engage with observer states and dialogue partners.