The leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will discuss the situation in Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia at a two-day summit which opens on Wednesday in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe.
The post-Soviet regional bloc, that is widely seen as a counterweight to NATO’s influence in Eurasia, comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. The group primarily addresses security issues, but has recently moved to embrace economic and energy projects.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation creation of which was proclaimed on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan. Its prototype is the Shanghai Five mechanism.
The main goals of the SCO are strengthening mutual confidence and good-neighbourly relations among the member countries; promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade and economy, science and technology, culture as well as education, energy, transportation, tourism, environmental protection and other fields; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region, to move towards the establishment of a new, democratic, just and rational political and economic international order.
Proceeding from the Spirit of Shanghai the SCO pursues its internal policy based on the principles of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equal rights, consultations, respect for the diversity of cultures and aspiration towards common development, its external policy is conducted in accordance with the principles of non-alignment, non-targeting anyone and openness.
The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the highest decision-making body in the SCO. It meets once every year to take decisions and give instructions on all important issues of SCO activity. The Heads of Government Council (HGC) meets once every year to discuss a strategy for multilateral cooperation and priority directions within the Organisation’s framework, to solve some important and pressing issues of cooperation in economic and other areas as well as to adopt the Organisation’s annual budget. Besides sessions of the HSC and the HGC there are also mechanisms of meetings on the level of Speakers of Parliament, Secretaries of Security Councils, Foreign Ministers, Ministers of Defence, Emergency Relief, Economy, Transportation, Culture, Education, Healthcare, Heads of Law Enforcement Agencies, Supreme Courts and Courts of Arbitration, Prosecutors General. The Council of National Coordinators of SCO Member States (CNC) is in charge of coordinating interaction within the SCO framework. The Organisation has two permanent bodies – the Secretariat in Beijing and the Regional Antiterrorist Structure in Tashkent. Secretary-General and Executive Committee Director are appointed by the HSC for a period of three years. From 01 January 2007 these posts are held by Bolat K.Nurgaliev (Kazakhstan) and Myrzakan U.Subanov (Kyrgyzstan) respectively.
The SCO member states occupy a territory of around 30 million 189 thousand square kilometers, which makes up three fifths of the Eurasian continent, and have a population of 1.5 billion, which makes up a quarter of the planet’s population.
History of The SCO!
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an international organisation composed of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People of Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The SCO was created on the basis of the Shanghai Five, which came into being after signing in 1996-97 the agreements among Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia and Tajikistan on building military confidence and mutual reduction of military forces in border areas.
In January 2001 Uzbekistan requested to join the Shanghai Five as a full member. The Five’s transformation into the SCO happened at a summit in Shanghai on 15 June 2001 when the heads of six countries signed the Declaration on SCO establishment and the Shanghai Convention on combating terrorism, separatism and extremism. The newborn Organisation proclaimed “strengthening mutual trust, friendship and good-neighbourly relations among the member countries; promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade and economy, science and technology, culture, education, energy, transportation, ecology and other fields; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region, to establish a new, democratic, just and rational political and economic international order” as its goals. The Council of National Coordinators was founded with the aim of establishing interaction among relevant ministries and departments of SCO member states.
On 14 September 2001 Almaty hosted the first meeting of heads of governments of SCO member states, who signed the Memorandum among the Governments of SCO Member States on Main Objectives and Directions of Regional Economic Cooperation. The prime ministers also announced the creation of a mechanism of regular meetings of heads of government within the SCO framework.
At a summit in Saint Petersburg on 07 July 2002 the heads of member states adopted the SCO Charter enshrining the goals, principles and main directions of cooperation within the Organisation. Besides the Charter the summit also signed the Agreement among SCO Member States on the Regional Antiterrorist Structure.
On 23 September 2003 Beijing hosted a meeting of heads of governments of SCO member states. They approved the Programme of Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation among SCO Member States as well as adopted the Organisation’s first budget for 2004. The Programme clearly determined the main objectives and tasks of economic cooperation within the SCO framework, and set a direction for the free movement of goods, capital, services and technology inside the region during the next twenty-year period.
Besides the Heads of State Council and the Heads of Government Council the SCO also set up mechanisms of regular meetings on the level of speakers of parliament, national security councils, ministries of foreign affairs (MFA Council), ministers of defence, law enforcement agencies, ministers of economy, transportation, emergency relief, culture, education and healthcare, heads of border agencies, prosecutors general, supreme courts and courts of arbitration, national coordinators (CNC).
The headquarters of SCO Secretariat in Beijing and SCO Regional Antiterrorist Structure (RATS) in Tashkent opened in January 2004.
At a session in Tashkent in 2004 the Heads of State Council approved the Regulations on Observer Status at the SCO and granted such status to Mongolia. A summit of SCO leaders in Astana in 2005 admitted India, Pakistan and Iran as its new observers.
The launch of the SCO’s permanent bodies was followed by the creation of a mechanism of permanent representatives of SCO member states to the Secretariat. At a summit in Astana in 2005 the heads of member states took a decision to establish a mechanism of permanent representatives of SCO member states to the RATS.
A summit in Shanghai in 2006 appointed Bolat K.Nurgaliev to the post of SCO Secretary-General and Myrzakan U.Subanov to the post SCO RATS Executive Committee Director. They assumed responsibilities on 01 January 2007. (Link)
I learn something new everyday and this is it.
The East will grow as the West will stagnate! Moscow pulls ever father from the European roots! & encompasses the Asian roots: Seems to me that Europe has forgotten its Eastern roots and has embraced the Western Military Monolith!
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome.