The sixteenth meeting of the Council of heads of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (CHS SCO) was held on 23-14 June in Tashkent under the chairmanship of Uzbekistan.
The heads of states in a constructive and friendly atmosphere discussed the main results of 15 years of activities of the SCO and exchanged views on a wide range of issues, the state of affairs in the world and in the region.
The meeting noted that the SCO has been strengthened as a significant and influential player in the international arena. The priorities of practical activities of the organization, as well as common approaches of the heads of states to regional and international issues are reflected in the Tashkent Declaration of the fifteenth anniversary of the SCO, signed at the summit.
The presidents reiterated that the SCO is open to accession by interested states that meet the criteria and conditions contained in the legal documents of the organization. The signing of memoranda on the commitments of the Republic of India and Islamic Republic of Pakistan in order to obtain the status of a member state of the SCO has become an important step of the SCO expansion process.
It was noted that getting by India and Pakistan the full membership of the SCO will increase the capacity of the organization and will further increase its role on the international stage as a multilateral mechanism to address the urgent problems of security, stability and sustainable development in the region and the world at large.
The heads of states welcomed the signing of memoranda providing the status of dialogue partner of the SCO from the Republic of Azerbaijan, Republic of Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal.
The heads of states reaffirmed that the SCO activities are not aimed against other states or international organizations. Member states are ready to develop contacts and cooperation with other countries, international and regional organizations that share the goals and objectives enshrined in the SCO Charter and other fundamental documents of the Organization.
The heads of states welcomed the start of the practical implementation of the Joint comprehensive plan of action to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue, the successful implementation of which will facilitate the expansion of international cooperation for peace, security and stability in the region and beyond.
The heads of states called for the continuation of the perfection of the mechanism of regular consultations with the observer states and dialogue partners to enhance the practical results of cooperation in various fields.
The heads of states noted the importance of expanding international contacts of the SCO, the development of cooperation with international and regional organizations, especially the UN and its institutions. Member states will continue the development of external ties of the SCO, including considering the advisability of establishing contacts with other relevant multilateral organizations.
It was noted that to date, there are premises for moving of the SCO to a qualitatively new level of cooperation, characterized by an increase of efficiency of interaction in the spheres of politics, security, economy, development of cultural and humanitarian ties. In this connection, the adoption of an Action Plan for 2016-2020 to implement the Strategy of SCO's development until 2025 is of special importance.
The heads of states noted the importance of improving global governance on the basis of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, the establishment of a just and equitable world order in order to strengthen political and economic stability.
The heads of states reaffirmed the commitment of the member states of the SCO to further strengthening of the central coordinating role of the UN in international relations, which should be based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and international law. They advocated the continued wide consultations in the search of a "package deal" on reform of the UN Security Council, in order to enhance transparency and efficiency of this body, guided by the interests of ensuring the cohesion of the member countries of the UN without the establishment of artificial time frames and the crossing variants, that has not received the broad support of member countries of the UN.
The heads of states stressed that international terrorism and extremism, including its religious and other manifestations, represent today equally growing threat to all countries of the world and human civilization as a whole. They are convinced that addressing these challenges is possible only through building common struggle and a common consolidated efforts of the international community to implement the comprehensive measures to eliminate their causes.
The heads of states reaffirmed that, in accordance with the provisions of the SCO Charter and other documents of the SCO, working out and implementation of measures for joint counteraction to terrorism, separatism and extremism in all their manifestations, illegal production and drug trafficking, trade of illegal arms, ammunition and explosives, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery will remain one of the priority tasks of cooperation in the framework of the Organization.
The heads of states called for the speedy adoption of a Comprehensive UN Convention against international terrorism and emphasized the importance of the establishment of an effective wide cooperation to counter challenges and threats to regional security.
The heads of states noted the importance of agreements achieved following the results of the Tashkent summit, including on cooperation in the field of security.
The heads of states called for continued close cooperation to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism, the spread of extremist ideology, especially among youth, and prevention of ethnic, racial and religious intolerance and xenophobia. In this regard, in accordance with the Decision of the Council of heads of member states of SCO from 10 Jul 2015 work will continue on the preparation of the SCO Convention on combating extremism, which will contribute to strengthening of legal base of cooperation in this field along with the implementation of the Shanghai Convention on combating terrorism, separatism and extremism and the program of cooperation of states-members of SCO in combating terrorism, separatism and extremism for the years 2016-2018.
Combating cross-border organized crime, crimes with the use of modern information technology, strengthening of border security, joint fight against illegal migration and human trafficking, money laundering, economic crimes remain as the most urgent directions of the SCO activity. From this point of view, the importance of practical implementation of the provisions of the Agreement between the SCO member states on cooperation in combating the crime of 11 June 2010 was highlighted.
The heads of states gave a high assessment to the work of the Regional anti-terrorist structure of the SCO to ensure coordination between the competent authorities of the member states on the implementation of the agreements in the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism and called for further development of cooperation in this area.
The heads of states noted the necessity to intensify joint efforts to build a peaceful, secure, fair and open information space, based on the principles of cooperation, respect for state sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. The importance was given on deepening practical cooperation in the framework of the implementation of intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation in the field of ensuring international information security of 16 June 2009.
The heads of states stated that the global economy is still experiencing the effects of the global financial and economic crisis, which has led to a reduction in aggregate demand, sharp fluctuations of prices in main commodity markets, the slowdown in world economic growth and other negative consequences. It was stressed that to counter the continuing threats and challenges, all countries should aspire to a profound transformation of the global economy through large-scale structural transformations, diversification and competitiveness of economies and innovative development on a long-term basis.
The heads of states noted that the significant potential of trade-economic ties and investment cooperation within the SCO, formed over 15 years of the Organization's activity, provides positive trends in the development of regional economic cooperation and contributes to the improvement of cooperation mechanisms. They believe that the harmonious development in the SCO space meets the interests of balanced economic growth in the region as a whole. In this regard, concrete measures are adopted aimed at further expansion of mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation within the Organization, including by creating favorable conditions for trade and mutual investments and cooperation between the business circles.
The heads of states reaffirmed the importance of practical implementation of agreements underpinned in the Declaration of heads of governments (Prime Ministers) of member states of the SCO on regional economic cooperation, adopted in Zhengzhou on 15 Dec 2015.
In these circumstances, the member states of the SCO will seek conjunction of national development strategies and to strengthen the coordination of their economic and trade programmes. The heads of states consider it important to adopt measures to ensure sustainable socio-economic growth and improve the welfare and living standards of the population, further strengthening of cooperation in trade, industrial, financial, investment, agriculture, customs and telecommunications, including the use of satellite navigation systems, and other matters of mutual interest. Particular attention will be paid to the exchange of experience to counter the slowing economy, the introduction of innovative technologies, formation of favorable investment and business climate, implementation of long-term mutually beneficial projects in priority areas of cooperation and infrastructure development.
The heads of states reaffirmed support for the initiative of the People's Republic of China on establishing the Economic belt of the Silk Road. For these purposes, work on this project will continue as a tool for creating favorable conditions for the development of regional economic cooperation.
The heads of states noted the importance of continuing a mutually beneficial diverse cooperation in the energy sphere, including in the field of renewable and alternative energy sources.
The heads of states stressed the need to further promote the multilateral cooperation in the transport sector and the formation of international transport corridors, which should become a bridge between Asia and Europe, to implement joint infrastructure projects that expand economically sound transportation and communication opportunities and the realization of transit potential of the region. In this context, they noted the importance of the early entry into force and implementation of the Agreement between the governments of the SCO member states on creation of favorable conditions for international road transport (Dushanbe, September 12, 2014).
The presidents expressed their support for the implementation of specific projects of mutual interest, reflected in the Action Plan for the implementation of the Programme of multilateral trade and economic cooperation of the states members of SCO, as well as for the preparation of the list of measures for further developing project activities within the SCO for the years 2017-2021.
The heads of state called for the further expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation with observer states and dialogue partners in order to enhance the capability of joint activities in the framework of the SCO. In this regard, an importance is given to using the full capabilities of the SCO Business Council and Interbank Association of SCO.
In order to ensure financial support for project activities, member states will continue to consider the question of the establishment of the SCO Development Bank and SCO Development Fund.
The heads of states consider it necessary to pay special attention to the development in bilateral and multilateral formats of cooperation in the field of culture, health, science and technology, education, environmental protection, sports, tourism, research and conservation of cultural and natural heritage of the SCO region, including along the "Great Silk road".
In order to expand cooperation in tourism, the formation of the common tourism space, intensification of tourist exchanges, the authorized representatives of the member states signed the Program on cooperation of SCO member states in the sphere of tourism.
Following meetings were held over the past period since the last CHS SCO meeting (Ufa, July 9-10, 2015): meeting of Council of heads of governments of member states of the SCO (Shanghai, 14-15 December 2015), Meeting of secretaries of security councils (Tashkent, 13-14 April 2016), meeting of the Council of foreign ministers (Tashkent, May 23-24, 2016), Council of national coordinators (Beijing, Tashkent, October 2015, June 2016), Council of RATS (Tashkent, 18 September, 2015 and 8 April, 2016), meeting of justice ministers (Dushanbe, 18 August, 2015), Attorney Generals (Astana, 27 Aug 2015), chairmen of the Supreme courts (Bishkek, 3-6 September, 2015), Ministers responsible for foreign economic and foreign trade activity (Xian, 16 September 2015), heads of ministries and agencies dealing with prevention and liquidation of emergency situations (Chengdu, November 11-12, 2015) XI Session of the SCO Forum (Dushanbe, 28-29 April 2016), meeting of heads of supreme bodies of financial control (Astana, 27 May 2016), meeting of defense ministers (Astana, June 8, 2016), ministers of culture (Tashkent, 21-22 June 2016), meeting of the Board of the SCO Business Council and the Council of the SCO Interbank Association (Tashkent, 22-23 June 2016).
Member states praised the presidency of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the SCO and expressed gratitude to the Uzbek side for their traditional warm hospitality during Tashkent summit.
A regular meeting of the Council of heads of member states of the SCO will be held in June 2017 in Astana. The chairmanship of the Organization for the coming period has been transferred to the Republic of Kazakhstan.