NUR-SULTAN – The Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states have signed a Moscow declaration and a package of documents at the SCO Heads of State Council held via video conference Nov. 10. The package is meant to expand member states’ cooperation across different areas and assist in a more coordinated approach to address global and regional challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SCO leaders adopted the action plan for 2021-2025 to implement the SCO Development Strategy through 2025 that includes nearly 150 practical measures to improve the organization’s activities in the next five years, focusing mostly on economic recovery after the coronavirus outbreak.
The package of documents also include the SCO Cooperation Concept for Developing Remote and Rural Territories in the Digital Age and the Comprehensive Plan of Joint Measures to Counter Epidemic Threats in the Region.
The meeting, which finalized Russia’s chairmanship in the organization and passing it on to Tajikistan, also made a decision to sign memorandums of understanding between the SCO Secretariat and the Secretariat of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the Eurasian Economic Commission, the World Health Organisation.
The SCO leaders also supported Kyrgyzstan’s initiative to establish an SCO Cultural and Integration Centre in Bishkek.
The meeting participants stressed that in a situation where international relations are profoundly transformed, the SCO continued to serve the fundamental principles of the “supremacy of international law, equal and indivisible security, and respect for civilisational diversity and sovereignty.”
The heads of states agreed to continue cooperation in politics, security, trade and economy, and to strengthen cultural and humanitarian ties to tackle the consequences stemming from the coronavirus infection, and to ensure sustainable economic growth and security in the region.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also addressed the meeting chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Tokayev commended the organization’s activities, but couinciled to work to analyze its failures as well, as the organization plans to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year.
The meeting was also attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Acting President and Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, as well as SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov and Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure Jumakhon Giyosov.