SCO summit in Astana Seeks to Understand Global Redistribution of Power

On July 4, Astana hosted the SCO summit, shaping the future development of Eurasian processes. These processes range from changes in energy supply routes to resolving issues between major players like India and China. The speeches of the state leaders highlighted that one of the summit’s key themes was to comprehend the shifts in global dynamics and to establish security principles in the Eurasian space. Therefore, referring to this event as merely the SCO summit understates its significance; it was truly an Astana Congress.

Vienna and Astana Congress

Eldaniz Gusseinov.

The Vienna Congress (1814-1815) was convened following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte with the aim of restoring the balance of power in Europe. It involved major European powers such as Austria, Britain, France, Prussia, and Russia. The primary goal was to reestablish territorial boundaries and prevent the resurgence of a single dominant power in Europe, thereby creating a framework for peace and stability post-Napoleonic Wars.

In contrast, the Astana SCO Summit, held on July 4, 2024, in Astana, was a significant event for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Key participants included China, India, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Qatar, UAE, Türkiye, Mongolia. This summit addressed energy supply routes, security concerns, and regional cooperation in Eurasia, aiming to tackle contemporary global changes and establish principles of security in the region. Amid escalating global crises, Eurasian leaders gathered to find common principles defining inter-state relationships in a multipolar world order.

The Astana Congress, as it could be aptly called, encompassed more than the SCO Council meeting or the SCO Plus summit. The participation of 16 heads of state or government underscores the growing interest in the organization. This heightened international attention was first evident during the 2022 SCO summit in Samarkand, coinciding with the onset of the conflict in Ukraine. Despite widespread opinions in expert circles regarding the SCO’s ineffectiveness, the organization continues to attract significant interest. This can be attributed to its potential role in navigating the complex geopolitical landscape and addressing regional and global challenges.

Helsinki Final Act 1975 and Astana SCO Declaration 2024 

Eurasian countries need to develop cooperation across various domains, including security, with other states. To achieve this, it is essential to establish principles that the SCO countries can agree upon, defining the spirit and nature of their relationships. For instance, the Astana Declaration echoes the key principles of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, which significantly influenced Europe’s security architecture. The Astana Declaration encompasses principles such as:

1. Weapons-Free Space: SCO members advocate for a weapons-free space and demand a binding document to ensure it.
2. Nuclear Non-Proliferation: The SCO demands strict compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
3. Missile Defense Systems: SCO countries consider the establishment of missile defense systems by individual countries unacceptable and dangerous for international security.
4. Biological and Toxin Weapons: SCO members advocate strict compliance with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development and Production of Biological and Toxin Weapons.
5. Transnational Crime: Countering transnational crime is considered one of the key areas of cooperation.
6. UN Reform: SCO states support comprehensive reform of the United Nations to strengthen its authority.
7. Global Unity for Peace: The SCO calls on all countries to join the initiative On World Unity for Just Peace, Harmony and Development.

There are many conflicts in the world, which actually mark the transition from a unipolar world order to a multipolar one with the formation of several centers of international influence, which can conduct a dialogue among themselves and determine the nature of the relationship between them. The SCO, as an organization that includes four nuclear-weapon states, provides an opportunity to conduct a dialogue and determine the key principles of relations between states in Eurasia. This is confirmed in the positions of the middle powers of Eurasia, such as Kazakhstan.

During a meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO members, the President of Kazakhstan said: “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization has exceptional opportunities to act as a guarantor of peace and security throughout the Eurasian continent. It is for this purpose that, within the framework of our presidency, I have proposed the implementation of the SCO Initiative On World Unity for Just Peace, Harmony and Development.”

SCO’s impact on transforming the Greater Eurasian Region

We are currently witnessing significant changes in Eurasian processes following the outbreak of the military conflict in Ukraine. These changes include the development of alternative transport corridors, the establishment of new energy transportation routes, the strengthening of emerging partnerships, and efforts to resolve long standing issues. These dynamics are particularly evident during the SCO summit in Kazakhstan.

On July 4, the foreign ministers of India and China met to discuss the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh, aiming to stabilize bilateral relations. Both sides agreed that prolonging the border situation is detrimental. The Indian minister emphasized the need to expedite disengagement in East Ladakh and restore peace and tranquility by adhering to bilateral agreements.

Separately, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with President Recep Erdogan of Türkiye. The leaders exchanged views on political issues such as the situation in Syria, the crisis in Ukraine, and the grain deal. Notably, after the SCO summit, Erdogan will attend the NATO summit, where he will continue his mediation role between Russia and Ukraine.

Additionally, there have been other important meetings, decisions and proposals. For instance, Azerbaijan and China adopted a declaration on strategic partnership, and the Chairman of Khalk Maslakhaty of Turkmenistan proposed the construction of a gas pipeline through Afghanistan.


The recent SCO summit in Astana was a pivotal event highlighting the global redistribution of power and the shaping of future Eurasian processes. It addressed significant issues like energy supply routes, security concerns, and regional cooperation amidst escalating global crises. 

The summit underscored the importance of establishing principles for inter-state relationships in a multipolar world, reminiscent of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act. Key declarations, such as advocating for a weapons-free space and supporting UN reform, were made. The summit also facilitated crucial bilateral discussions and new strategic partnerships, reinforcing the SCO’s potential role as a stabilizing force and a guarantor of peace and security in the Eurasian continent.

The author is Eldaniz Gusseinov, a non-resident research fellow at Haydar Aliyev Center for Eurasian Studies of the Ibn Haldun University, Istanbul. 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Astana Times. 

Get The Astana Times stories sent directly to you! Sign up via the website or subscribe to our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, YouTube and Tiktok!