On 13-14 June 2019, summit of the Council of heads of state of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in Bishkek under Kyrgyzstan’s chairmanship in 2018-2019.
The summit participants discussed the current state and prospects of further cooperation in SCO space in such areas as security, countering extremism, terrorism and drug trafficking, economy, industry, and humanitarian cooperation. They also touched upon situation around the Iranian nuclear program, Afghanistan and Syria.
Traditionally, the first meeting was held in a narrow format behind closed doors with the participation of the leaders of the SCO countries – India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The expanded format was attended by the heads of delegations of observer countries (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia), as well as high representatives of a number of international organizations, including the UN, CIS, CSTO and Eurasian Economic Commission.
The summit resulted in signing of the Bishkek Declaration and 21 other documents.
The SCO Summit in Bishkek was attended by:
- Prime Minister of the Republic of India Narendra Modi
- President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
- President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping
- President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbay Jeenbekov
- Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Imran Khan
- President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin
- President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon
- President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev
- SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov
- Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) Jumakhon Giyosov
The observer countries, participated in the summit:
- President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani
- President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko
- President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani
- President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga
Participants from international organizations:
- UN Under-Secretary-General Rosemary A. DiCarlo
- Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States Sergei Lebedev
- Acting Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Valery Semerikov
- Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board Tigran Sargsyan
- UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Partnerships with the Middle East and Central Asia Rashid Khalikov
The following document were signed at the meeting of the Heads of State Council of the SCO:
- Bishkek Declaration of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Heads of State Council.
- Decision of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation approving the Action Plan for 2019-2020 on the implementation of the Programme of Action for the SCO Anti-Drug Strategy for 2018-2023.
- Decision of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation approving the Regulations of the SCO Heads of Region Forum.
- Decision of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation approving the Concept of Cooperation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Member States in Digitalisation and Information and Communications Technology.
- Decision of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation approving the Programme for the Development of Interregional Cooperation of the SCO Member States.
- Decision of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation approving the SCO Secretary-General’s Report on the Organisation’s activities over the past year.
- Decision of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation approving the Report of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) Council on SCO RATS activities in 2018.
- Decision of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation approving the Action Plan for the implementation of the Concept of Cooperation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Member States in Environmental Protection for 2019-2021.
- Decision of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the SCO Secretariat and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
- Decision of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the SCO Secretariat and the World Tourism Organisation.
- Decision of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the SCO Secretariat and the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC).
- Decision of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the SCO Secretariat and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
- Decision of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the SCO Secretariat and the Secretariat of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
- Decision of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on signing the Roadmap for Further Action of the SCO Afghanistan Contact Group.
- Press release on the Meeting of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (adopted without signing).
Documents signed following the Meeting of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
- Agreement between the governments of the SCO Member States on cooperation in the field of mass media.
- Agreement between the relevant authorities of the SCO Member States on cooperation in physical fitness and sports.
- Basic Action Plan for the development of cooperation of the SCO Member States in healthcare for 2019-2021.
- Memorandum of Understanding between the SCO Secretariat and the World Tourism Organisation.
- Memorandum of Understanding between the SCO Secretariat and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
- Memorandum of Understanding between the SCO Secretariat and the Astana International Financial Centre.
- Roadmap for Further Action of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group
The leaders of SCO states reviewed the implementation of the results of the Qingdao summit 2018 and the priorities for further development of the SCO in the context of the current processes in world politics and economy. The agreed positions of the parties are reflected in the adopted Bishkek Declaration.
Member states stressed that the SCO is an effective and constructive mechanism for multilateral cooperation, which plays an important role in maintaining regional peace and stability, as well as in promoting the prosperity and development of its members. It was noted that the SCO had asserted itself as a solid platform for strengthening mutual understanding, trust-based dialogue and equitable partnership in the interests of building international relations of a new type, based on the generally accepted principles and standards of international law, as well as forging a common perception of the concept for creating a community of humankind’s common destiny.
The Member States underscored their intention to continue to rely on the goals and objectives of the SCO Charter and to follow the Shanghai Spirit that embodies mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultations, respect for the diversity of cultures and a striving for joint development. Efforts will be continued to promote practical cooperation in politics, security, trade and the economy, including finance, investment, transport, energy and agriculture, as well as the development of intra-SCO cultural and humanitarian ties. They will focus on deepening diverse mutually beneficial cooperation with all interested states, primarily the SCO observer states and dialogue partners.
While exchanging opinions on topical international and regional matters, the Member States emphasized the need for expanding joint efforts to ensure reliable security and sustainable development in the SCO region. In this connection, they noted the importance of strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation with all interested states in line with generally accepted standards and principles of international law, above all the UN Charter.
They reaffirmed the SCO Member States’ commitment to enhancing the central coordinating role of the UN and its Security Council as a body vested with the main responsibility for maintaining international peace and security under the UN Charter. In this context, they noted the intentions of the Republic of India, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Republic of Tajikistan to be elected as rotating members of the UN Security Council, as well as the intentions of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Uzbekistan to be elected to the UN Human Rights Council.
The Member States resolutely condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. They urge the international community to strengthen global cooperation in efforts against terrorism under the UN’s central role by fully implementing the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, in line with the UN Charter and the principles of international law, without politicisation and double standards, while respecting the sovereignty and independence of all states and also to press for consensus regarding the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
In this connection, they noted the signing of a cooperation memorandum between the Executive Directorate of the UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee and the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in March 2019, as well as the holding of the high-level international conference International and Regional Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and its Financing through Illicit Drug Trafficking and Organised Crime (Dushanbe, 16-17 May 2019).
While stressing that there can be no justification for any acts of terrorism and extremism, the Member States consider it important to implement comprehensive measures to more effectively counter terrorism and its ideology, to expose and eliminate various factors and conditions that facilitate terrorism and extremism. They note the unacceptability of interfering in the domestic affairs of states under the pretext of countering terrorism and extremism, as well as the unacceptability of using terrorist, extremist and radical groups for mercenary purposes.
The SCO Member States that have signed the Code of Conduct to Achieve a Terrorism-Free World advocate the consistent implementation of its provisions (New York City, 28 September 2018).
The SCO Member States consider it necessary to ensure the earliest possible enactment of a protocol on security guarantees to the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone Treaty for all signatory states.
They emphasised the unacceptability of attempts to ensure one country’s security at the expense of other counties’ security and noted that the unilateral and unlimited buildup of missile defence systems by certain countries or groups of states was detrimental to international security and a destabilising factor in the world.
The Member States note the importance of keeping outer space free from weapons and the top-priority importance of unfailingly complying with the current regulatory-legal framework that stipulates the exclusively peaceful use of outer space. They praise the work of the Group of UN Government Experts for reviewing and submitting recommendations on substantive elements of a legally binding international document for preventing an arms race in outer space and also stipulating reliable guarantees for the no first placement of arms in outer space.
The SCO Member States need to address various high-priority tasks, including the illegal cultivation, production, circulation, sales and dissemination of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors. They reaffirmed their intention to step up joint efforts to fight the narcotic drug threat, including under the three international drug control conventions and other related legal documents.
The SCO Member States call for unfailingly honoring the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction. While recognizing the growing threat of chemical and biological terrorism, they emphasised the need to hold multilateral talks on an international convention to combat chemical and biological terrorist attacks.
The SCO Member States reaffirmed their determination to ensure regional security and stability. In this context, they support the work of the government and people of Afghanistan (with support from the international community) for restoring peace and ensuring the country’s sustained development. The SCO Member States once again express their willingness to facilitate a political settlement under the guidance of the people of Afghanistan and with their involvement on a bilateral basis and within the framework of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group.
The SCO Member States consider it important to steadily implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding the Iranian nuclear programme under UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that calls on all the parties to fulfil their obligations unfailingly.
They underscored a common position, noting that there is no alternative to resolving the situation in Syria through dialogue, while ensuring Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. They emphasised the fact that cooperation within the framework of the Astana format had created the conditions for implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
SCO member states emphasized their determination to step up efforts to consolidate the economic component of SCO activities and cooperation for the purposes of jointly forging an open world economy. They prioritized the importance of merging the positions of the SCO Member States in conditions of the expanded protectionist actions of certain states that undermine the foundations of the multilateral trade system and create artificial obstacles for the development of trade, economic, financial and investment cooperation. The consensus of the SCO Member States on the importance of preserving and enhancing the role of the World Trade Organization has serious significance.
The SCO member States intend to focus on expanding and deepening cooperation in such areas as trade, finance, investment, transport, energy, agriculture, innovation, high technology, etc.. This will meet the interests of sustainable development in the region. Close attention will be paid to the increase in the share of national currencies in mutual settlements.
Member States support the creation of an enabling environment for the development of trade and investment necessary for the gradual implementation of the free movement of goods, capital, services and technology, as provided for in the SCO Charter.
Member States intend to join efforts to implement innovative programmes and projects, as well as to promote effective cooperation in science, technology and innovation, joint research, knowledge sharing by scholars at research centres, and special competitions within the SCO in order to find new sources of social and economic growth.
It was agreed to focus on implementing projects that can expand the region’s transport and communication capacities, including those involving the potential of the observer states and dialogue partners.
Cooperation in healthcare, science, education, culture, sport, tourism, etc., remains an important element of SCO activities. Agreements for expanding media, physical fitness and sport cooperation will be used to promote progress in these areas.
The creation of a broad, open, mutually beneficial and equitable partnership within the SCO space, based on merging the respective potential of the region’s countries, international organisations and multilateral associations, was identified as a promising objective. Measures to fully implement the potential of the SCO Business Council, the Inter-Bank Consortium and the SCO Youth Council will be used to accomplish this.
Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan reaffirmed support for China’s Belt and Road initiative and praised the results of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (Beijing, 25-27 April 2019). They noted the current efforts to jointly implement this promising initiative, including efforts to align the Eurasian Economic Union projects with those of the Belt and Road initiative.
The SCO Member States intend to strengthen the SCO’s international standing and to increase the organisation’s role in global and regional affairs. The signing of documents for cooperation between the SCO Secretariat and a number of specialized UN agencies, as well as the Astana International Financial Centre, has special significance in this context.
The Member States intend to promote the development of technology parks and business incubators in the SCO region for the purpose of improving the regional business climate and supporting youth startup projects, including the International Youth Business Incubator of SCO countries within the framework of the SCO Youth Council.
In the context of cooperation on climate change matters, the SCO Member States noted the agreements on the guiding principles for the practical implementation of the Paris Agreement reached at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Katowice.
The SCO leaders highly appreciated the work done by the Kyrgyz Republic during the chairmanship of the SCO and expressed gratitude to the Kyrgyz side for the hospitality and good organization of the summit in Bishkek.
Russia assume the presidency in SCO for 2019-2020. The next SCO summit will take place in Russia on 20-23 July 2020.
The full text of the Bishkek Declaration is available here: http://eng.sectsco.org/load/550977/
In his speech at the summit, President Vladimir Putin outlined Russia’s vision of the SCO’s promising areas of activities during the Russian presidency in 2019-2020.
Moscow believes that one of the main priorities of the Organization remains the fight against terrorism and extremism. In this regard, Russia stands for strengthening cooperation through the SCO Anti-Terrorist Structure, blocking financial support for terrorism, and suppressing propaganda of ideas of terrorism and extremism on the Internet.
Russia will also pay special attention to the settlement of crisis situations and the peaceful resolve of conflicts near the external borders of the SCO States. First of all, the matter is Afghanistan.
“The Afghan people need help in achieving national reconciliation and economic recovery”, Putin said.
“We fully support the plan to expand the organization’s security, economic and humanitarian cooperation with Afghanistan, as reflected in the relevant roadmap to be signed today. We aim to contribute in every way to the revival of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group’s activity”, he stressed.
Putin also expressed concern about the state of affairs around the Iranian nuclear program.
“The US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – as a reminder, it was unanimously approved by the UN Security Council in 2015 – is not only destabilizing the region, but also can undermine the nuclear non-proliferation regime”, he said.
While presiding in the SCO, Russia intends to ensure that the participants in the JCPA fulfil their commitments.
In the economic sector, the Russian leader called the SCO countries for “considering new promising projects in trade, industry, energy, infrastructure, science and technology, and innovation”.
In addition, Russia initiated the establishment of a SCO Forum of heads of state, which will contribute to the expansion of mutually beneficial inter-regional trade, investment and humanitarian contacts. Putin proposed to hold the first meeting of the Forum early next year.
Moscow sees a promising potential in integrating the Eurasian Economic Union with China’s Belt and Road project with a future aim of building a greater Eurasian partnership and an open and equal constructive cooperation space based “on the principles and norms of international law without any political or economic bias, but with consideration of each other’s legitimate interests”.
Under the humanitarian bloc, Russia will focus on the implementation of the agreements reached on cooperation in the field of mass media, as well as physical culture, sports and tourism.
Putin invited the SCO States to take part in the celebration program on the 75th anniversary of victory in the Second World War planned by the CIS.
///nCa, 17 June 2019 (based on official releases by SCO)