The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was established in 2001 on the basis of the "Shanghai Five" mechanism, after signing by the heads of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia and Tajikistan Agreement on strengthening of measures of trust in military area around border (1996, Shanghai) and Agreement on mutual reduction of armed forces around border (1997, Moscow).
According to the SCO Charter (2002), the main goals of the Organization are strengthening of mutual trust, friendship and neighborliness, encouragement of effective cooperation in political, trade and economic, scientific and technical, cultural, educational, power, transport, ecological and other areas.
Present member-states of the SCO are India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Observers-states – Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.
Dialogue partners – Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is not a close alliance or military block against any other state; it is an open organization, focused on broad international cooperation, including possibility of enlargement.
As present, the SCO (including observer-states and dialogue partners) is the Organization with about 3 billion population (approximately 50% of world population). Organization includes 2 permanent members of the UN Security Council (China and Russia), 2 countries with the largest population in the world (India and China), three out of five states of the BRICS and three out of twenty states of G-20 (India, China and Russia), and two largest energy consumers in the world (India and China).
The main goals of the SCO at present are maintaining peace, stability and safety in the region, development of economic and humanitarian cooperation.
The supreme SCO body is the Council of Heads of State. It determines priorities and defines major areas of activities of the Organization, decides upon the fundamental issues of its internal arrangement and functioning and its interaction with other states and international organizations, as well as considers the most topical international issues.
The Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) approves the budget of the Organization, considers and decides upon major issues related to economic spheres of interaction within the Organization.
The Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs considers issues related to day-to-day activities of the Organization, preparation of meetings of the Council of Heads of State and holding of consultations on international problems within the Organization.
The Council of National Coordinators is an SCO body that coordinates and directs day-to-day activities of the Organization. It makes necessary preparations 6
for meetings of the Council of Heads of State, the Council of Heads of Government and the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
The most important role in solving organization's main problem play the SCO permanent bodies – the Secretariat of Organization in Beijing and the Executive Committee of Regional Counterterrorist Structure (RATS) in Tashkent.
SCO Secretary General and Director of the RATS Executive Committee are appointed among the nationals of member States on a rotational basis in the Russian alphabetic order of the member States' names for a period of three years without a right to be reappointed for another period.
Since January 2016 Mr. Rashid Alimov of Tajikistan is the Secretary General of SCO, Mr. Evgeniy Sysoev of Russia holds a position of the Director of the RATS Executive Committee.
According to practice, a chairmanship in the Organization lasts for one year, starting from the date of the last Summit of the Council of Heads of State to the date of the next Summit of the Council of Heads of State on the territory of SCO Chairing state. Since June 2018, Kyrgyzstan is the chair of the SCO.
SCO main documents:
- The SCO Charter;
- The Declaration on the Establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization;
- The Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism;
- Treaty of the Long-term Good Neighborly and Friendly Cooperation among Member States of the SCO;
- Rules of procedures of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization;
- Statute of the Secretariat of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization;
- Agreement between Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure;
- Regulations on Observer Status at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization;
- Regulations on the Status of Dialogue Partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization;
- SCO Development Strategy towards 2025.