2011 June - Cover Story
SCO Marks 10 Years at Astana Summit: Wraps Achievements, Plans Future
Leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states converged at the Palace of Independence in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on June 15 to discuss the organisation’s achievements over the past decade and plan the course for the SCO’s future.
“Over the past 10 years, the SCO has evolved significantly and transformed itself into a powerful and influential group of nations that can no longer be classified just as a regional organization. The challenge is to maintain this momentum and to make the SCO a valuable global actor, converting its huge potential into real influence on world events,” Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev wrote about the organization’s role in his op-ed that appeared in The Moscow Times on the day of the Astana Summit.
The 10 year anniversary summit concluded with signing of the Astana Declaration by leaders of the six SCO member states, including Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, Hu Jintao of China, Roza Otunbayeva of Kyrgyzstan, Dmitry Medvedev of Russia, Emomali Rakhmon of Tajikistan, and Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan.
The event was attended by the SCO observer states’ representatives such as Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, Indian Foreign Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna, and Mongolian Chief of Presidential Staff Dashjamts Battulga. President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan was a special guest of the host country.
Secretary General of the SCO Muratbek Imanaliyev, Eurasian Economic Community Secretary General Tair Mansurov, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Director of UN Office for Drugs and Crime Yuri Fedotov, Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha, Commonwealth of Independent States Executive Secretary Sergey Lebedev, and Director of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) Dzhenisbek Dzhumanbekov were also present at the forum.
“We have built a solid contractual base and the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, maintained close contacts between competent bodies, conducted counterterrorism exercises, and exchanged corresponding information on persons and organisations relevant to extremist, terrorist and separatist activities,” Nazarbayev said. “Besides, we witness enhanced cooperation in the fight against drug and arms trafficking, transnational crime, and illegal migration,” the President added.
“Kazakhstan has made all the necessary preparatory works. Our chairmanship is finishing and now it is China’s turn. We have held 110 events, prepared important documents for signing and had all their clauses and provisions approved,” Nazarbayev said.
At the summit, a number of important decisions has been approved and signed, including the Antidrug Strategy for 2011-16, the Action Plan for implementation of the Antidrug Strategy, memorandum of obligations of a country applying to obtain the status of the SCO member state.
During the event, President Nazarbayev put forward several proposals, such as the establishment of an SCO council for settling territorial and regional conflicts, the creation of an SCO Emergency Situations Centre, the creation of an SCO Antidrug Centre, the development of common transport and power space, the creation of a new SCO mechanism for closer economic cooperation and further financing of joint projects.
“I call for the establishment of an SCO Council for settling territorial and regional conflicts and using it to carry out preventive measures in potential hot spots in the area of its responsibilities. In the past years we have witnessed two serious political conflicts and coups in the neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, and our Organisation did not and could not take any measures,” the Kazakh leader emphasised.
“We have oil, gas, resources in our countries. It is important to unite our interests, form an integral Eurasian system of pipelines and electric power grids,” Nazarbayev said.
In the context to the recent disaster in Japan, thePresident of Kazakhstan called to create an SCO Emergency Situations Centre, and in regards to food and fresh water security issues, Nazarbayev proposed to create a new SCO Water and Food Commission at the level of heads of respective national authorities.
Another proposal was to establish a prognostics institute.
“It is time to create a permanent supranational prognostics institute and work out a united vision of development of the SCO. Joining our forces, we will be able to develop SCO-2030 and SCO-2050 forecasts. This is important for countering the global crisis,” Nazarbayev stated.
The leaders of SCO member states exchanged views on the results of the assembly’s functioning in ten years, its prospective development, and discussed topical issues on regional and international agendas. Their common stances found reflection in the Astana Declaration of SCO’s Tenth Anniversary.
Following the meeting of heads of member states the Summit continued in presence of leaders of observerstates, the invited nation (Afghanistan) and international organizations, all of whom expressed their views on the SCO’s relevance in Eurasian political, economic, and humanitarian realities.
Within the forum, a protocol of understanding was signed between the Executive Committee of the RATS SCO and the CSTO Secretariat on June 14. According to CSTO Secretary General Bordyuzha, the document will facilitate and more effectively coordinate joint efforts in combating extremist activity.
“We have the ability to exchange information, to improve our work, increase efficiency, particularly of the law enforcement services,” Bordyuzha highlighted.
Last but not least, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the SCO Secretariat and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which provides for cooperation in several key areas of fighting transnational organised crime.
“It is impossible for any single country to defend against the threats posed by drug trafficking, organised crime, and terrorism by itself. Criminals do not recognise state borders, and our response should be the cooperation at the regional and international level,” Executive Director of the UNDOC Yuri Fedotov resumed.
Source: Consulate General of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Hong Kong