The Shanghai Cooperation Organization

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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization or SCO (Chinese: 上海合作组织 Russian: Шанхайская организация сотрудничества), is an intergovernmental mutual-security organization which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Except for Uzbekistan, the other countries had been members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organization.

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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization or SCO (Chinese: 上海合作组织 Russian: Шанхайская организация сотрудничества), is an intergovernmental mutual-security organization which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Except for Uzbekistan, the other countries had been members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organization.

The SCO serves as a common platform for six member states.

And this member states committed to build coherent framework for joint actions.

They are coping with pressing issues that affect their shared interests, countering new challenges and threats, maintaining peace, security and stability, and creating favorable conditions for sustainable socio-economic development. 


The Shanghai Five grouping was originally created April 26, 1996 with the signing of the Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions in Shanghai. by the heads of states of Kazakhstan, the People's Republic of China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. April 24, 1997 the same countries signed the Treaty on Reduction of Military Forces in Border Regions in a meeting in Moscow.

Subsequent annual summits of the Shanghai Five group occurred in Almaty (Kazakhstan) in 1998, in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) in 1999, and in Dushanbe (Tajikistan) in 2000.

In 2001, the annual summit returned to Shanghai, China. There the five member nations first admitted Uzbekistan in the Shanghai Five mechanism (thus transforming it into the Shanghai Six). Then all six heads of state signed on June 15, 2001, the Declaration of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and aiming to transform it to a higher level of cooperation.

In June 2002, the heads of the SCO member states met in Saint Petersburg, Russia. There they signed the SCO Charter which expounded on the organisation's purposes, principles, structures and form of operation, and established it officially from the point of view of international law.

Its six full members account for 60% of the land mass of Eurasia and its population is a quarter of the world’s.

At its fifth and watershed summit in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, in June 2005, when representatives of India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan attended an SCO summit for the first time, the president of the country hosting the summit, Nursultan Nazarbayev, greeted the guests in words that had never before been used in any context: “The leaders of the states sitting at this negotiation table are representatives of half of humanity.” [1]

By 2007 the SCO had initiated over twenty large-scale projects related to transportation, energy and telecommunications and held regular meetings of security, military, defence, foreign affairs, economic, cultural, banking and other officials from its member states.

The SCO has now established relations with the United Nations, where it is an observer in the General Assembly, the European Union, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Organisation of Islamic Conference.


  • The Council of Heads of State is the top decision-making body in the SCO. This council meets at the SCO summits, which are held each year in one of the member states' capital cities.
  • The Council of Heads of Government is the second-highest council in the organisation. This council also holds annual summits, at which time members discuss issues of multilateral cooperation. The council also approves the organisation's budget.
  • The council of Foreign Ministers also hold regular meetings, where they discuss the current international situation and the SCO's interaction with other international organisations.
  • As the name suggests, the Council of National Coordinators coordinates the multilateral cooperation of member states within the framework of the SCO's charter.
  • The Secretariat of the SCO is the primary executive body of the organisation. It serves to implement organisational decisions and decrees, drafts proposed documents (such as declarations and agendas), function as a document depository for the organisation, arranges specific activities within the SCO framework, and promotes and disseminates information about the SCO. It is located in Beijing.
  • The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is a permanent organ of the SCO which serves to promote cooperation of member states against the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism. The Head of RATS is elected to a three-year term. Each member state also sends a permanent representative to RATS.


Cooperation on security

   On the security front, it has conducted multilateral military exercises, developed it counterterrorism and counter narcotics coordinations efforts, and set forward a cyber security architecture.

   The SCO is primarily centered on its member nations' Central Asian security-related concerns, often describing the main threats it confronts as being terrorism, separatism and extremism. 

   At the June 16–17, 2004 SCO summit, held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the Regional Antiterrorism Structure (RATS) was established. On April 21, 2006, the SCO announced plans to fight cross-border drug crimes under the counter-terrorism rubric.[5]


    In October 2007, the SCO signed an agreement with the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), in the Tajik capital Dushanbe, to broaden cooperation on issues such as security, crime, and drug trafficking

   The organisation is also redefining cyberwarfare, saying that the dissemination of information "harmful to the spiritual, moral and cultural spheres of other states" should be considered a "security threat."

Military activities

Over the past few years, the organisation's activities have expanded to include increased military cooperation, intelligence sharing, and counterterrorism.[10]

There have been a number of SCO joint military exercises. The first of these was held in 2003, with the first phase taking place in Kazakhstan and the second in China. Since then China and Russia have teamed up for large-scale war games in 2005 (Peace Mission 2005), 2007 and 2009, under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. At the joint military exercises in 2007 (known as "Peace Mission 2007") which took place in Chelyabinsk Russia, near the Ural Mountains and close to Central Asia, more than 4,000 Chinese soldiers participated.

Economic cooperation

  The SCO approved an extensive program of multilateral trade and economic cooperation in 2003  and established an Interbank Association in 2005 and a Business Council in 2006, along with fresh impetus to create a SCO Development Fund . The SCO is focusing on transportation and infrastructure improvements to facilitate economic cooperation, and China has granted billions of dollars worth of loan credits for members under the SCO umbrella.  The group has branched out to other areas of regional cooperation, too, such as planning for a disaster relief center and since 2005 providing election observers to members' contests.

All SCO members but China are also members of the Eurasian Economic Community. A Framework Agreement to enhance economic cooperation was signed by the SCO member states on September 23, 2003. At the same meeting the PRC's Premier, Wen Jiabao, proposed a long-term objective to establish a free trade area in the SCO, while other more immediate measures would be taken to improve the flow of goods in the region.

On October 26, 2005, during the Moscow Summit of the SCO, the Secretary General of the Organisation said that the SCO will prioritise joint energy projects; such will include the oil and gas sector, the exploration of new hydrocarbon reserves, and joint use of water resources. The creation of an Inter-bank SCO Council was also agreed upon at that summit in order to fund future joint projects. The first meeting of the SCO Interbank Association was held in Beijing on February 21–22, 2006.[15][16] On November 30, 2006, at The SCO: Results and Perspectives, an international conference held in Almaty, the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Russia is developing plans for an SCO "Energy Club".[17] The need for this "club" was reiterated by Moscow at an SCO summit in November 2007. Other SCO members, however, have not committed themselves to the idea.[18] However on August 28, 2008 summit it was stated that "Against the backdrop of a slowdown in the growth of world economy pursuing a responsible currency and financial policy, control over the capital flowing, ensuring food and energy security have been gaining special significance."[19]

  On June 16, 2009, at the Yekaterinburg Summit, China announced plans to provide a US$10 billion loan to SCO member states to shore up the struggling economies of its members amid the global financial crisis

At the 2007 SCO summit Iranian Vice President Parviz Davudi addressed an initiative that has been garnering greater interest and assuming a heightened sense of urgency when he said, “The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is a good venue for designing a new banking system which is independent from international banking systems.”

Yekaterinburg summit

In 2009 the ninth meeting of the council of Heads of State was held in the city Yekaterinburg, Russia. The SCO evaluated the most important issues facing the Organization's development and assessed new trends emerging in the international and regional situation. This shared assessment was reflects in the summit's  Declaration and Joint Communiqué, which encompassed corresponding measures to promote multifaceted  cooperation in solving pressing problems, and presented an outlook on world affairs. In the Yekaterinburg Declaration, the  leaders of six member states stressed their commitment  to maintaining peace, security and  stability.


In ten years of existence, an only the last six with a functioning of secretariat and counterterrorism group, the SCO has developed its organizational structure, expanded its formal ties with other states and multilateral institutions,  and taken concrete, albeit incremental, actions to try broaden and cement its economic, politic and security related impact and influence.

The SCO member states are united by a mutual understanding of the nature of shared threats and risks, and common philosophy of seeking out approaches to even the most difficult problems all the while respecting each others' interests. Among their top priorities are: a) safeguarding good neighborly relations; b) searching for conciliatory solutions; c) proliferating the belief that differences, disputes, and contradiction should be resolved on the constructive foundation of dialogue and consultation, restraint and concession.           All of the member states have equal rights and an equal role in the decision making process.

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