In the grand tapestry of history, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) stands out as a hallmark of cooperation in a region featuring diversity and complexity. Emerging from the crucible of security challenges in the late 20th century, this intergovernmental organization has steered its course through an evolving global landscape.
Since its inception in 2001, the SCO has grown into a pivotal force in maintaining the stability, security and shared prosperity of Eurasia and beyond. Its success, as well as its potential for even greater regional and global development, hinges on two core principles: unity and coordination.
The diversity characterizes the SCO’s member states as they have distinct cultures, political systems, and economic structures. Over its 22-year journey, a commitment to unity has fortified the solidarity of the organization.
This unity is not a theoretical concept, but a practical, dynamic force. It has empowered the SCO to deftly address regional challenges, from terrorism to extremism and separatism, and has become the cornerstone for expanded economic and trade cooperation, a crucial aspect of the SCO’s mission.
And now as unprecedented changes and transformations of the world are unfolding like never before, it has become more imperative than ever for the SCO to maintain unity and coordination, so as to inject certainty and positive energy into the realms of regional and global peace, stability and development.
To this end, the SCO should, first of all, uphold the Shanghai Spirit and reinforce the bonds of solidarity and mutual trust. It’s through consistent dialogue and open communication channels that mutual trust is nurtured. Unity flourishes when nations share a common vision, uphold their collective responsibilities and interests while remaining resilient to external distractions. Only through this unified dedication can the SCO maintain its solidarity and strength.
Secondly, the SCO should embrace the shared responsibility of safeguarding regional peace and security. The organization sets an example of responsible regional cooperation by promoting global security initiatives and advocating for political resolutions to international and regional conflicts. Solidarity against terrorism, extremism, and transnational crimes plays a crucial role in enhancing regional stability and promoting unity.
Thirdly, the organization should continue to promote practical cooperation, encompassing economic development, trade, and investment. It’s essential to expedite economic recovery by resisting protectionism and advocating for trade and investment liberalization. Aligning these initiatives with the development strategies of member countries and regional cooperation initiatives fosters a unified purpose.
Fourthly, the organization should focus on strengthening exchanges and mutual learning by actively advancing exchanges in such domains as education, science, culture, and media, among others. The establishment of mechanisms that support non-official organizations, such as the SCO Committee on Good-Neighborliness, Friendship, and Cooperation, helps bridge cultural divides and promote mutual understanding. Initiatives like scholarships and scientific research exchanges bring people closer, encouraging cultural exchange and shared learning.
Last but not least, the SCO should remain committed to the overarching strategy of practicing multilateralism and enhancing global governance. Advocating for fairness and justice in global governance aligns with universal human values. Collaborating with observer states, dialogue partners, and international organizations, including the United Nations, empowers the organization to champion peace, global development, and the rule of law on a broader stage. Through these collective efforts, it evolves into a major force dedicated to fostering unity within its ranks and upholding shared values.
On Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Qiang and other leaders of the recently expanded SCO family are expected to sit under the same roof in Bishkek and discuss how the member states can jointly champion the Shanghai Spirit — the organization’s bedrock principle stemming from its history — and double down on coordinating and cooperating to tide over the turbulent times.
With an ever-growing heft of the world’s largest and most populous regional institution, the global community is keen to see how the SCO takes the upcoming meeting as an opportunity to play a more constructive role in making the region, and the world at large, a more peaceful, stable, prosperous and beautiful place.