THE SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANIZATION (2001-2011): TASKS, RESULTS, AND PROSPECTS
Marianna Arunova, Full Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (Geopolitics and Security Division), Chief Researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russia)
On 15 June, 2011, the tenth anniversary summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in Astana. The declaration adopted at the summit stated in particular that “the decision to create the SCO was a strategically calculated step,” while “the choice made by the SCO member states at the beginning of the 21st century to intensify good neighborly, friendly, and partner relations in the region was a commendable example for the world community. Its member states … have laid a strong foundation for the organization’s efficient functioning aimed at jointly ensuring peace, security, and stability, as well as developing multifaceted cooperation in the SCO expanse in the political, economic, humanitarian, and other spheres.”
The SCO has indeed become a phenomenon of global dimensions. During the first years of the organization’s existence, the necessary regulatory framework and relevant institutions for carrying out its activity were set up. Several dozen essential documents were signed, such as the SCO Charter, the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborly Relations, Friendship, and Cooperation, the Shanghai Convention on the Fight Against Terrorism, Separatism, and Extremism, the Agreement on Cooperation in the Fight Against the Illicit Circulation of Drugs, Psychotropic Substances, and Their Precursors, the Agreement on Cooperation in the Fight against Crime, the Agreement on Cooperation in Ensuring International Information Security, and other intergovernmental agreements.
Over the past years, the system of SCO structures (which includes the Council of Heads of State, the Council of Heads of Government, the Council of Foreign Ministers, and the Council of National Coordinators) has been supplemented with annual meetings of the secretaries of the member states’ security councils and regular sittings of the defense and internal affairs ministers and the heads of anti-drug departments.
The SCO Secretariat has been established in Beijing, while the SCO regional antiterrorist structure (RATS) functions in Tashkent. Mechanisms of interbranch cooperation (from the expert to the ministerial level) have been set up and a whole series of specific cooperation projects in various areas have been launched.
The international community’s recognition of the SCO is proof of its growing significance; for example, the U.N. granted the organization the status of observer and signed a memorandum on cooperation with it. Such structures as ESCAPO and the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, as well as many regional organizations, including the CSTO, EurAsEC, CIS, and ASEAN, have established official contacts with the SCO. As of today, India, Iran, Mongolia, and……………