International organisations


The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organization, the establishment of which was announced by the members of “the Shanghai Five” and Uzbekistan on July 15, 2016 in Shanghai. The mechanism of “the Shanghai Five” was established as a result of signing of the agreements on strengthening trust in the military sphere and reciprocal reduction of military forces in border regions between Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, China, Russia and Tajikistan.

The Charter of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was signed at the summit held in St. Petersburg in June 2002 as the fundamental statutory document stipulating purposes, principles, structures and form of operation of the organization.

In accordance with the article 16 of the SCO Charter, decisions in the frames of SCO are made based on consensus.

The main objectives of the SCO are as follows - strengthening mutual trust and friendly relationship between the participating states; contributing to the efficient cooperation in the political, trade-economic, scientific-technical and cultural spheres, as well as in the realms of education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection etc.; jointly maintaining and safeguarding of peace, security and stability in the region; fostering creation of democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

The Council of Heads of State is the top decision-making body of the SCO. During the annual summits, the members of the Council of Heads of States make decisions and give relevant instructions on all the important issues of the Organization.

The Council of Heads of Governments (Prime Ministers) of the SCO member states holds a meeting once per year for the discussion of the strategy of multilateral cooperation and priority directions within the framework of the organization, solution of the principal and actual issues of collaboration in the economic and other spheres. It also approves the annual budget of the organization.

There are also mechanisms of meetings on the level of Heads of Parliaments, Secretaries of Security Councils, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Emergency situations, Economy, Transport, Culture, Education, Healthcare, Heads of law enforcement agencies, Supreme and Arbitral Courts, and Prosecutor-Generals.

The Council of National Coordinators of the SCO member states represents the mechanism of coordination within the framework of the SCO member states.

The Organization has two permanent bodies – the SCO Secretariat in Beijing and the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent. The SCO Secretary General and the Director of the RATS Executive Committee are appointed by the Council of Heads of Governments for a three-year term. On January 1, 2022, Zhang Ming (China) and R. E. Mirzaev (Uzbekistan) took office as the SCO Secretary General and Director of the RATS Executive Committee respectively.

The member states of the Organization assume chairmanship in the main bodies of the SCO (the Council of Heads of State, Council of Heads of Governments, Council of Foreign Ministers and Council of National Coordinators) for one year according to the Russian alphabetic order of the names of member states.

Russian and Chinese are the official languages of the Organization.

According to Article 13 of the SCO Charter, other countries of the SCO region can also become member states of the Organization. At the same time, Article 14 of the Charter allows an interested state or international organization to be granted observer or dialogue partner status.

The observer states can be invited to the sessions of the Council of Heads of States or Council of Heads of Governments.

The status of dialogue partner stipulates the participation of the partner state in the profile consultations on the ministerial level, sittings of working groups and committees of high level officials on the issues regarding partnership.

On July 10, 2015, the session of the Council of Heads of the SCO Member States was held in Ufa, Russian Federation, during which the President of the Republic of Armenia, S. Sargsyan, delivered a speech. As a result of the Ufa summit, a number of documents had been adopted, including the Decision on granting the Republic of Armenia the status of the SCO dialogue partner.

The Memorandum on granting the Republic of Armenia the status of the SCO dialogue partner was signed on April 16, 2016 at the SCO headquarters in Beijing.

On July 4, 2023, under the presidency of India, the 23rd session of the SCO Council of Heads of States was held in remote format, as a result of which the Islamic Republic of Iran officially joined the SCO, becoming its ninth member state. The next session of the SCO Council of Heads of State is planned to be held in 2024 in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, as a result of which the Republic of Kazakhstan will assume the chairmanship in the Organization for the upcoming period.


Updated on 05.03.2024

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