On the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (hereinafter referred to as "the SCO" or "the Organization"), Member States.Dushanbe
Appreciating the positive role of the SCO in promoting and deepening good- neighbourly relations among member States and strengthening security and stability in the region,
Summarizing the achievements over the period of the Organization's operation and noting the high potential for further interaction among Member States,
Strictly following the principles and provisions of the SCO Charter, the Treaty on Long-term Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation of the SCO Member States, the SCO Development Strategy until 2025, the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, the Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation Programme, international treaties and normative legal documents of the Organization,
based on the "Shanghai spirit" which embodies mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultation, respect for the diversity of cultures, the pursuit of common development,
Determined to strengthen relations between Member States so that friendship between their peoples can be passed on from generation to generation,
Adhering to the principle of openness to the outside world and guided by the intention to contribute to strengthening a multipolar world order and building international relations based on universally recognized principles of international law, primarily the UN Charter;
Striving to make the Organization's space a region of peace, cooperation, sustainable development, prosperity and harmony;
on the outcome of the meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State held in Dushanbe on 17 September 2021, state the following:
1. CREATION, ESTABLISHMENT, BASIC PRINCIPLES
1. The SCO was formed on the basis of the agreements on confidence-building in the military sphere and on mutual reduction of armed forces in the border area signed by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People's Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan in Shanghai and Moscow in 1996 and 1997 respectively.
2. The need to make efforts to transform the Shanghai Five into a regional structure of multilateral cooperation in various spheres was noted in the Dushanbe Declaration of 4 July 2000 by the heads of State of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People's Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan.
3. On June 15, 2001 in Shanghai the Heads of State of the Republic of Kazakhstan, People's Republic of China, Kyrgyz Republic, Russian Federation, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Uzbekistan adopted the Declaration on Establishment of Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
4. The Organization was established with the aim of strengthening mutual trust, friendship and good-neighbourliness, strengthening multilateral cooperation in maintaining and strengthening peace, security and stability in the region, joint counteraction against new challenges and threats, promotion of effective and mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, assistance in economic growth, social and cultural development.
5. SCO is not an alliance directed against other states and regions, it is open for broad cooperation with other states and international associations in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and norms of international law on the basis of mutual interests and common approaches to solving regional and global problems.
6. The SCO Charter has laid a solid legal foundation for the Organization's development. In twenty years, SCO has become a universally recognized and authoritative multilateral association, formed a solid legal framework and mechanisms of interaction, and established partnerships with states, international organizations and entities that share the principles and values of the Organization.
7. The Standing Bodies - the Secretariat in Beijing and the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure in Tashkent - have been functioning effectively. The SCO emblem, flag and anthem have been approved.
8. The Member States firmly adhere to the goals and objectives of the UN Charter and SCO Charter, the principles of mutual respect for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, equality and mutual benefit, peaceful settlement of possible disputes through dialogue and mutual consultation, non-interference in internal affairs, non-use of military force or threat of force, rejection of unilateral military superiority in adjoining areas.
9. The Member States advocate a multipolar world order based on universally recognized principles of international law, multilateralism, equal, co-operative, indivisible, comprehensive and sustainable security, global and regional security and stability, rejection of confrontation and conflict. Taking into account the views of Member States, they confirm the relevance of initiatives to promote interaction in building a new type of international relations in the spirit of mutual respect, justice, equality and mutual benefit, as well as building a common vision of creating a community of shared destiny of mankind.
10. Member States intend to further develop cooperation in the fields of politics and security, trade, economy, finance and investment, and cultural and human relations with a view to achieving a peaceful, secure, prosperous and environmentally friendly planet.
11. The SCO has entered a critical period in its development. In this regard, the Member States note the need to deepen and expand cooperation within the Organization, not involving the formation of a politico-military union or an economic integration association with the establishment of supranational governance institutions.
12. Member States will respect the right to choose the path of political, economic, social and cultural development, taking into account the historical experience and national characteristics of each State. They will continue to promote dialogue among civilizations, common peace, progress and harmony, and equal partnership among States. They will continue to strengthen the SCO to ensure sustained growth and prosperity and to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to this end.
13. The Member States adhere to a policy of excluding bloc, ideological and confrontational approaches to resolving current issues of international and regional development and proceed from the immutability of the principle, enshrined in the SCO Charter, of the inadmissibility of any illegal actions against the interests of the Organization.
14. The Member States note that the Organization is open for accession by interested states that meet the criteria and conditions contained in the SCO normative legal documents and undertake to comply with the goals and principles of the SCO Charter, as well as provisions of other international treaties and documents of the Organization.
2. POLITICAL DIMENSION
15. The member States note the proximity or convergence of their assessments of the current regional and international situation. They reaffirm their commitment to a more representative, democratic, just and multipolar world order based on universally recognized principles of international law, cultural and civilizational diversity, mutually beneficial and equal cooperation of states under the central coordinating role of the UN.
16. The high level of mutual trust inherent at regular meetings of the main SCO bodies - the Council of Heads of State, the Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) and the Council of Foreign Ministers - promotes political dialogue, adopts agreed decisions on all aspects of the Organization's activities and promotes effective interaction among its members.
17. Member States consider it important to enhance contacts and cooperation through legislative bodies and to share experiences in public administration and development.
18. They appreciate the practice of sending SCO missions to monitor presidential and parliamentary elections and referendums.
19. Heads of State note that Central Asia is the core of SCO. They support the efforts of Central Asian states to ensure peace, security and stability in their countries and in the region as a whole, welcome the regular Consultative Meetings of Central Asian Heads of State and advocate an active role of SCO in further strengthening stability and socio-economic development of this region.
20. The SCO's priorities in ensuring regional security and stability will include combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, separatism, extremism, illicit trafficking in drugs, weapons, ammunition and explosives, cross-border organized crime, ensuring international information security, strengthening border security, joint efforts to combat illegal migration and human trafficking, money laundering, economic crimes and corruption.
21. In this context, the SCO Member States have established effective cooperation and appropriate mechanisms for interaction among them. They advocate further practical implementation of the documents adopted in this area and believe it is important to take measures to further improve the SCO legal and regulatory framework in the field of security.
22. To improve the mechanisms for countering security challenges and threats, the SCO Member States are considering the following initiatives: the establishment of the SCO Counter-Terrorism Centre in Dushanbe as a separate permanent body (Republic of Tajikistan), the establishment of the SCO Universal Centre to Counter Challenges and Threats to Security within the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in Tashkent (Russian Federation), the establishment of the SCO Information Security Centre (Kazakhstan) and the SCO Center against International Organized Crime (Kyrgyzstan).
23. The Member States note that cooperation in countering challenges and threats to security should be carried out consistently, without applying double standards, through strict observance of international law.
24. Member States underline the importance of supporting multilateralism and the search for security, and advocate political and diplomatic responses to global and regional challenges. They advocate enhanced engagement to actively promote disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including efforts in the Conference on Disarmament.
25. The Member States consider the sustained implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear programme important and, in accordance with UNSCR 2231, call upon all participants to scrupulously implement all their obligations for the full and effective implementation of the document.
26. The Member States that are parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons advocate strict compliance with the provisions of the Treaty, the comprehensive and balanced advancement of all its objectives and principles, the strengthening of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, the pursuit of nuclear disarmament, and the promotion of equal mutually beneficial cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
27. The Member States believe that the early entry into force of the Protocol on Security Assurances to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia for all signatory States will make a significant contribution to regional security and the strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
28. Member States emphasize the importance of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and their Destruction (BTWC) as a pillar of the global security architecture. They stress the need for strict compliance with the BTWC, including through the adoption of a Protocol on the Convention establishing an effective verification mechanism. They oppose the establishment of any mechanisms duplicating the functions of the BTWC, including under the competence of the UN Security Council.
29. The Member States call for full compliance with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC) as an effective disarmament and non- proliferation instrument. They stress the importance of the speedy destruction of all declared chemical weapons stockpiles. The Member States reaffirm their support for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and call for agreed decisions to overcome the divisions within the Organisation and to ensure its integrity and effective operation in accordance with the Convention.
30. The Member States are in favour of maintaining outer space free of weapons of all kinds and agree that it is important to ensure strict compliance with the existing legal regime concerning the exclusively peaceful use of outer space. They stress the need to conclude an international, legally binding instrument that would strengthen transparency and provide credible assurances against an arms race and the non- deployment of weapons in outer space.
3.1. Afghanistan and Regional Security
31. The member States proceed from the premise that there is no alternative to political and diplomatic solution to conflict situations in various regions of the world on the basis of strict compliance with generally recognized norms and principles of international law.
32. The SCO member States believe that one of the most important factors in preserving and strengthening security and stability in the SCO region is the early settlement of the situation in Afghanistan. They support the emergence of Afghanistan as an independent, neutral, united, democratic and peaceful State, free of terrorism, war and drugs.
33. Member States believe that it is critical to have an inclusive Government in Afghanistan, with representatives from all ethnic, religious and political groups of Afghan society.
34. The SCO member States, stressing the significance of the many years of hospitality and effective assistance provided by regional and neighbouring countries to Afghan refugees, consider it important for the international community to make active efforts to facilitate their dignified, safe and sustainable return to their homeland.
3.2. Combating terrorism, separatism and extremism
35. Member States strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. They stress the key role of the Member States and their competent authorities in countering terrorism, separatism and extremism.Member States reaffirm the need to step up joint efforts to prevent terrorism and its financing, including by implementing existing global standards on combating money-laundering and the financing of terrorism and by suppressing the spread of terrorist, separatist and extremist ideologies that feed it. We consider it important for SCO member States to participate in the Code of Conduct for a World Free of Terrorism.
36. Member States note the inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of States under the pretext of countering terrorism and extremism, as well as the inadmissibility of the use of terrorist, extremist and radical groups for vested interests.
37. The Member States reaffirm the special role of the SCO Regional Anti- Terrorist Structure in the joint fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism in order to ensure regional security and will build the capacity of competent authorities in these areas of cooperation. Priority will be given to the implementation of the 2022- 2024 Programme of Cooperation of SCO Member States in Countering Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism.
38. Member States are convinced that an important focus of the global counter- terrorism struggle should be to deprive terrorism of its social foundations, including eliminating poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. They will step up their own efforts to prevent the preparation and financing of acts of terrorism in their territories and deny terrorists safe havens, enhance cooperation to identify, prevent and suppress the activities of organizations and individuals involved in terrorism, separatism and extremism.
39. Member States consider it important to responsibly rehabilitate their nationals who have returned from areas of terrorist activity in accordance with UNSCR 2396 and the national legislation of each SCO member state.
40. Member States will step up efforts to counter the spread of extremist and separatist ideas, especially among young people, and work to prevent religious intolerance, aggressive nationalism, ethnic and racial discrimination, xenophobia, ideas of fascism and chauvinism. The Program of Action to implement the provisions of the Joint Appeal of the Heads of SCO member States to Youth will continue to be implemented consistently.
41. Member States stress the need to intensify common efforts to prevent and suppress the spread of terrorist, separatist and extremist ideologies. They are convinced that the promotion of extremist, separatist and terrorist ideas, any information support, propaganda and justification of terrorism create conditions for the spread of radical sentiments and recruitment of supporters to terrorist organizations.
42. Member States will continue to conduct joint anti-terrorism exercises of the competent authorities of SCO Member States, including the upcoming Pabbi Anti- Terror - 2021 exercise. Particular attention will be paid to cooperation in detecting and suppressing the use of the Internet for terrorist, separatist and extremist purposes, strengthening the relevant capacity of the competent authorities of the SCO member states, including training.
43. To counter the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, Member States emphasize the need for the Conference on Disarmament to start multilateral negotiations on an international convention to curb acts of chemical and biological terrorism.
44. Member States will continue effective cooperation on border issues, including joint border operations as well as the exchange of information on persons involved in terrorist activities and the joint investigation of terrorist crimes of a transnational nature through effective border control in order to prevent the activities and movements of foreign terrorists and terrorist groups across borders.
3.3. International information security
45. Member States underscore that modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) bring new advantages and opportunities for the development of all humanity. They oppose discriminatory measures, under any pretext, that hinder the development of the digital economy and communication technologies.
46. Member States note with serious concern the growing threats to information security, including the criminal misuse of information and communication technologies, which have reached global and transnational dimensions and are destabilizing international peace and security. Combating them requires joint efforts and broad international cooperation.
47. Member States are categorically against the weaponization of the ICT sphere, considering it necessary to ensure the use of modern technologies for peaceful purposes, to create a safe, fair and open information space built on the principles of respect for state sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
48. The SCO member states will continue to build practical cooperation and consolidate efforts in the field of international information security based on the relevant Cooperation Plan for 2022-2023 and other documents adopted by the Organization.
49. The Member States reiterate the key role of the United Nations in countering threats in the information space. They support the development of universal rules, principles and norms of responsible behavior of states in this area, including welcoming the launch of a comprehensive international convention on combating the use of ICTs for criminal purposes under the auspices of the UN. Member States will continue to cooperate in the relevant negotiation mechanisms at the UN and other international fora.
50. Member States advocate for their relevant authorities to work together to promote digital literacy in order to bridge the digital divide.
51. They advocate equal rights for all countries to regulate the Internet and the sovereign right of states to manage it in their national segment.
3.4. Anti-Drug Cooperation
52. The Member States note that illicit drug trafficking and its non-medical use are a threat to international and regional security and stability, sustainable economic development of states, health and well-being of people, as well as the exercise of fundamental human rights and freedoms. They stress the importance of consolidating forces to combat illicit drug trafficking and advocate the further active development of practical cooperation in this area.
53. The Member States reaffirm their commitment to the existing international system of combating illicit drug trafficking based on the norms and principles of international law as well as the relevant UN conventions and SCO documents. Noting the importance of the international drug control conventions and other relevant legal instruments, they deem it necessary to take measures to establish an effective system of jointly combating the drug threat, to establish a reliable barrier to the cultivation, production, manufacture and illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, as well as to counter the spread of drug addiction.
54. Member States consider it necessary to continue to implement effective measures to combat the drug threat associated with the illicit cultivation and distribution of drug crops, the production of narcotic drugs of the opium and cannabis groups and synthetic drugs, including through the Internet.
55. Particular emphasis will be placed on the continuation of joint operations to control drug trafficking and their precursors, including the anti-drug operation "Web", advanced training for law enforcement units, deepening cooperation in drug demand reduction, organization of training and scientific and practical events.
56. Member States intend to continue to work together to oppose attempts to legalize the non-medical use of drugs, based on the inadmissibility of the legalization of drugs, which is regarded as a flagrant violation of the three relevant international conventions.
57. They will pay particular attention to disrupting the financial basis of the drug business, including its links to other forms of organized crime and terrorist activities.
58. The Member States advocate the continuation of the practice of high-level joint events between the SCO and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, as well as with the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for combating illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors.
3.5. Defence Cooperation
59. The Member States will further develop defence cooperation, including training and capacity building of their armed forces in order to strengthen confidence-building measures, ensure peace and regional stability, counteract security challenges and threats and create favourable conditions for the sustainable development of the SCO.
60. Member States advocate promoting cooperation with the UN in the field of peacekeeping. They will share experience in peacekeeping operations to prepare troops for UN peacekeeping missions.
61. Member States underscore the importance of holding regular joint military counter-terrorism command and staff exercises "Peace Mission" to enhance cooperation in combating armed formations of international terrorist organizations and to improve counter-terrorism methods.
62. Member States note the contribution of the ‘Trumpet of Peace’ military band festivals to strengthen cooperation between defence agencies of SCO countries.
63. Given the risk of a re-emergence of pandemic due to various infectious diseases, Member States noted the need to develop cooperation in the field of military medicine.
3.6. Organized crime and the fight against corruption
64. The Member States emphasize that one of the important tasks within the SCO is the fight against organized crime and financial crimes.
65. Member States believe that the development of additional mechanisms for international cooperation in this area should be an appropriate measure to build and modernize capacities to effectively share opportunities and address new challenges and threats.
66. The Member States are convinced that corruption in all its manifestations is a threat to national and regional security, leads to a decrease in the efficiency of public administration, negatively affects the international prestige and investment attractiveness of states, and hinders their progressive socio-economic development. They are in favour of further strengthening international cooperation in the field of anti-corruption activities, increasing the authority of the UN and its role in the global anti-corruption fight and support the relevant UN Convention.
3.7. Judicial Cooperation
67. The member states note that fruitful cooperation through the Heads of Supreme Courts is a reliable platform for improving joint activities in protecting human rights and freedoms, strengthening justice, the rule of law and the rule of law. This mechanism serves to harmonise approaches in the work of courts of SCO member states, improve the efficiency of inter-judicial cooperation and create conditions for deepening judicial reforms.
68. They will enhance information exchange and concerted action in the forensic field, including joint activities.
69. The Member States attach importance to cooperation between Supreme Courts in the field of justice as an effective factor in strengthening mutual trust and friendship, development of good-neighbourliness within the SCO.
3.8. Cooperation between Prosecutor Generals
70. Member States expressed their willingness to broaden the channels of legal cooperation, increase its efficiency and promote direct cooperation between Prosecutor Generals.
71. They will seek to establish a mechanism for the reliable and rapid exchange of legal information on the legislative, legal and judicial oversight practices existing in SCO member states, as well as on anti-crime issues and any other information relevant to countering illicit activities of a transnational nature.
72. Member States will strengthen multilateral exchange between Prosecutor Generals in the field of research, learning from positive experiences in prosecutorial work, and improve training programmes aimed at enhancing the skills of Prosecutors in SCO Member States.
3.9. Cooperation in the field of justice
73. The member states stressed that the establishment of the rule of law based on the principles of respect, protection and promotion of human rights in all spheres of social, political, economic life is an important factor for stability, sustainability and successful development of the SCO Member States.
74. They are in favour of developing cooperation on the exchange of experience in the area of legislation, legal assistance and legal education, as well as of continuing efforts to create an online platform for the exchange of legal information, taking into account the provisions of national legislation.
4. ECONOMIC COOPERATION
75. The Member States consider that the primary task is to develop interaction in the trade and economic field, create favorable conditions for trade and investment on the principles of equality, fair competition, mutual respect and mutual benefit.
76. They note that the global economy continues to face numerous challenges that constrain its sustainable and balanced growth. Risks associated with the pandemic of a new coronavirus infection, increasing protectionism, including in the form of unilateral trade restrictions, have a negative impact on global economic prospects. Managing the financial and economic risks posed by climate change, resource depletion, environmental degradation, and the provision of resources for sustainable development is becoming important.
77. The Member States consider it necessary to consistently implement the significant potential of economic cooperation formed in the process of SCO development. The effective implementation of adopted long-term programs and plans in the trade and economic sphere in order to promote socio-economic development of the Member States of the Organization and the region as a whole will be a priority.
78. Member States will further strengthen cooperation in trade, production, transport, energy, finance, investment, agriculture, customs, telecommunications, innovation and other areas of mutual interest, including through the use of advanced, resource-efficient, energy-efficient, green and low-emission technologies, in the interests of improving the well-being and living standards of the population, and ensuring sustainable development of the member states.
79. The Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan, while reaffirming their support for China's One Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR), note the ongoing work to jointly implement the project, including efforts to build a bridge between the Eurasian Economic Union and the OBOR.
80. They advocate broad international cooperation in meeting the challenges of meeting humanity's resource needs without compromising the environment and public health, in achieving sustainable and quality economic growth by giving all States equal and equitable access to the benefits of economic globalization.
81. The Member States consider it important to utilize the potential of the countries of the region, international organizations and multilateral associations in order to create a space in Eurasia for broad, open, mutually beneficial and equal interaction in accordance with international law and taking into account national interests. In that regard, they noted the idea of establishing a Greater Eurasian Partnership involving the SCO countries, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other interested States and multilateral associations.
82. Member States emphasize the importance of sharing experiences on the design and implementation of national development strategies, digital economy plans and the adoption of innovative technologies, including to jointly bridge the technological and digital divide.
4.1 New Coronavirus Pandemic
83. Member States believe that the new coronavirus pandemic has led to global social and economic challenges, caused significant damage to national economies, significantly altered the growth dynamics of the world economy, caused a sharp rise in unemployment, and hindered trade. The consequences of the crisis have still not been fully overcome, and numerous challenges that have a negative impact on the global economy persist.
84. In this context, they emphasize that the SCO should remain focused on enhancing the coordination of joint activities aimed at overcoming the crisis and reducing its negative consequences, as well as on implementing joint plans to stabilize the situation in critically important sectors of industrial production, agriculture and services in order to ensure sustainable and balanced growth of national economies.
4.2. Cooperation in Banking and Finance
85. The Member States will continue to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in the banking and financial sectors, exchange best practices and information, and make efforts to create favorable conditions for developing the financial services market and attracting investments, improving payment and settlement and other financial and economic relations.
86. They advocate the further strengthening of the Organization's role in solving problems of practical cooperation in the banking and financial sphere in order to create favorable conditions for the development of inter-bank relations and links between financial markets of the countries in the region.
87. The Member States will consider opportunities to use national currencies in mutual settlements between the SCO Member States, to expand the exchange of experience in the operation of national payment card systems and innovations in the payment sphere, as well as in the field of financial control.
88. They believe it is important to establish cooperation between the SCO and international financial and development institutions.
4.3. Financial mechanisms
89. The Member States will continue consultations on the establishment of the SCO Development Bank and the SCO Development Fund (Special Account) in order to implement the common understanding reached at the highest level and ensure financial support for project activities.
90. In order to provide financial support for the implementation of joint projects, cooperation will continue within the framework of multilateral banking and financial structures operating in the region.
4.4. Business Council and Interbank Association
91. The Member States will continue to unlock the potential of the SCO Business Council and the SCO Interbank Association as well as develop joint business initiatives to strengthen cooperation for the implementation of finance, high technology, transport and communications infrastructure, energy, agriculture and investment projects in the SCO region.
92. They consider it important for the SCO Business Council and the SCO Interbank Association to participate in the development of effective mechanisms to support interregional economic cooperation and private business initiatives.
93. The Member States consider it necessary to define the procedure for interstate and national development institutions to implement projects of priority importance for all member states that are jointly financed by the banking structures of SCO Member States during emergencies and pandemics.
4.5. Trade and Investment
94. Member States reaffirm the importance of continuing to improve the architecture of global economic governance and will consistently uphold and strengthen an open, transparent, equitable, inclusive and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system based on the principles and rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), promote an open global economy and oppose unilateral protectionist measures that undermine the multilateral trading system and threaten the global economy.
95. Member States call for strengthening the effectiveness of WTO as the key forum for discussing the international trade agenda and adopting the rules of the multilateral trading system. They emphasize the need for early and inclusive reform of the organization, focusing on its development and adaptation to modern economic realities, as well as effective implementation of monitoring, negotiation and dispute settlement functions.
96. The Member States believe that the development of services and trade in services, support for micro, small and medium enterprises and promotion of e- commerce within the SCO is of great importance for economic development, increase in employment and welfare growth.
97. They believe it is necessary to develop joint steps to support enterprises in the implementation of investment projects, the development of their export-oriented potential.
98. Member States, in order to create a favourable investment climate, will continue to develop a draft instrument on the promotion and mutual protection of investments.
99. The Member States stand for the promotion of an enabling environment for trade and investment necessary for the gradual free movement of goods, capital, services and technology as envisaged in the SCO Charter. They advocated further elaboration of approaches to address trade facilitation in the region.
4.6. Small and Medium-sized Businesses
100. Member States emphasize the importance of supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in order to stimulate economic growth and increase employment. In this regard, they advocate for the establishment and maintenance of direct contacts between business entities and the business community, including through economic and business forums.
101. Regular Startup Forums and competitions on innovation and Startups seem to be important to promote entrepreneurship with the participation of young people.
102. Member States note the relevance of cooperation in the field of intellectual property protection, including the exchange of experiences in the protection of rights and development of the intellectual property system.
103. Member States advocate the promotion of industrial cooperation within the SCO, including through fairs and exhibitions.
104. They note the need to strengthen cooperation in the sphere of high technologies and introduction of technological achievements into production, as well as in the exchange of experience in the creation of industrial parks and commercial and industrial clusters.
105. The Member States decided to establish a mechanism for the Meeting of Ministers of Industry of SCO Member States.
4.8. Agriculture and Development of Remote Areas
106. The Member States advocate further strengthening the role of the SCO in addressing the issues of food security, strengthening the world food market, and developing the production of organic and environmentally friendly products.
107. Member States, noting the importance of cooperation in agriculture, will develop cooperation in areas such as agricultural production and trade, veterinary and phytosanitary security, prevention and control of transboundary epizootics, exchange of experience in crop, seed and livestock production, agricultural research, digitalization of agriculture, smart agriculture and agro-innovation, organic production, implementation of organic products, and trade and investment.
108. They stressed the need to establish cooperation between the SCO and the UN World Food Programme and other international organisations in the field of agriculture.
109. The Member States note the importance of addressing the problem of reducing the gap in access to economic, social and other benefits between the population of urban centers and remote and rural areas of SCO countries. To achieve these goals they will promote the development of regions, remote and hard-to-reach areas, rural areas, using achievements and best practices, including in the field of digital technology and innovative developments. In this regard, the importance of practical implementation of agreements on the development of remote and rural areas in the digital age was emphasized.
4.9. Cooperation in the field of transport
110. The Member States stress the need to effectively use the transit potential of the SCO, form regional transport and transit corridors and implement major projects that promote transport interconnectivity in the SCO region.
111. They note the importance of consistent implementation of agreements to create favourable conditions for international road transport, including regular meetings of the relevant Joint Commission.
112. The Member States stress the importance of creating new and modernizing existing international routes for road and rail transport, multimodal transport corridors and logistics centers, as well as introducing digital, innovative and energy-saving technologies, optimizing cross-border procedures in accordance with international best practices and implementing joint infrastructure projects that ensure the efficient use of the transit potential of the SCO member states.
113. In this regard, they note the need to intensify practical cooperation with international financial institutions and relevant regional structures in order to attract their financial resources for the implementation of joint projects.
114. Member States welcome the holding of the second UN International Conference on Sustainable Transport in China in 2021 and look forward to a positive outcome.
4.10. Energy Cooperation
115. The Member States stress the need to increase mutually beneficial cooperation in the energy sector, including the wide use of renewable and alternative energy sources, and support the application of various cost-effective and environmentally friendly technologies that reduce negative environmental impact and promote energy security and the transition to cleaner and greener energy sources in an energy-efficient economy. They note the importance of jointly exploring ways to expand regional electricity interconnectivity among SCO member states.
116. Member States will seek to align national energy strategies on the basis of mutual respect and deepen cooperation with each other to develop sustainable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Taking into account national interests, Member States will continue to promote full-scale energy dialogue and practical cooperation among energy producing, transit and consuming states.
117. The Member States decided to establish a mechanism for the Meeting of Energy Ministers of SCO Member States.
4.11. Customs cooperation
118. Member States consider it important to strengthen cooperation in the area of customs. They note that protection of intellectual property rights, electronic exchange of information on goods and vehicles crossing the customs border, cooperation in the development and application of risk management system, and combating customs offences are necessary steps to enhance cooperation.
119. Member States will aim to simplify customs operations, undertake joint activities on customs controls using risk management for international supply chain security, on countering customs offences, and facilitate the exchange of information on developments in customs legislation and best practices in the field of trade facilitation and law enforcement.
4.12. Digitalization and Development of Innovation
120. Member States emphasize the importance of innovation as a key driver of medium- and long-term economic growth and global sustainable development.
121. Noting the need for focused attention to address the social and economic impacts of the digital divide among Member States, they emphasize the importance of deepening mutually beneficial cooperation and sharing experiences in the digital economy and use of digital technologies. Member States oppose discriminatory measures under any pretext that impede the development of the digital economy and communication technologies.
122. Member States consider it important to continue sharing knowledge and best practices, as well as conducting joint research by scientific, educational institutions and organizations in the field of digitalization, innovation and information and communication technologies.
5. HUMANITARIAN COOPERATION
123. The Member States are convinced that the progressive development of cultural and humanitarian cooperation within the SCO framework remains an unconditional priority. Over the past period it has been possible to achieve a high level of interaction in culture, education, science and technology, health, environmental protection, tourism and sport.
124. The Member States emphasize that cultural cooperation within the SCO framework has significant potential as an effective factor in strengthening mutual understanding among nations. They noted that the Organization sets an example for the global community of respectful, tolerant attitude towards each other's national traditions and values, and mutual enrichment of cultures through the development of ties in this sphere.
125. The SCO Member States will take measures to deepen cooperation in music, theater and fine arts, literature, cinematography, as well as archives, museums and libraries.
126. They will further develop cooperation in the field of joint archaeological research, protection and restoration of monuments and cultural heritage sites of the SCO Member States, including for the purpose of jointly submitting and promoting applications for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
127. Member States advocate deepening cooperation in education and intend to take additional measures to develop innovative educational technologies, use new information and communication and multimedia tools to ensure quality education, achieve optimal results in training students.
128. The Member States stress the importance of further activities of the SCO University, including by involving interested states in its work.
5.3 Scientific and technical cooperation
129. Member States note that cooperation in science and technology is in the interest of all Member States and is important for the development of their economies.
130. They consider it necessary to develop priority directions of scientific and technical cooperation in accordance with the national legislation, including the consideration of the possibility of creating a funding mechanism for joint projects in this area.
5.4 Health Care, Sanitary and epidemiological well-being
131. Member States emphasize that cooperation within the SCO in the field of health and sanitary-epidemiological well-being takes on particular relevance in the context of the spread of a new coronavirus infection.
132. The Member States express their gratitude to all the health professionals, medical professionals, scientists and researchers in our countries who are working under difficult and challenging conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
133. The Member States consider it important to continue cooperation in preventing infectious diseases, monitoring epidemics, creating an enabling environment for the prevention of chronic non-communicable diseases, and protecting maternal and child health. Noting the need to introduce new remote technologies, they advocate the establishment of cooperation between health authorities of SCO member states in the field of telemedicine.
134. Member States note that cooperation on infection control has contributed significantly to the region's preparedness to effectively respond to large-scale infectious disease outbreaks, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
135. Member States, while speaking out against the stigma attached to a new coronavirus infection, stressed the need to further strengthen international cooperation in combating its spread as well as in dealing with the global political and socio- economic consequences of the pandemic.
5.5 Environmental protection and Climate Change
136. Member States note the importance of cooperation in the fields of environmental protection, environmental security, mitigation of the adverse effects of climate change, biodiversity conservation and use, and the exchange of experience and operational information on these matters. They recognize that lack of access to safe drinking water, basic sanitation and healthy hygiene are major challenges of our time and note the need to focus on sustainable development and integrated water resources management.
137. Member States are convinced that the climate agenda should not be used to introduce measures restricting trade and investment cooperation. Efforts will be made to establish an active dialogue with relevant international institutions in order to attract investments and finance joint projects and programs in the field of environmental protection and implementation of new environmentally friendly technologies, increasing the share of "green" economy.
5.6 Emergency Situations
138. Member States note the need for continued cooperation in jointly addressing and promptly responding to natural and man-made hazards.
139. Member States emphasize the need to continue efforts in disaster risk reduction and emergency response capacity building. They intend to strengthen cooperation in areas such as exchange of operational information, training, joint disaster and accident management exercises, as well as to promote cooperation in disaster management in border regions. The Member States will develop cooperation with the UN, other international and regional organizations in these areas.
5.7 Strengthening the role of women
140. The Member States stress the need to ensure wider participation of women in political, economic, public, social and other spheres of activity. They consider it important to hold regular forums, congresses and meetings of women within the SCO framework.
5.8 Public diplomacy
141. The Member States welcome the activities of the institutions of people-to- people diplomacy, which help to strengthen mutual trust and understanding and to expand cultural and humanitarian ties within the SCO framework. They will encourage the public diplomacy institutions and cultural centers operating in the SCO member states to hold joint forums, meetings and other events.
5.9 Human Rights
142. Member States, committing themselves to act in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter, reaffirm the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights as well as their obligations to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, oppose the application of double standards in human rights issues and interference in the internal affairs of other States under the pretext of their protection.
143. They noted the need to strictly and consistently respect historical traditions and the sovereign equality of all States.
5.10. Inter-regional cooperation
144. The Member States advocate cooperation between regions and administrative-territorial units and the development of interaction within the framework of the SCO Heads of Regions Forum.
145. The Member States believe that one of the important tasks of SCO's information support will be the formation of a positive, adequate image of the SCO in the region and the world. To this end, they will facilitate contacts and exchange of information through the media, provide them with regular updates on the SCO's current work, political, economic, cultural and humanitarian achievements, as well as promote information about the Organization in the international media.
146. The Member States note the active work of the SCO Youth Council in uniting young people. They advocate the promotion of youth entrepreneurship and the creation of special programmes to improve the competence of young entrepreneurs in economic activities in the SCO region.
147. Member States, recognizing the role of sport as an important tool for peace, social inclusion and sustainable development, reaffirm their commitment to intensify cooperation in this field. They stress the inadmissibility of the use of athletic and sporting events for political purposes and intend to actively promote the Olympic and Paralympic movement. The Member States believe that the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will promote friendship, understanding and harmony among peoples.
148. The Member States will strive to strengthen and expand equitable and mutually beneficial cooperation in tourism in order to form, on the basis of existing cultural, historical and economic relations, a common tourism space in the interest of intensifying tourism exchange, creating new jobs, increasing incomes, improving the standard of living and quality of life of citizens.
149. They expressed readiness to promote direct contacts between tourism enterprises and related industries, cooperation between professional educational institutions in the field of tourism for joint training of qualified personnel, attraction of investments in creation and improvement of tourism infrastructure of the SCO Member States, exploring opportunities for promotion of cooperation in the field of 'smart' tourism and development of interaction between tourism cities.
150. The Member States stand for further promotion of the rich cultural and historical heritage of peoples and unlocking of tourist potential of cities and regions of the SCO countries, creation of additional mechanisms for development of interaction in the sphere of culture and tourism, including through introduction of the practice of announcement of an SCO tourism and cultural capital.
5.15. SCO Forum
151. The Member States attach importance to further development of the SCO Forum as a multilateral public consultative and expert mechanism established to promote and scientifically support SCO activities and strengthen interaction between research and political science centres of the member states, observers and SCO dialogue partners.
152. They note the importance of cooperation between research and analytical centres of the Member States on economic issues in order to comprehensively analyse the factors affecting economic interaction within the SCO, taking into account global and regional processes.
6. INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITY
153. The Member States proceed from the premise that openness to cooperation with other states and international and regional organizations is an important principle of SCO activities.
6.1 Observers and Dialogue Partners
154. The Member States attach great importance to the involvement of observer States and SCO dialogue partners in SCO events and projects in the economic and humanitarian spheres. They advocated continued engagement with observer states and dialogue partners with a focus on engaging the potential of these countries in implementing joint projects, primarily in high-tech, agriculture, transport and investment cooperation in order to promote joint development and prosperity in the region.
155. The Heads of State emphasize that strengthening and developing ties with the United Nations and its specialized agencies in the field of fighting new challenges and threats, economic, social, humanitarian and cultural development is a priority of SCO's international activities.
156. They believe that the UN, as a universal organization with universally recognized legitimacy, plays a central role in preserving peace and security in the world, promoting common development and deepening international cooperation. In this regard, the Member States support strengthening the authority and improving the effectiveness of the UN through gradual reform, as well as continuous strengthening of its capacity to respond adequately and promptly to challenges and threats.
157. The Member States underline that the adoption of the UN General Assembly resolutions on "Cooperation between the UN and SCO" confirms the high level of dialogue between the two organizations and demonstrates the international community's recognition of SCO's contribution to implementing the goals, objectives and agenda of the UN.
158. They consider it important to implement UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on countering terrorism and extremism as well as the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, while taking into account national experiences and state specificities. They call for the early adoption by consensus of a Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism.
159. Member States support the UN Global Compact initiatives in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
160. The intention of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan to seek election as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council in 2027-2028, 2028-2029 and 2039-2040, respectively, was noted.
161. The Member States will continue to strengthen the SCO as a pillar of the emerging more representative and just world order based on the rule of international law, above all the UN Charter.
162. Summing up the experience of the past two decades and assessing the prospects, the Member States firmly believe that the successful activities of the SCO have contributed to transforming the region into a space of lasting peace and harmony.
163. The Member States highly appreciate the Presidency of the Republic of Tajikistan in the SCO in 2020-2021 and its results, which in the anniversary year have further strengthened mutual trust and understanding, constructive and effective cooperation, good neighbourly relations and friendship between their peoples.165. In making this Declaration on the occasion of the SCO's twentieth anniversary, we, the Heads of Member States, declare that the Organization will continue to effectively serve the lofty goals and objectives proclaimed by its founding states upon its establishment, and thus contribute to peace, cooperation and development.
September 17, 2021