– a permanent inter-governmental international organisation. Its establishment was announced on June 15, 2001 in Shanghai, China, by the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan. The organisation was preceded by the Shanghai Five.
At a meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State on June 8–9, 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan, the status of an SCO member state was granted to the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Belarus, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Mongolia are SCO observer states.
SCO dialogue partners include the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Turkey.
The main goals of the SCO are strengthening mutual confidence and good-neighbourly relations among the member countries; promoting effective cooperation in politics, trade, economy, science, technology, and culture; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region, moving towards the establishment of a new, democratic, just and rational political and economic international order.
The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the highest decision-making body in the SCO, which meets once every year. The Heads of Government Council (HGC) also meets once every year.
The Organisation has two permanent bodies – the Secretariat in Beijing and the Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure (RCTS) in Tashkent. SCO Secretary-General and RCTS Executive Committee Director are appointed by the HSC for a period of three years.
The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.
The SCO member states occupy a territory of 30.2 million square kilometres, which makes up three fifths of the Eurasian continent, and have a population of 1.5 billion, which makes up a quarter of the planet’s population.