Following the results of the jubilee Dushanbe meeting of the Council of Heads of SCO Member States, held on September 17, 2021, the chairmanship of the Organization passed to the Uzbek side. Having accepted this responsible mission, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev outlined at the summit its main priorities aimed at the further development of the SCO.
Uzbekistan, as a founding state of the SCO, attaches particular importance to strengthening multilateral cooperation within the Organization in the system of its foreign policy priorities, and also considers it a significant platform for open and constructive dialogue, an important tool for cooperation in ensuring regional security, promoting mutually beneficial economic ties, partnership in social, cultural and humanitarian spheres.
Since Shavkat Mirziyoyev was elected President of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2016, more than 40 initiatives have been put forward within the framework of the SCO summits aimed at strengthening diverse cooperation in the Organization’s space, increasing its role and authority in the world. At the same time, one of the key factors in achieving the SCO’s main goals and solving the tasks facing it was identified by the Uzbek side as ensuring the stability and prosperity of Central Asia, where in a short time, thanks to the efforts of the head of Uzbekistan and the countries of the region, it was possible to make significant progress in constructively solving acute regional problems, including issues of borders, trade, transport and water use. This creates favorable conditions and unique opportunities for ensuring security, broad cooperation, and promoting the most important regional investment and infrastructure projects throughout the Organization.
“Central Asia should continue to be one of the priorities of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” said the head of Uzbekistan at the Bishkek SCO Summit in 2019. Indeed, due to its geopolitical and geostrategic significance, Central Asia is the core of the SCO and remains the focus of the Organization’s attention. At the SCO summits in 2018-2021, the leaders of the G8 expressed support for the efforts of the Central Asian countries to intensify cooperation in the political, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres. They welcome the holding of Consultative Meetings of the Heads of Central Asian States on a regular basis and advocate for the active role of the SCO in further strengthening the stability and socio-economic development of this region.
The challenges faced by the Central Asian countries are common to the entire SCO space. One of the factors of the manifestation of international terrorism in this region is the unstable situation in Afghanistan. Uzbekistan is well aware that the restoration of a peaceful Afghanistan, free from terrorism and drug crime, is impossible without the implementation of adequate economic measures. It is important to note that Tashkent considers Afghanistan not as a source of threats to peace and stability, but as a unique strategic opportunity, as a country, the establishment of peace and stability, in which it can give a fundamentally new impetus to the activation of trans-regional cooperation throughout the Eurasian space.
In this regard, Uzbekistan is taking effective steps in this direction and is becoming an active participant in international efforts to restore peaceful life in Afghanistan. In particular, in 2017, at the suggestion of the Uzbek side, the work of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group was resumed in a new capacity, the level of representation in it was raised to deputy foreign ministers.
The high-level international conference on Afghanistan held in Tashkent in 2018 brought the international community’s understanding of the need for regional cooperation for the peace process and development in this country to a new level. The main outcome of the International Conference was a consolidated appeal to all parties to the conflict to start peace talks as soon as possible without preconditions.
At the SCO Moscow Summit in 2020, the leader of Uzbekistan initiated the development of a Plan of practical measures to promote the socio-economic reconstruction of Afghanistan within the framework of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, the draft of which is under expert agreement between the member states.
Uzbekistan is actively involving Afghanistan in major railway and energy infrastructure projects necessary to strengthen regional interconnectedness between Central and South Asia and in the SCO space as a whole. The results of the international conference held on July 15-16, 2021 in Tashkent on the topic “Central and South Asia: regional interconnectedness. Challenges and Opportunities” showed the importance of Afghanistan’s role as a “regional bridge” to connect the two regions and support the economic development of this country through the implementation of common regional projects.
Afghanistan can play a key role in increasing the transit potential of Central Asia by creating transport corridors for geographically closed countries of the region to enter the markets of East and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the ports of the Mediterranean Sea. In this regard, great importance is attached to the construction of high-speed highways and railways through the Afghan territory, including along the Mazar-I–Sharif-Herat and Mazar–I-Sharif-Peshawar routes, which will form a new transit corridor with access to Iranian, Pakistani and Indian railways, as well as to the seaports of Chahbahar and Gwadar.
Against the background of recent events in Afghanistan, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, at the SCO summit in Dushanbe on September 17, 2021, called on the world community to prevent a humanitarian crisis that could lead to economic collapse not only in this country, but also in the region as a whole.
“It is important to achieve, he said, a broad political representation of all segments of Afghan society in public administration, to prevent the possible growth of extremism in the region and the export of radical ideology, the use of the territory of Afghanistan for subversive actions against neighboring states, to continue to assist this country in solving social problems.” In this vein, the leader of Uzbekistan emphasized that the possibility of unfreezing the state assets of Afghanistan held in foreign banks should be considered.
Speaking at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on September 21, 2021, the President of Uzbekistan, once again stressing that Afghanistan is an integral part of Central Asia, declared the inadmissibility of isolating Afghanistan, leaving it alone with the existing big problems.
In order to consolidate the efforts of the SCO member states and to widely discuss issues of political settlement in this country, the Uzbek side at the summit in Dushanbe proposed to hold regular high-level meetings in the SCO–Afghanistan format with the involvement of observer states and dialogue partners. In particular, the first High-level Conference under the auspices of the SCO is planned in Uzbekistan in 2022.
This confirms that the SCO has become one of the most important platforms for Tashkent in ensuring regional security. At the SCO summits in 2016-2021, Uzbekistan put forward a number of important initiatives aimed at countering new challenges and threats, ensuring regional security, as well as conducting a coordinated policy to create favorable conditions for sustainable development and prosperity of the states of the region. Since 2017, Tashkent has been fully participating in joint anti-terrorist exercises and meetings of defense ministers of the SCO member states, and has also joined two SCO intergovernmental agreements in the field of defense.
An effective fight against international terrorism and extremism in the region requires the development and strengthening of international anti-terrorist cooperation. In this regard, Uzbekistan pays special attention to increasing the role of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) The SCO, which over the 17 years of its activity has become an important coordinating mechanism for the interaction of law enforcement and security agencies of the member States in the fight against terrorism, extremism and separatism, as well as ensuring the exchange of operational information between them. The full support of the Government of Uzbekistan for the activities of the SCO RATS in Tashkent contributes to increasing the effectiveness of its activities in the fight against modern threats. In 2019, the Uzbek side transferred a new building with an area of more than 3 thousand square meters, equipped with modern equipment and equipment, to the Executive Committee of the SCO RATS on a free basis in Tashkent.
In countering terrorism and extremism, Uzbekistan is also taking active measures to prevent the involvement of young people in the activities of various radical structures through their spiritual and moral education. Speaking at the Astana SCO Summit in 2017, President Shapvkat Mirziyoyev emphasized that today international terrorist groups and destructive forces are increasingly using information technologies in their activities, aggressively using them to brainwash our youth and spread the ideology of violence. “We consider it necessary, he said, to pay special attention to the enlightenment, spiritual and moral education of young people, the formation of their desire for knowledge and self-improvement.” In all these areas, Tashkent proposes to intensify mutually beneficial cooperation with observer countries, dialogue partners and international organizations.
The practical embodiment of these efforts was the adoption, at the initiative of Uzbekistan in 2018 at the Qingdao summit, of a Joint appeal by the heads of the SCO member states to youth and an Action Program for its implementation, which are aimed at actively involving young people in creating a decent future, promoting the physical, mental and spiritual development of the younger generation. The documents emphasize the extreme importance of ensuring favorable socio-economic conditions, creating opportunities for education, self-expression, disclosure of creative potential and employment by representatives of the younger generation.
Following the results of the Dushanbe summit, the Plan of Interaction of the SCO member states on issues of ensuring international information security, initiated by the Uzbek side, was approved. It should be noted that through the effective implementation of the intergovernmental agreement in this area signed in 2009, the SCO has become the engine of international efforts to develop rules, norms and principles of responsible behavior of states in the information space with the key role of the UN.
In this regard, and taking into account the successful experience gained by the member States in the field of information security, Tashkent’s initiative to establish an SCO expert Forum on this topic, which will allow developing coordinated measures to adequately respond to modern threats and challenges in cyberspace, seems very timely.
In addition, Uzbekistan’s proposal to resume meetings of the Ministers of Internal Affairs and Public Security of the SCO member states will contribute to the effective implementation of the Agreement between the governments of the SCO member states on Cooperation in combating Crime, signed in 2010 in Tashkent.
At the same time, in conditions of increasing rivalry between major powers, tougher competition on world markets, aggravation of environmental, food and water security problems against the background of expanding threats of terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, cross-border organized crime and armed conflicts, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, Tashkent calls for strengthening the “Shanghai spirit”, observing the principles and values of the Organization, maintaining openness, non-orientation of the SCO against third states and other organizations, and pursuing a coordinated policy in ensuring security, to create favorable conditions for the sustainable development and prosperity of our states.
“The SCO is strong only when each of us is strong,” President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said at the Moscow SCO Summit. Mutual support and joint search for compromises on key issues on our agenda are important for this. This approach is becoming the main condition for ensuring security and sustainable development in the Eurasian space today. This meets the interests and aspirations of the peoples of our countries,” he stressed.
Emphasizing the need to further strengthen mutual trust, friendship and good-neighborliness as the most important condition for strengthening the SCO in the context of its entry into a new stage of historical development, Uzbekistan at the SCO anniversary summit in Dushanbe proposed to develop and adopt a comprehensive program to implement the provisions of the Treaty on Long-term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation of the SCO member states for the next five years.
It is important to note that the significance of the Treaty can be compared with the SCO Charter. The adoption of this document is aimed at turning the SCO space into a region of peace, cooperation, prosperity and harmony, confirmed the right of each state to choose its own path of political, economic, social and cultural development, taking into account historical experience and national characteristics, the determination to strengthen friendly relations between the Member States of the Organization so that the friendship of their peoples is passed from generation to generation. It was important for the parties to mention in the text of the Treaty respect for the principles of state sovereignty and territorial integrity, the prevention on their territory of any activity contrary to these principles, as well as non-participation in unions or organizations directed against the SCO member states.
At the same time, Tashkent makes a big bet on strengthening the SCO’s role in the development of trade and economic relations and the humanitarian component. In recent years, the Uzbek side has initiated the launch of many platforms in this area, including the mechanism of meetings of heads of railway administrations, heads of departments on food security and poverty reduction, the SCO Economic Forum, the Center for People’s Diplomacy in Uzbekistan, the Silk Road International Tourism Institute in Samarkand, etc.
At the same time, Uzbekistan emphasizes the importance of strengthening cooperation between the regions and the business circles of the SCO member states. At the initiative of the Uzbek side, following the results of the Bishkek Summit in 2019, the SCO Interregional Cooperation Development Program was approved. The document is aimed at implementing a set of measures for the development of mutually beneficial economic ties between the regions of the SCO countries, achieving progress in production and investment cooperation of the leading sectors of national economies in the interests of improving the standard of living of the population. The implementation of this Program is facilitated by the Forums of the Heads of Regions of the SCO member states in the Chelyabinsk Region, held on the initiative of Russia.
The support of Uzbekistan’s initiative to adopt the Concept of Cooperation within the SCO in the field of digitalization and information and communication technologies at the Bishkek Summit in 2019 indicates that the SCO member states are striving for mutually beneficial cooperation and exchange of experience in the field of digital economy, supporting the development of digital technologies, digitalization of all spheres and industries, primarily public administration, education, healthcare, industry and other areas.
The statement of the Council of Heads of SCO Member States on cooperation in the field of digital economy adopted at the initiative of the Uzbek side at the Moscow SCO Summit stressed that today digital technologies are becoming one of the key factors in accelerating economic development, increasing the competitiveness of various sectors of the economy, forming new markets and ensuring comprehensive sustainable growth. The consequences of the socio-economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic make it necessary to accelerate the process of digitalization in various sectors of the economy, including in the SCO space.
In order to implement this Concept in practice and the statement of the Council of Heads of SCO Member States on cooperation in the field of digital economy, Uzbekistan initiated the creation of a mechanism for interaction of heads of departments of SCO member states responsible for the development of information technologies, the first meeting of which is scheduled for 2022 in Tashkent. In addition, it is proposed to hold the Forum “SCO in the era of the digital economy” in Tashkent, next June.
Tashkent supports further deepening of cooperation in the SCO in the transport sector, including the creation of new and modernization of existing transport corridors, multimodal logistics centers to significantly increase the transit potential of the SCO member states. At the initiative of Uzbekistan, the mechanism of meetings of the heads of railway administrations of the SCO member states was launched in 2018, and in 2019 the Concept of Cooperation between the railway departments of the SCO countries was adopted.
In this context, the initiative of the Uzbek side on the formation of the SCO international Transport and Logistics Association also deserves attention. This proposal is very relevant against the background of agreements on the launch of a new transport corridor “tAshkent-Andijan-oSh-iRkeshtam-kAshgar”, along which the construction of trade and logistics centers is already underway, which will contribute to the development of the transit potential of Central Asia. In addition, Uzbekistan proposes to form an integrated transport management system of the SCO, which will significantly strengthen the capabilities of Central Asian countries to enter world markets. Its main task will be the creation of organizational and legal bases, the presentation of end-to-end transport tariffs, simplification of customs procedures and the introduction of modern safety standards for the transportation of goods and passengers.
In 2019, at the Bishkek summit, Uzbekistan proposed to develop a SCO Cooperation Strategy for the development of interconnectedness, effective economic and transport corridors of cooperation between the SCO member states. According to experts, the adoption of this Strategy will accelerate the creation of an extensive network of East–West and North–South corridors connecting the member States of the organization. The development of the Central Asian corridor network complex within the framework of this strategy will transform the region, as it was in ancient times, into a crossroads of transcontinental transport corridors in Eurasia. In this case, the corridor “Russia – Kazakhstan – Uzbekistan – Turkmenistan – Iran- Oman – India” is able to provide all Central Asian countries with access to the markets of the Middle East and to the ports of the Mediterranean Sea. Another promising project that will ideally complement the existing road network within the framework of the East-West project should be the Uzbekistan–Kyrgyzstan–China railway.
Uzbekistan supports the intensification of cooperation within the Organization in the implementation of joint cooperative projects with the participation of innovation clusters and technoparks using high-tech and digital technologies, as well as the formation of agro-industrial clusters based on the principles of public-private partnership.
In particular, at the Moscow SCO Summit, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev stressed the need to strengthen cooperation in the field of industrial cooperation and put forward an initiative to adopt a program to stimulate industrial cooperation between the business circles of the SCO countries.
At the Moscow SCO Summit, the President of Uzbekistan proposed to develop the SCO Program for the Development of Digital Literacy, which is aimed at developing cooperation to assist citizens of the SCO member states in mastering digital literacy, the formation of citizens with the necessary knowledge and skills in the field of digital technologies, allowing them to successfully adapt to new economic conditions, as well as to increase the level of safe and effective use of digital technologies and online services in various spheres of life. Currently, the draft of this program is under consideration by the SCO member states. In addition, Uzbekistan resumed participation in the activities of the SCO Youth Council and educational activities, including the SCO University.
In order to further reveal the huge tourist potential of cities and regions, promote the rich cultural and historical heritage of the peoples of the SCO member states, at the suggestion of the Uzbek side, the practice of annually declaring the SCO tourist and cultural capital is being introduced. Undoubtedly, this practice will become one of the tools for developing cooperation between the SCO member states in the field of culture and tourism, drawing attention to the potential of the cities of the member state chosen as the center of the Organization’s tourist and cultural life. The corresponding Provision was approved following the results of the Dushanbe SCO summit in September this year. In addition, at the initiative of Uzbekistan, the SCO has established partnership relations with the World Tourism Organization by signing a Memorandum of Understanding, and it is also planned to develop and adopt an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation between our countries in the field of tourism.
During the meeting of the Council of Heads of SCO Member States in Dushanbe, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, highlighting the relevance of issues of poverty reduction and food security, noted the importance of launching the mechanism of regular ministerial meetings and expert consultations in these areas as soon as possible. Indeed, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social and economic spheres causes a further decrease in the level of food security and deterioration of the nutritional status of the most vulnerable groups of the population.
According to UN estimates, a high level of poverty has remained in some SCO member states. Most of the poor live in remote urban areas and rural communities, and experience significant difficulties. The issues of poverty eradication and ensuring food security in the SCO space are becoming increasingly important for the overall prosperity, security and stability in the region. In this regard, the proposal of the head of Uzbekistan seems to be very relevant for solving these problems at the regional level. In addition, in order to develop a set of measures aimed at improving cooperation in ensuring food security, the member States supported the initiative of the Uzbek side to develop a Concept of interaction between the SCO member states in the field of “smart” agriculture and the introduction of agricultural innovations.
At the SCO summit in Dushanbe, the President of Uzbekistan positively assessed the joint achievements of people’s diplomacy and proposed to establish the institution of the “SCO Goodwill Ambassador”. Indeed, in recent years, the role of people’s diplomacy in strengthening mutual trust and good-neighborliness, interethnic and interfaith harmony, and inter-civilizational dialogue between the Organization’s member states has been noticeably increasing within the SCO. People’s diplomacy is gaining key importance with its inherent openness and impartiality. Unlike traditional diplomacy and official state channels, scientists, artists and cultural figures, businessmen, religious figures, youth, tourism and sports organizations take part in it without political and legal restrictions. In this context, it is important to note the activities of institutions of people’s diplomacy, such as the Chinese Committee for Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, the SCO People’s Diplomacy Center in Tashkent and the SCO Friendship and Cooperation Center in Dushanbe.
According to experts, the SCO Goodwill Ambassador Institute should consist of famous and outstanding figures in the field of art, literature, science, music and sports of the SCO countries who will voluntarily devote their time, talent and energy to raising public awareness of the SCO’s efforts aimed at improving the living conditions of the organization’s countries and the whole world.
At the Dushanbe Summit, one of the key topics was undoubtedly the development of joint measures to overcome the consequences of the crisis caused by COVID-19. The Heads of State approved a corresponding Plan of joint advisory measures. At the same time, the Uzbek side put forward an initiative to develop and adopt a roadmap for establishing partnerships between the leading medical centers of the SCO space in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, post-ovarian rehabilitation and mutual recognition of vaccination certificates. The aim of the initiative is to further enhance the effectiveness of cooperation between the SCO member states in preventing, identifying and jointly responding to situations during epidemiological threats. It is focused on the development of preventive measures to improve the epidemiological situation in the SCO space, the exchange of information, knowledge and experience in the field of prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. According to experts, the implementation of this initiative will contribute to the formation of uniform conditions for citizens of the SCO countries when crossing borders and will provide greater opportunities for free movement. The unified system will also create a system for monitoring the results of analyses and certificates issued at the interstate level.
In order to expand joint counteraction to new challenges and threats to the health of the SCO countries and to establish an effective information exchange on the spread of dangerous infectious diseases, Uzbekistan initiated the formation of a permanent SCO platform for rapid response, prevention and control of the cross-border spread of infectious diseases. In addition, it was proposed to create a Network of medical institutions to combat diseases that cause epidemics, within which mutually beneficial projects can be implemented aimed at exchanging experience in the field of diagnosis, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, organizing the activities of joint teams of doctors and their training, as well as developing a Concept of cooperation in the field of telemedicine, providing for the training of doctors in telemedicine methods in the treatment of a wide range of diseases, as well as the exchange of best practices in this area.
In his speeches at the SCO summits, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev also pays great attention to issues of environmental protection, preservation of ecological balance, as well as mitigation of the consequences of the ecological disaster caused by the drying up of the Aral Sea. This tragedy is one of the most acute problems of the Central Asian region, entailing irreparable consequences for the gene pool and health, conditions and quality of life of the population of the Aral Sea region, the diversity of its flora and fauna. The world community has recognized that it is unfortunately impossible to restore the Aral Sea. Therefore, the task of mitigating the destructive impact of this crisis on the environment and the livelihoods of the population of the Aral Sea region comes to the fore.
The drying up of the Aral Sea has led to a change in the way of life of millions of people, destroyed the social and economic systems of the region. Salt deserts with an area of more than 5.5 million hectares appeared on the exposed part of the Aral Sea. The drying up of the Aral Sea has brought to life the process of double desertification and leads to increased wind erosion of the surface of the dried bottom of the Aral Sea and to a general increase in the dustiness of the air basin of Central Asia. Initiatives to declare the Aral Sea region a zone of ecological innovations and technologies and the International Day for the Protection and Restoration of Ecological Systems are an important factor in environmental protection, which can play a key role in calling on the international community to develop sustainable mechanisms for the introduction of innovative technologies to maintain environmental stability in the Aral Sea region, as well as attracting investment projects to the region.
In addition, to implement practical actions for the implementation of comprehensive measures aimed at improving the environmental and socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea region, a multi-Partner UN Trust Fund for Human Security in this region was formed on the initiative of Uzbekistan, which becomes an effective platform for the development of international cooperation and the mobilization of funds from the donor community.
As in many other international platforms, cooperation in the field of environmental protection is one of the priorities of the SCO. The Moscow Declaration of the SCO Council of Heads of State expressed concern about the large-scale consequences of the drying up of the Aral Sea and stressed the importance of further development of cooperation with the UN, interested states and structures in solving the problems of the Aral Sea basin. The heads of the SCO member states noted the initiatives of the leader of Uzbekistan on the preparation of a draft resolution of the UN General Assembly on the declaration of the Aral Sea region as a zone of environmental technologies and innovations, as well as the establishment of the UN International Day for the Protection and Protection of Ecosystems.
The SCO member States advocate the development of cooperation in solving the problems of resource provision for the needs of mankind without compromising the environment and public health and expanding cooperation in the field of renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources. In this context, Uzbekistan’s initiative to develop the SCO Green Belt Program deserves high praise. The document was approved by the heads of the SCO member states following the results of the Dushanbe summit, it is aimed at strengthening cooperation on the use and implementation of modern energy and resource-efficient, environmentally friendly technologies, technologies with low greenhouse gas emissions in economic sectors, exchange of experience, improving the level and quality of life of citizens.
Proceeding from the above, it can be confidently noted that during Uzbekistan’s fourth chairmanship in the SCO, official Tashkent, as in 2003-2004, 2009-2010 and 2016-2020, will undoubtedly make a significant contribution to ensuring peace and prosperity in the Organization’s space, increasing its authority and influence in the world.
In order to implement the announced initiatives, the Republic of Uzbekistan has approved the Action Plan of the Uzbek presidency for 2021-2022, which includes over 80 events. According to this document, in addition to the traditionally held meetings of the SCO bodies and mechanisms, next year Uzbekistan is also scheduled to host the Sunny Uzbekistan Fair, the Forum for the Development of Industrial Cooperation between the SCO Countries, the SCO Advanced Technologies Fair, the SCO Forum on Traditional Medicine, the Days of Culture of the SCO member States in Uzbekistan, the SCO Tashkent Half Marathon, the SCO Tourism Forum, the First Conference of SCO Women Entrepreneurs, a car rally through the territories of the SCO member States, the Days of Culture of the SCO member States in Uzbekistan, etc. The main event of the SCO next year will undoubtedly be the next meeting of the Council of Heads of SCO Member States, scheduled for September 15-16, 2022 in Uzbekistan.
In conclusion, it can be stated that all the initiatives of the President of Uzbekistan ShavkatMirziyoyev are exclusively creative and pragmatic, focused on joint development in the SCO space, they are supported by concrete mechanisms for their implementation. Thus, the Republic of Uzbekistan, being the chairman of the SCO, is determined to make a significant contribution to its development, strengthening the regulatory framework, increasing the prestige of this structure in the world. There is no doubt that the upcoming summit next year will not only become the central political event of the year, but will also open a new page in the history of the Organization.
About Uzbekistan’s previous chairmanship in the SCO (for reference):
The first Uzbek chairmanship in the SCO in 2003-2004 coincided with the period of the SCO’s formation, institutionalization of its bodies and mechanisms.
Following the results of the Tashkent Summit on June 17, 2004, a number of important documents were adopted aimed at forming new platforms for interaction, creating favorable conditions for the activities of the permanent bodies of the Organization. The Heads of state approved the Regulations on the observer status at the SCO and following the summit, Mongolia became the first country to receive this status. Mechanisms for meetings of secretaries of security councils, heads of anti-drug agencies, political consultations between the ministries of foreign Affairs of the SCO member states were also launched in Tashkent, and the SCO Day was established on June 15.
Within the framework of Uzbekistan’s second chairmanship in the SCO in 2009-2010, Regulations on the procedure for admitting new members to the SCO, the Rules of Procedure of the SCO were adopted, intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in the field of agriculture and combating crime were signed. Another important achievement of the Uzbek chairmanship was the adoption of a Joint Declaration between the UN and SCO secretariats. The document was signed by the General Secretaries of the two organizations on April 5, 2010 in the capital of Uzbekistan.
The third chairmanship of Uzbekistan fell on the 15th anniversary of the SCO. During the SCO summit in Tashkent in 2016, memoranda of obligations of the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan were signed in order to obtain the status of SCO member states. Memoranda on granting the status of the SCO dialogue partner to the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kingdom of Cambodia and Nepal have been signed. Another of the main outcomes of the summit was the approval of the Action Plan for 2016-2020 for the implementation of the SCO Development Strategy until 2025, which brought the SCO to a qualitatively new level of cooperation, characterized by increased efficiency of interaction in all areas of the Organization’s activities.