An active and pragmatic foreign policy, pursued under the leadership of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, strengthens the role and authority of our country not only in the region, but also on a global scale, and increases its influence on international processes.
In this regard, multilateral cooperation with international and regional organizations, in particular the participation of Uzbekistan in the activities of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, is of particular importance.
We can say that the transfer of the chairmanship of the Organization to Uzbekistan for 2021-2022 has become a logical continuation of our active and open foreign policy, implemented over the past 6 years.
Last year, at the Dushanbe SCO summit, the head of our country outlined the most priority areas of chairmanship in the Organization, such as intensifying joint efforts to ensure peace and stability in the SCO space, deepening trade, economic and investment cooperation, expanding transport and communication ties, interaction on issues of poverty reduction, ensuring food security, wide use of the existing potential in the areas of health care, cultural and humanitarian and in the fight against climate change.
During the chairmanship of Uzbekistan in the SCO, over 80 events were held in all areas of cooperation.
As a result of large-scale events held at the upcoming summit, it is planned to submit more than 30 documents for signing.
Undoubtedly, one of the main goals of the Samarkand summit is the issue of further expansion of the SCO family. Within the framework of the Council of Heads of State, a memorandum is expected to be signed on the obligations of the Islamic Republic of Iran to obtain the status of a member of the SCO.
This will be an important step in the implementation of the decision taken last year to start the process of admitting Iran to full membership.
In addition, a decision will be made to expand the membership of observer countries and partners in the SCO dialogue.
The summit is expected to sign documents on establishing cooperation between the SCO and a number of international and regional organizations.
Another important document that is being prepared for adoption is the Comprehensive Plan for the Implementation of the Treaty on Long-term Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation of the SCO Member States for 2023-2027.
This strategically important document was developed on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and received the support of all SCO member states.
Today, the draft Plan includes areas of cooperation in all areas within the Organization, and it contains about 120 events. In particular, special emphasis is placed on the development of trade and economic relations. Thus, specific measures were identified to further strengthen industrial cooperation, partnerships in investment, energy, transport, information and telecommunications, agriculture, customs and other areas, in the field of logistics, as well as the departments responsible for their implementation.
This Treaty can be compared in importance to the SCO Charter. If the Charter is the “soul” of the Organization, its “compass”, then the Treaty is the “conscience” of the SCO.
It is the responsibility of each Member State to contribute to its implementation.
This document is aimed at ensuring the correct, rhythmic and stable functioning of the “compass” that enables the Organization to stay on the chosen path.
The Charter and the Treaty, in fact, are the basis for the political and legal relations of the SCO, determine its philosophy and image for the long term, for the entire period of the existence of the Organization.
The main features of the Treaty are that each provision of the document meets the national interests of all member states, as well as the goals of long-term joint development in the vast expanse of the SCO.
Therefore, the Comprehensive Plan submitted for signing and the specific measures indicated in it will serve the interests of all SCO member states without exception, including Uzbekistan.
The SCO is the largest regional organization in the world The total area of the SCO member states is 34 million km², which is 60% of the Eurasian continent. The population of the Member States is nearly 3 billion, or about half of the world’s population. The SCO countries account for 20% of the world economy.
By accepting Iran as a full member, the SCO opens the door to the Middle East, which is considered a strategically important region.
It is obvious to everyone that the key to the Organization’s success is multifaceted cooperation and openness. Therefore, the structure appears as a convenient platform for an open dialogue, a broad interregional partnership.
Uzbekistan is one of the founders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the country is always recognized as one of the leaders in determining the further strategy for the development of mutually beneficial cooperation within the framework of the SCO.
We view the SCO as an instrument in the fight against terrorism, extremism, separatism, transnational organized crime, drug trafficking,
At the Dushanbe summit, a number of initiatives put forward by the Uzbek side were adopted – the SCO Green Belt program, the SCO Member States Interaction Plan on Ensuring International Information Security, the SCO Economic Forum Concept, and the Regulations on the SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital.
As the analysis shows, in terms of ongoing initiatives, Uzbekistan occupies a leading position in the SCO. If in past years the Uzbek side was mainly active in the field of security, now it focuses on the need to build up the overall potential through such areas as the economy, transport and logistics, innovative and digital development, cultural and public diplomacy.
The strategy being implemented in the SCO space at the initiative of our President is based on such important principles as constructiveness, pragmatism and initiative.
The superiority of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy is expressed in the fact that the initiatives put forward by Tashkent within the framework of the SCO, in particular those aimed at the sustainable development of the region, fully meet the national interests of the member countries. Therefore, these initiatives are widely supported by all SCO member states.
The work carried out under the chairmanship of our country on the eve of the summit in Samarkand enriched the activities of the Organization with concrete and effective, new and important projects. So, it can be argued that Uzbekistan has withstood another difficult political test with honor.
The results of Uzbekistan’s chairmanship in the SCO will be summed up at the summit, which will be held on 15-16 September in Samarkand.
We are confident that it will become a major political and diplomatic forum and will go down in history as an important step towards the further development of the Organization.
Anvar NASIROV/ Director of the International Institute of Central Asia