Everything you need to know about Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) has welcomed another nation as one of its full members, increasing the count to nine. Here is what you need to know.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, better known as the SCO, is an intergovernmental organization founded in 2001. It is the largest regional organisation in the world, mainly because of two factors- geographical area covered and population. Its member countries occupy almost 60% of Europe and Asia and cover 40% of the world’s population. The SCO aims to promote regional cooperation on issues such as security, economy, trade, and cultural exchanges among its member states. As of July 2023, there are 9 full members of the SCO- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, and Iran. Iran is the newest nation to enjoy the privilege of being a permanent/full time member of the organisation. 

This article will guide you about the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). 

About Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

1- The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent international intergovernmental organization which is headquartered in Beijing, China.

2- It is a Eurasian political, economic and security organisation aiming to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.

3- Its creation was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai, China by the leaders of  China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. 

4- The SCO Charter which formally established the organization was signed in June 2002 and it came into force on September 19, 2003. 

5- The official language of the organization is Chinese and Russian.

6- It is known as the 'Alliance of the East' and is the largest regional organization in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population. The organization covers nearly half of the human population. 

7- The organization has two permanent members-- the SCO Secretariat (Beijing) and the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) (Tashkent). 

8- The SCO is seen as a counter-balance to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

SCO Charter

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Charter is a statutory document outlining the goals, principles, structure and core activities of the organization. 

Aim of SCO

1- The organization aims at strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member nations. 

2- It also promotes effective cooperation in politics, trade & economy, research & technology and culture.

3- The SCO aims at enhancing ties in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and so forth. 

4- It ensures and maintains peace, security and stability in the region.

5- The organization jointly efforts towards the establishment of a democratic, rational, and fair new international economic and political order.

Member Nations of SCO

There are 8 Member Nations of SCO. These are as follows:

Member Nations Date Leaders
China  26 April 1996 Xi Jinping
(President of China)
 Kazakhstan  26 April 1996 Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
(President of Kazakhstan)
Kyrgyzstan   26 April 1996 Sadyr Japarov
(Acting President of Kyrgyzstan)
Russia  26 April 1996 Vladimir Putin
(President of Russia)
Tajikistan 26 April 1996

Kokhir Rasulzoda
(Prime Minister of Tajikistan)

Uzbekistan  15 June 2001     Shavkat Mirziyoyev
(President of Uzbekistan)
 India  9 June 2017     Narendra Modi
(Prime Minister of India)
Pakistan 9 June 2017    

Imran Khan
(Prime Minister of Pakistan)

Iran 4 July 2023

Ebrahim Raisi

(President of Iran)

Observer Nations of SCO

There are four Observer Nations of SCO which are acceding to full membership. These are as follows:

1- Afghanistan  
2- Belarus
3- Mongolia

Dialogue Partners of SCO

The organization also has six Dialogue Partners. It was created in the year 2008. These are as follows:

1- Armenia
2- Azerbaijan
3- Cambodia
4- Nepal
5- Sri Lanka
6- Turkey

Structure of SCO

The structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is as follows:

1- Heads of State Council: It is the apex body of the organization which makes decisions on the internal functioning and interaction of the organization with other States & international organisations, and considers international issues. 

2- Heads of Government Council: It makes decisions on the issues related to the economic spheres of interaction within the organization. 

3- Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs: This body of the organization makes decisions on the day-to-day issues.

4- Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS): It is formed to counter-terrorism, separatism and extremism.

5- SCO Secretariat: It is based in Beijing and provides informational, analytical & organisational support.

SCO Summits

As per the SCO Charter, two summits are held-- SCO Heads of State and SCO Heads of Government. 

1- SCO Heads of State summit is held annually at alternating locations, following the alphabetical order of the member state's name in Russian. It makes decisions and guidelines on all the significant matters of the organisation. 

List of all SCO summits with Heads of State

Country Location Date
China Shanghai 14 June 2001
Russia Saint Petersburg 7 June 2002
Russia Moscow 29 May 2003
Uzbekistan Tashkent 17 June 2004
Kazakhstan Astana 5 July 2005
China Shanghai 15 June 2006
Kyrgyzstan Bishkek 16 August 2007
Tajikistan Dushanbe 28 August 2008
Russia Yekaterinburg 15-16 June 2009
Uzbekistan Tashkent 10-11 June 2010
Kazakhstan Astana 14-15 June 2011
China Beijing 6-7 June 2012
Kyrgyzstan Bishkek 13 September 2013
Tajikistan Dushanbe 11-12 September 2014
Russia Ufa 9-10 July 2015
Uzbekistan Tashkent 23-24 June 2016
Kazakhstan Astana 8-9 June 2017
China Qingdao, Shandong 9-10 June 2018
Kyrgyzstan Bishkek 14-15 June 2019
Russia Saint Petersburg 10 November 2020


Dushanbe      16-17 September 2021 (virtual)
Uzbekistan     Samarkand     15-16 September 2022

2- SCO Heads of Government summit is also held annually where the Prime Ministers' meet at a location which is decided by the Council Members. It discusses the organisation's multilateral cooperation strategy and priority areas.

List of all SCO summits with Heads of Government

Country Location Date
Kazakhstan Almaty 14 September 2001
China Beijing 23 September 2003
Kyrgyzstan Bishkek 23 September 2004
Russia Moscow 26 October 2005
Tajikistan Dushanbe 15 September 2006
Uzbekistan Tashkent 2 November 2007
Kazakhstan Astana 30 October 2008
China Beijing 14 October 2009
Tajikistan Dushanbe 25 November 2010
Russia Saint Petersburg 7 November 2011
Kyrgyzstan Bishkek 5 December 2012
Uzbekistan Tashkent 29 November 2013
Kazakhstan Astana 14-15 December 2014
China Zhengzhou, Henan 14-15 December 2015
Kyrgyzstan Bishkek 2-3 November 2016
Russia Sochi 30 November 2017
Tajikistan Dushanbe 11-12 October 2018
Uzbekistan Tashkent 1-2 November 2019
India New Delhi 30 November 2020
Kazakhstan Astana 25 November 2021
Uzbekistan Samarkhand 15 -16 September 2022
India Goa 4-5 May 2023

Origin of SCO

1- All the nations of SCO excluding Uzbekistan, were the members of Shanghai Five Group which was founded on April 26, 1996.

2- The group emerged from a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks which the four former Soviet Republics held with China. 

3- After the accession of Uzbekistan to the Shanghai Five Group, it was named the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). 

4- Since the accession of Uzbekistan, two other nations, namely, India and Pakistan, joined the SCO as full members on June 9, 2017, at a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. 

List of Five Summits, India to participate in November 2020

List of Members of ASEAN Organisation

List of all BRICS Summits and Host Nations

G-20 Summits: List of Summits and Members


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