SCO leadership in Uzbekistan: effective partnership, tasks, prospects

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In recent years, Uzbekistan has pursued an increasingly active foreign policy not only in its region, but elsewhere in the world. The authority of Tashkent also developed in a number of international organizations and in the process of international integration.

Uzbekistan cooperates with multilateral institutions at the regional and global levels. In this context, the activities of Uzbekistan within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization are of particular importance. This year, Uzbekistan chairs this organization and intends to play an increasingly decisive role in it.

Today, the SCO is an organization spanning three continents – Asia, Europe and Africa. The total territory of SCO member countries exceeds 34 million square kilometers, more than 60% of that of Eurasia. About half of the world’s population – 3 billion people – live in SCO member countries. The organization brings together eight permanent members, including China, Russia, India and Pakistan, which have the status of nuclear powers, as well as four observer states and nine dialogue partners.

As a rule, a meeting of heads of SCO member states is held every year. In 2004, 2010 and 2016 the meetings were held in Uzbekistan, which will host the event this year for the fourth time. As SCO Chairman since September 2021, Uzbekistan, on the initiative of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, promotes an active policy to address emerging challenges in this turbulent time.

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Since Mirziyoyev came to power in 2016, Uzbekistan has pursued a “good neighborly” foreign policy and paid great attention to strengthening security in Central Asia.

In this regard, the position, influence and leadership of Uzbekistan within the SCO have significantly strengthened. During the meetings of the heads of SCO member states from 2017 to 2021, the Uzbek President presented important initiatives on 50 issues.

Uzbekistan’s initiatives reflect its national interests and priority areas of development and are fully consistent with the main tasks aimed at the sustainable development of its region. This is why these initiatives are widely supported by all members of the organization.

The new foreign policy strategy of Uzbekistan over the past five years is clearly reflected in the activities of the SCO. Recently, Uzbekistan has openly declared the need to direct the enormous potential of the organization towards the development of cooperation in such important and practical areas as transport, connectivity and logistics, innovative and digital development, as well as cultural and public diplomacy.

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A number of the president’s important proposals to broaden the SCO agenda have also been implemented.

In November 2021, for the first time within the framework of the organization, meetings at the ministerial level were held under the chairmanship of Uzbekistan on information and communication technologies, similar meetings on the reduction of poverty were held on 25 January.

On the President’s proposal, within the framework of the SCO, the first high-level meeting on Afghanistan will be held in July, which will serve to further strengthen the country’s authority in regional and international arenas.

As chairman of the SCO, Uzbekistan plans to hold the largest number of international events in its history: 80. Among them are the SCO summit (September 15-16 in Samarkand), the of SCO Foreign Ministers (July 28-29 in Tashkent) and the High-Level Meeting on Afghanistan (July 27-28 in Tashkent). The main objectives of the events are the development of economic cooperation in the region and the coordination of issues to ensure regional security.

In May, Tashkent hosted the international tourism forum titled “A New Stage of Cooperation Among SCO Countries: Tourism and Cultural Heritage”, as well as a meeting of sports ministers of SCO countries. During the events, specific goals and objectives were worked out and agreements were reached which the parties will sign on the sidelines of the SCO leaders’ summit in September.

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As can be seen, the main events and documents that will be adopted under the chairmanship of Uzbekistan are aimed at demonstrating and broadly promoting the domestic and foreign policies, priority goals and goals of the new Uzbekistan.

The main results of the Uzbek Presidency will be summarized at the summit scheduled for September in Samarkand. The summit will undoubtedly become a major political and diplomatic forum and go down in history as an important step towards the future evolution of the organization.

The active, open, pragmatic and constructive foreign policy pursued by Uzbekistan will create a solid basis for taking important decisions and documents within the framework of the upcoming summit. The 21st SCO Summit in September will take its members’ historically close relations to a new level, given the changing international environment.

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