The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), established in 2001, is a regional intergovernmental organization uniting the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Tajikistan
The Declaration establishing the SCO was signed by the heads of the six states at the summit held in Shanghai on June 15, 2001. The SCO Charter specifying the organization’s objectives and principles, its structure and the key areas of activities was signed in June 2002, when the heads of SCO member states met in St. Petersburg for their next summit. The main objectives the member states pursue include:
- strengthening stability and ensuring security in the SCO region,
- joint counteracting of terrorism, separatism, extremism and drug trafficking
- fostering efficient regional cooperation in such spheres as politics, economy, energy, culture, science and also other spheres of common interest;
The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the highest decision-making body in the SCO. The Council holds its regular meetings once a year. It defines priorities and major areas of activities of the Organization, decides upon the key issues of its internal arrangement and functioning, as well as engagement with other states and international organizations, deliberates on the most acute international issues.
The Heads of Government Council (HGC) holds its regular meetings once a year to develop strategies for international cooperation and priority areas of activities within the Organization, to decide upon major issues related to economic and other spheres of interaction as well as to approve the annual budget of the Organization.
Other mechanisms of collaboration and coordination include the meetings at the level of Speakers of Parliaments, Secretaries of Security Councils, Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Ministers of Defence, Emergency Relief, Economy, Transport, Culture, Education, Healthcare, Heads of Law Enforcement Agencies, Supreme Courts and Courts of Arbitration, Prosecutors General.
The Council of National Coordinators of SCO Member States (CNC) is in charge of coordinating interaction within the SCO framework. The Organization has two permanent bodies – the Secretariat in Beijing and the Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure in Tashkent. SCO Secretary General and Executive Committee Director are appointed by the HSC for a period of three years.
Following established practice, annual rotating chairmanship of SCO begins after completion of a summit of the SCO Heads of States and ends with the next summit of the Heads of States held in the SCO chairman state.
Initially, the SCO was developed as organization for military, strategic and political cooperation, but with the expansion of methods and forms of cooperation the SCO stepped up its collaboration in trade, economy and humanitarian sphere of interaction.
Currently the process of building a common education area is being launched in the region, which conforms to the broader tendencies of integration in global education system.
The Russian Federation initiated establishment of the SCO University and undertook the responsibility to develop the concept and principle provisions of the University. It is planned that Russia will continue elaborate options of the University future development relying on agreements made at different levels, Concept the SCO University, opinions of authorities and experts.
To contribute to international cooperation in education and research in higher education system through extension of cooperation between universities of the Russian Federation and SCO member-states, the National Training Foundation implements a complex of preparatory, normative and methodological activities within the project “Building innovation infrastructure for cooperation of education systems in multilateral formats” of the Russian Federal target programme.