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Directions to improve the SCO effectiveness: an expert view from Belarus

Report at the XIX meeting of the SCO Forum, Tashkent, June 5-6, 2024

Dear colleagues! Friends!

I am very happy to welcome the participants of the XIX meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Forum.

I wish to thank with all my heart our friends from Uzbekistan for the kind invitation to the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research, a representative of yet the SCO observer state, to take part in today's event.

I would like to note at the same time that I have no moral right to make loud statements and make promises during the sensitive period for Belarus and the period of acceeding to the Organization.

We expect that after accession of the Republic of Belarus to the SCO, Head of State Alexander Lukashenko will speak about priorities, as we usually do in the work of other integration associations.

In my report, I will try to briefly outline our expert vision of the SCO development, with an emphasis on possible areas for improving the Organization.

1. I will start with some of the current SCO trends

The successful SCO development has created a number of objective growing trends that enhance the role of the association in the system of international relations.

First, the scope of issues discussed within the SCO is constantly growing, which shows the relevance and authority of the structure. Indeed, today the SCO is generating important positions and offering solutions on key aspects of the regional and international development agenda.

Second, the SCO contributes to combining the potentials of integration projects and international organizations to create a space of confidence and development in Eurasia, which is confirmed by active dialogue on multilateral platforms and interaction with other structures (EAEU, CIS, CSTO, BRICS).

Third, the SCO is one of the pillars of the multipolar world order, representing an attractive model of international relations.

2.These advantages allow us to talk about directions of increasing the SCO effectiveness, among which it seems important to highlight the following:

  • developing own technological agenda and moving to a closer cooperation in the SCO space based on building a non-discriminatory technology transfer system given country specialization;
  • creation of monetary, financial and payment platforms to simplify mutual trade and investment while minimizing the use of “external” reserve currencies;
  • the formation of an attractive image of the Eurasian future, capable, first of all, of captivating and inspiring young people, creating the social elevators necessary for self-realization at home.

A separate area of the SCO activity is the mitigation of risks, such as:

  • the slowdown in the rate and quality of Eurasian integration due to sanctions pressure, attempts to squeeze individual member countries out of the global trade system;
  • deterioration of general living conditions due to climate change, increased threats to biological and environmental security, a decrease in the quality of environmental protection, as well as access to healthcare. This includes the worsening shortage of water and food due to the degradation of their rational and equitable distribution mechanisms;
  • progressive militarization as a result of the global paradigm shift from development to security, which provokes regional tensions and conflicts.

Therefore, we believe that it is important for the SCO to strive to speed the sustainable development processes over the dynamics of challenges and threats, in other words, to ensure security through the priority of development.

Today, the SCO ideologically acts as a territory of attraction, common values of the world, a space of diversity of cultures and traditions, a place where people want to live and work.

It seems important that joint efforts be focused on implementing important projects under the SCO umbrella that contribute to common prosperity and progress..

3. I believe that my presentation will be incomplete if I do not briefly mention the additional opportunities that will appear after Belarus receives the Organization member status.

First. Belarus' accession to the SCO is an enhancement of the Organization's practical interface with the Eurasian Economic Union.

In addition, the territory of the Organization will expand, and the Republic of Belarus will become its westernmost, completely European, point.

Second. The potential of international transit corridors in the SCO space will significantly increase.

Third. The capabilities of partner States in solving food security problems will increase. Belarus has mineral fertilizer resources, a well-developed system of agricultural production and machinery, and personnel training.

4. In closing, I would like to note one more important aspect. It is important for the SCO, positioning itself as a new type of organization, not only to adapt to a changing world, but also to be able to look beyond the horizon of current trends in global and own development. This requires new ideas and meanings. Expert diplomacy with the SCO Forum in the lead plays an invaluable role here.

We strongly support the idea of a permanent cross-cutting expert dialogue in the SCO, which, through resilient ties between scientists and analysts, will help raise the level of mutual trust and understanding, as well as contribute to the formation of a common market of ideas and an image of the future of the Organization.

After the upcoming summit of the Heads of state in Astana, when Belarus becomes the 10th member of the SCO, we intend to submit in due order an official application to join the SCO Forum as a full participant.

BISR will strive to fill the work of this expert advisory mechanism with new practical content, fresh meanings, using the accumulated experience and potential, trying to make it even more effective.

We hope that next year, at the anniversary XX session of the SCO Forum, the BISR delegation will already participate as a full member of this high intellectual community.

Thank you for your attention!