Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Agreement

Table of Contents


The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was put in place as an association that would be multilateral, and which would take care of security and maintain stability across the broad Eurasian region and join forces to prevent threats and challenges that come to light. It was also established to promote cultural and humanitarian cooperation and to elevate trade.

The SCO, also known as the Shanghai Pact, was formed on the 15th of June 2001 and is the successor to the Shanghai Five which was a security agreement signed between Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan in 2001. The SCO has two permanent bodies, the Secretariat in Beijing and the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in Tashkent. The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the highest governing body of the SCO which meets annually.

Objectives and Aims of the SCO

The main objectives of the SCO include promoting cooperation with regard to politics, strong relations between member states, safeguarding regional peace, stability, and security, the creation of an equitable, democratic international economic and political order, and the promotion of cooperation in trade, economics, cultural and educational spheres, scientific-technical, energy, tourism, transportation, and environmental protection.

Furthermore, the SCO:

  • Aims to avoid any clashes among civilizations across its respective regions, as a multicultural and multinational organization. It reinforces mutually beneficial cooperation through which conflict and confrontation are averted and maintains indivisible and equal security. All of this is done by the SCO to achieve the objective of a polycentric world order, which conforms fully to the principles of mutual respect and international law norms and takes into account the mutual needs and aspirations as well as meets the interests of every State.
  • Observes the principle of openness, and therefore does not aim to form any alliances or direct its actions against any sovereign institution.
  • Indicates that the principles and purposes under the Charter of the United Nations should be observed firmly.
  • Has a structure that is tailored to produce multilateral partnerships to help the sovereign members to coordinate strategies and approaches in order to solve important international issues and meet regional needs.
  • Is supportive in coordinating with the United Nations with regard to international relations, with emphasis provided to further flourish close cooperation with the world.
  • Plans to further enlarge RATS. Data shows that, between 2011 and 2015, with the cooperation of RATS, the SCO member states have been able to prevent 20 terrorist attacks which were being planned, and amongst other things, averted 650 crimes that were extremist and terrorist in nature.
  • Responded against extremism through the SCO Convention on Countering Extremism, which was adopted in Astana. Through this document along with the Shanghai Convention of Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, the Convention of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization against Terrorism, and the 2016-2018 SCO Member States Programme on Cooperation in Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, the international legal framework which counters transpiring challenges and threats will be made stronger. This Convention is also aimed to increase cooperation between authorities, improve security, and make the legal framework in this area better.
  • Cooperates with the United Nations against drugs and crimes. This can be demonstrated through the Agreement on Cooperation between the SCO Member States in Combating Illicit Trafficking of Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors in 2004, the 2015 Statement by the Heads of SCO Member States on Drug Threat.
  • Is of the opinion that there should be vast international cooperation for economic recovery, financial and economic stability, and the maintenance of balance, sustainable, dynamic, and inclusive growth.
  • Aims to undertake measures that would help in the development of regional economies, and which would provide ideal conditions for trade, support investment initiatives, build industrial parks, magnify infrastructure and wherever possible, upgrade the quality of life of the particular populations.

Ratification Status

Participants Date of Ratification
Pakistan Ratified (9th June 2017)
Afghanistan Observer (7th June 2012)[1]
Kazakhstan Ratified (15th June 2001)
Tajikistan Ratified (15th June 2001)
Kyrgyzstan Ratified (15th June 2001)
China Ratified (15th June 2001)
India Ratified (9th June 2017)
Turkey Dialogue Partner (26th April 2013)
Iran Observer (2021)