Address by SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming at the SCO Heads of Government Council meeting (1 November 2022, via videoconference)

Premier Li Keqiang,

Heads of government,


It is a great honour for me to attend my first meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government in my capacity as Secretary-General. First of all, I would like to greet the delegation heads and express gratitude to the Chinese side for the excellent organisation of this meeting.

Also, I would like to express condolences to India over the tragedy that took place in your country.

Complex and deep changes have taken place in the international situation this year. The turbulence of the global economy has increased after it came up against a multitude of problems and challenges. Under these circumstances, the SCO member states believe that strengthening cooperation and stimulating national development is the only way to confront these challenges.

During the Samarkand summit in September, the heads of our states expressed their unanimous resolve to deepen and expand cooperation; they discussed the priority goals and development aspects of the Оrganisation, and mapped out plans to build up multilateral cooperation in key areas in the context of the complicated processes underway in global politics and the economy.

We are facing the crucial task of implementing the main agreements reached at the summit and translating them into practical results.

Heads of delegations,

To promote the prosperity and sustainable development of the SCO area and to fulfil the important mission assigned to us by the people of our member states, we must continue working under the SCO Charter and the principles of the Shanghai Spirit, using more proactive, pragmatic and flexible methods to attain practical dividends and benefits for our countries and nations.

First, it is important to coordinate our efforts at the macroeconomic level. We should formulate concrete, consistent and attainable goals, increase the alignment of the member states’ economic development strategies, identify the main cooperation spheres and efficiently stimulate economic growth.

We believe priority attention should be given to expanding trade and investment. We must accelerate the improvement of competent analysis and the publication of statistical and forecast data for the key indicators of economic development, trade and economic cooperation in the Organisation and create the relevant databases. By expanding the use of national currencies in mutual transactions, synchronising our customs systems and promoting the development of interregional trade, we will gradually move closer to the free movement of goods, capital, services and technologies.

Second, we need to focus on the main areas of cooperation and transform the new challenges created by the collapse of global supply chains into new opportunities. In this context, we must strengthen transport connectivity in the SCO region, create new transport routes and integrate our multimodal transit corridors, as well as identify and remove traditional bottlenecks to clean up the arteries of business cooperation.

To give a new dimension to our practical interaction, we need to create financing mechanisms that will be acceptable to all sides, establish the SCO Development Bank and the SCO Development Fund (Special Account) and make full use of the potential of the SCO Interbank Consortium, Business Council and Consortium of Economic Analysis Centres. 

Food security as the basis for the social wellbeing of our peoples stands at the top of our agenda. To ensure this, we must take system-wide measures to stipulate trade in agricultural goods, coordinate our phytosanitary policies and promote agricultural innovation.

In light of the transition to a green economy and low-carbon development models, and seeking to effectively overcome the energy crisis and maintain our economic growth drivers, we should coordinate a regional energy strategy and launch cooperation in renewable energy.

Third, it is no less important to concentrate on innovations in keeping with the current economic, scientific and technological trends, promote exchanges of new technologies with a focus on green development, the environment, and digitalisation, and to facilitate the effort to resolve climate change issues. We intend to strengthen the motive force behind industrial cooperation and constantly discover new factors that can help expand economic cooperation.

Fourth, the strengthening of people-to-people ties. Based on the traditional friendship and the cultural relations between our peoples, we need to strengthen humanitarian cooperation, including in education, poverty reduction, and support for the professional advancement of women and youth. There is a need for efforts to implement new initiatives in culture, tourism, and healthcare, raise the level of cooperation in sports, and step-up cultural exchanges on a comprehensive and system-wide basis, while facilitating stable social development and progress.

We appreciate the work done by the Uzbekistan chairmanship and congratulate the Republic of India on its successful SCO chairmanship. I am confident that India as a chair will continue to provide a new impetus to cooperation in the above areas, based on support from the member states and the SCO’s standing bodies.
I would like to congratulate Kyrgyzstan on taking the torch and wish it a successful chairmanship, including as the host of the SCO Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) Council in 2023.   

Heads of delegations,

The SCO’s early modernisation is the only path towards sustainable development of the Organisation. Our main task is to enhance the efficiency of our work and help the outside world gain a better understanding of what the SCO is all about.

In this connection, it is particularly important to increase the efficiency and security of the SCO Secretariat’s information networks, develop an online system for official document flows, and upgrade the SCO website. We believe that creating a translator support mechanism should also be put on the agenda as soon as possible. We hope to receive resolute support on these matters from the governments of the member states. 

I, in my personal capacity, and the Secretariat team are ready to perform our duties with full responsibility, continue strengthening our Organisation, enhance the level of work, and pursue every effort to implement the agreements reached by the member states.

In conclusion, I would like to once again thank China for its effort to prepare and organise this meeting and to wish that it is held in a productive and successful manner.

Thank you for your time.