On 2 June 2017, the 14th Meeting of Ministers of Culture of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was held in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Taking part in the meeting were Minister of Culture and Sport of the Republic of Kazakhstan Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, Minister of Culture of the People's Republic of China Luo Shugang, Minister of Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic Tugelbai Kazakov, First Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Vladimir Aristarkhov, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Tajikistan Shamsiddin Orumbekzoda and Minister of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan Mahmud Muratov.
SCO Deputy Secretary-General Aziz Nosirov attended the meeting.
Representatives of the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Iran also took part in the meeting.
The meeting was chaired by Minister of Culture and Sport of the Republic of Kazakhstan Arystanbek Mukhamediuly.
The Culture Ministers of the SCO member states held a discussion in the spirit of friendship and mutual understanding on the current state of cooperation in culture and art over the past period and their prospects, and exchanged opinions on the progress in the implementation of the Agreement Between the Governments of the SCO Member States on Cooperation in Culture, signed in Bishkek on 16 August 2007 and the agreements reached at the previous meetings of the SCO Culture Ministers.
The member states expressed their mutual commitment to further developing multilateral and bilateral cultural relations within the framework of the SCO, enhancing mutual understanding and respect, harmonious co-existence of different ethnicities, preserving the diversity of cultures, promoting knowledge about the centuries-old traditions and customs of the peoples living in the SCO member states.
The parties called for continued improvement of cooperation with the observer states and SCO partners in the dialogue on culture and art both on the bilateral and multilateral basis.
The meeting participants agreed to boost cultural exchanges and cooperation in the SCO space between the countries situated along the historic Silk Road.
The parties stressed that joint culture and art events help enhance mutual understanding between peoples, preserve the diversity of cultures and spread awareness of the culture of the peoples of the world.
The parties reiterated their readiness to boost cooperation in a number of areas. In particular, the preservation of historical and cultural heritage in the SCO region, prevention of looting and illegal export and import of cultural artefacts, cooperation and exchange of experience between theatres and museums, in cinematography, information and library services, and training specialists in other directions of mutual interest.
The participants highlighted the constructive and fruitful performance of the working group of experts on the issues of cultural interaction within the SCO.
The Astana meeting of the SCO Culture Ministers offered an excellent opportunity for sharing opinions on the development of bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
The parties expressed their appreciation to the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Republic of Kazakhstan for hospitality and excellent organisation of the meeting of the SCO Culture Ministers.
The member states agreed to hold the next meeting of the SCO Culture Ministers in the Peoples Republic of China in 2018. The exact date and venue will be agreed upon via diplomatic channels through the SCO Secretariat.
The ministers are convinced that holding the whole range of cultural events will assist in expanding mutual understanding, further development of friendly, neighbourly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation between the SCO member states.