A symposium on the 15th anniversary of the Charter of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was held in the big hall of Gumilev Eurasian University in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, on 6 June 2017, ahead of the meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council.
There was considerable interest in the symposium. It was attended by SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov, Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan Yerlan Sagadiyev, Minister of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic Gulmira Kudaiberdyyeva, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation Lyudmila Ogorodova, President of Kazakhstan's National Academy of Sciences Murat Zhurinov, Special Representative of the President of Russia on SCO Affairs Bakhtiyar Khakimov, heads of academies of sciences and leading research institutions, think tanks of the SCO member states, as well as academics, experts, and students of Eurasian University.
Speakers focused on the implementation of the SCO Charter, its importance for developing cooperation between SCO members and its influence on classical conceptions of fostering cooperation between states.
The SCO Secretary-General, who delivered the main report at the symposium, noted that "the SCO Charter adopted at the SCO summit in St Petersburg on 7 June 2002 not only made the association cohesive but also played a decisive role in developing a new model of cooperation between its members that is proving its efficiency year in and year out. The Charter laid a solid legal foundation for the SCO's functioning and presented the world with a bright example of a new interpretation of the universally recognised foundations of interstate cooperation."
Mr Alimov also emphasised that "the SCO Charter has become a historical document in all respects, primarily owing to its contribution to the practice of international relations, and its role in the SCO's destiny and the SCO's efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region and the rest of the world."
Having described the points of the SCO Charter, Mr Alimov declared that "it is one of the first legal documents in international practice that enshrines the model of universal partnership as a fundamental feature of an international association. It is because of this innovation that the SCO can be regarded as a new kind of an international organisation. Equality and coordination, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach and domination, are key elements of the partnership, and this is clearly stated in the Charter."
Mr Alimov drew the attention of the participants to the fact that during the SCO Charter's adoption the world was undergoing major international cataclysms and the Charter became a kind of a collective response to these events by the founding states. He explained: "The founding fathers proclaimed the following basic principles of the new association: mutual respect for sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, inviolability of state borders; non-aggression, non-interference in internal affairs, non-use of force or the threat of force in international relations; rejection of unilateral military superiority; equality, mutual understanding and respect for opinions; peaceful settlement of differences between the member states; renunciation of hostile actions towards other states; prevention of any illegal actions against the SCO's interests; conscientious fulfilment of commitments following from the Charter and other SCO documents."
The participants also heard reports from President of Kazakhstan's National Academy of Sciences Murat Zhurinov, Special Representative of the President of Russia on SCO Affairs Bakhtiyar Khakimov, Director of the Institute of History of Kazakhstan Burkitbai Ayagan and General Director of Kazakstan's National Centre of Biotechnology Yerlan Ramankulov.
The symposium was organised by the SCO Secretariat and Kazakhstan's Ministry of Education and Science.