On 7 September 2018, the Taihe Global Civilisations Forum opened in Beijing. Bulgarian political and public activist and former UNESCO Director-General (2007-2017) Irina Bokova chairs the forum that brings together a number of outstanding statesmen, public activists and scientists from Eastern and Western countries. SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov attended the Forum as a guest of honour and key speaker.
"For SCO member states, dialogue between civilisations is an important tool in combating the most dangerous enemies of humankind, primarily terrorism and extremism," Mr Alimov said.
"Today, this dialogue has tremendous political and moral significance during these drastic changes in the system of international relations. Members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation understand this: Equitable dialogue is the standard of its existence because all decisions are adopted by consensus only," he added.
"The SCO's humanitarian space is linked with the names of the greatest thinkers and outstanding trailblazing scientists who made an invaluable contribution to the development of human civilization. Every ninth UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the SCO space. The world's main religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, are widely represented here," he noted.
Mr Alimov discussed the efforts of the SCO member states to expand security, economic and cultural cooperation, while relying on mutually respectful dialogue. "No matter how acute some issues may be, each side strives to find a way to mutual accord and consensus. The interest of each SCO member state is combined with the interests of all states, members of our Organisation," Mr Alimov said.
Intra-SCO dialogue continues to develop each year, helping achieve jointly charted goals and development, Mr Alimov noted. "The SCO countries are becoming more interdependent. Highways and railways, bridges and other transport links are being built quickly. The number of regular flights between the SCO eight countries has increased several-fold over a short time," Mr Alimov said. He also noted that the
SCO consisted of widely varied countries, in terms of their area, population, economic, scientific and technical potential.
"It is important that the voice of every SCO member state is heard clearly, and each voice is being heeded. Most importantly, the dialogue helps maintain and strengthen joint efforts to guarantee peace and ensure security, to strengthen friendship among nations and mutually beneficial cooperation," Mr Alimov concluded.
The Global Civilisations Forum with over 200 delegates is to end on 9 September.