On 27-28 November 2018, an SCO Secretariat delegation led by Deputy Secretary-General Vladimir Potapenko took part in the Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan in Geneva, which was convened by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United Nations.
The high-level conference was attended by the leaders of Afghanistan and the foreign ministers of Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, as well as representatives of all countries and international organisations that took interest in the event.
Speaking at the conference, Vladimir Potapenko said: "The leaders of the SCO member countries are unanimous in their strong commitment to uphold the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan, and invariably support efforts by the Afghan government and people to rebuild their country and strengthen its democratic institutions." He went on to say that "only a comprehensive approach to resolving security, economic, public administration and development issues, with the UN coordinating role in securing peace and stability in Afghanistan, can produce a long-awaited result."
The SCO Secretariat delegation also took part in special events that were timed to coincide with the ministerial conference.
Meetings with representatives of the UNWTO (World Tourism Organisation) and the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) were held on the sidelines of the ministerial conference. The interest in further strengthening the cooperation between the UNWTO and the SCO by formalising bilateral relations was reiterated at a meeting with UNWTO Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Zoritsa Urosevic. During a meeting with Director of the FAO Liaison Office with the United Nations in Geneva Carolyn Birkett, the officials discussed possible areas of cooperation between the two organisations and the prospects for their development.
The meetings were held in a constructive and friendly atmosphere.