SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov's welcoming address to participants of the International Youth Entrepreneurship Forum, 29 April 2019, Qingdao

Esteemed Forum participants

Friends,

I express my sincere appreciation to the All-China Youth Federation for organising the International Youth Entrepreneurship Forum as part of the 4th SCO Youth Campus in Qingdao under the slogan "New chance, new future." It should not go unnoticed that the theme of the current Forum is quite important and unites the SCO countries' participants in the spirit of friendship and their desire to contribute to the joint progress of the SCO region.

Following the historic June 2018 SCO Summit in Qingdao, the SCO heads of state noted that the rapidly developing world is currently going through a time of large-scale change and considerable reshaping. The world economy remains volatile despite some positive movement, and there are growing risks due to deteriorating social problems. All that along with many other issues are escalating conflicts in some regions, while the threats of terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime are growing.

Since the Organisation's countries are home to almost 800 million young people, which is half of the world's youth, there was particular emphasis on the importance of uniting the efforts of the international community on countering the attempts of terrorist, separatist and extremist groups to gain a foothold with young people. As such, the heads of state participating in the Summit adopted the Joint Address for the Youth and the Action Plan to enforce it. Both the documents focus on enlisting young people in the effort to create a worthy future and foster the physical, intellectual and spiritual development of the young generation. The Joint Address also stresses the need to promote joint economic and people-to-people initiatives aimed at engaging the youth in entrepreneurial activities and innovative projects.

The SCO member states' leaders are confident that the youth, united by the Shanghai spirit, are capable of resolutely rebuffing these destructive forces and becoming a powerful force for repelling the spread of alien ideas like terrorism, extremism and legal nihilism. Patriotism, elevated morals, tolerance, humaneness, mutual respect, and the striving for knowledge and personal fulfillment are characteristic of the vast majority of young men and women of the SCO countries. It should be noted in this connection that the SCO Youth Council's Qingdao Declaration of 15 June 2018 placed special emphasis on the fact that the youth are a key factor in the development of their countries and in promoting the ideology of the shared Shanghai spirit, which adds to the prosperity of their countries and strengthens regional and international stability and security.

Today's SCO space has a vast consumer market, abundant natural resources and advanced industrial capacities. It is also known for its stability, dynamism and endless new opportunities. For example, GDP growth in the SCO space averaged 4.76 percent in 2018, totalling 15.4 trillion dollars, which equals 18.26 percent of global GDP.

The SCO member states' leaders at the Qingdao Summit voiced their steadfast support for creating favourable conditions for trade and attracting investment, so as to gradually transition to the free flow of goods, capital, services and technology.

The SCO Development Strategy towards 2025 identifies economic cooperation as a key element of ensuring stability in the SCO space. The member states of the Organisation are committed to promoting favourable socioeconomic conditions, enhancing mutually beneficial cooperation in innovation and small

and medium-sized business, as well as boosting youth entrepreneurship, since working with the youth is a priority for the Organisation. In this vein, a SCO forum will be held on IT startups, with the SCO youth organisations represented at today's event to be among the participants.

We hope that the outcome of the current Forum will help establish a favourable investment and business climate in the SCO region.

The SCO Secretariat, in turn, will continue to make every effort to advance youth policy and work with youth movements to improve cooperation and the sharing of experience in youth entrepreneurship.

I wish the participants and organisers successful and productive work!

Thank you for your attention.