From 25 April to 2 May 2019, Qingdao and Beijing welcomed over 200 young people from 14 countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, including heads and representatives of the national sections of the SCO Youth Council and other youth organisations in the SCO space, who arrived to take part in the 4th SCO Youth Camp held under the slogan "New opportunities, new future."
The event was organised by the China Youth Centre for International Exchange and Qingdao Youth Federation with a support from the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF).
The Youth Camp programme featured innovative technological and cultural projects, visits to industrial parks and a demo area of regional trade and economic cooperation of Beijing and Qingdao. Also, thematic discussions and presentation seminars were held covering the issues of economic cooperation and youth entrepreneurship in the SCO region.
On 29 April, as part of the SCO Youth Camp, Qingdao hosted the International Youth Entrepreneurship Forum, where Counsellor to the SCO Secretariat Muhammad Jaffar read out a welcoming address by SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov.
Qingdao Mayor Meng Fangli talked about the city's history, its key role in promoting regional economic cooperation and the realisation of the Belt and Road Initiative. "At present, Qingdao is striving to attract high-quality global resources and talents with a clear international vision to create an international metropolis that will reach new heights for China and become an open, modern and dynamic city. We sincerely welcome young people from across the world," Meng Fangli said, stressing the importance of involving the youth in business.
While emphasising the significance of joining international community's efforts to counter attempts by terrorist, separatist and extremist groups to penetrate the youth environment, the Secretary-General's address underscored the relevance of the Joint Address for the Youth and the Action Plan on its Implementation adopted by the SCO heads of state at the 2018 Qingdao Summit. These steps are focused on the active involvement of young people in creating a worthy future and fostering the physical, intellectual and spiritual development of the young generation, as well as on actively enlisting young people in entrepreneurship and joint implementation of innovative projects. The Address states that the SCO Development Strategy to 2025 marks economic cooperation as a crucial element for stability in the SCO space, and also notes the readiness and commitment of the member states to foster favourable socioeconomic conditions, develop mutually beneficial cooperation in innovations, small and medium-sized businesses, and also promoting youth entrepreneurship in the SCO region (Full text of the Secretary-General's address)
"The youth is the future of the SCO region and the driver of its development and progress. The SCO member states prioritise youth development," ACYF President Wang Hunyang stressed, adding that "the SCO nations' governments focus on entrepreneurship that boosts employment, and are actively advocating entrepreneurship among young people. National youth organisations and business agencies have garnered extensive experience in promoting innovative youth entrepreneurship and completed a number of innovative exchange and cooperation projects." She also stressed readiness to step up exchanges and cooperation with youth organisations, business institutions and young entrepreneurs from all countries in order to offer more services and set up a wide area for the youth committed to the entrepreneurial dream.
Tatyana Seliverstova, Deputy Chair of the Russian Youth Union, reported on the successful experience of the Russian-Chinese youth business incubators noting that "the operation of international youth business incubators targets creating all the conditions for acquiring competences and skills for launching and pursuing international business projects. The incubators turned into an unparalleled platform where young residents acquire knowledge on running a business and also have a chance to develop their own business idea in groups together with young people from other countries, and this idea is supported by the business community.
International youth business incubators have become an excellent venue for creating real business projects by young entrepreneurs." She also expressed the hope that the forthcoming launch of the SCO Youth Business Incubator will raise the mobility of young businesspeople and the economic development across the SCO space.
The Forum participants went on to share views on promoting international youth entrepreneurship. Practical proposals were made on establishing a platform for uniting business leaders and young specialists for streamlining contacts, exchanging experience and ideas, as well as understanding new trends and possibilities for entrepreneurship and innovations in the development of economic and humanitarian cooperation within the SCO.
The event was attended by Qingdao Mayor Meng Fangli, ACYF President Wang Hunyang, Permanent Representative of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Zhang Yanghun, leaders and representatives of SCO youth organisations and business and research communities of China that deal with youth issues and youth entrepreneurship.
The SCO Youth Camp is an initiative voiced by China's President Xi Jinping at the SCO Summit in Ufa, Russia, in June 2015. The initiative spans five years and is aimed at enhancing youth interaction and encouraging the principles of the Shanghai spirit. The 1st SCO Youth Camp convened in August 2016. The 3rd SCO Youth Camp was held on 15-22 July 2018 also in Qingdao and Beijing.