On 15 May 2019, in Bishkek, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov took part in the 14th Meeting of SCO member states' Security Council Secretaries, chaired by Kyrgyzstan.
After the event, Mr Norov said that the Kyrgyz Republic's SCO presidency confirmed the striving of the member states to support expanded security cooperation in firm compliance with the Shanghai Spirit's principles.
The SCO Secretary-General stressed that the readiness of the SCO countries to engage in full-scale cooperation considerably strengthens the organisation's potential, and raises its authority and prestige internationally as the world's largest trans-continental association.
He noted that during their 2018 summit in Qingdao, the leaders of the SCO member states had underscored the need for charting the international community's collective and effective approaches towards fighting new challenges and threats. In this connection, a considerable amount of work has been done, and even today Kyrgyzstan's presidency can be described as a period of heightened business activity in the organisation.
Mr Norov focused on security matters and said that the Security Council Secretaries had exchanged opinions on the situation in the SCO region and the world, as well as prospects for improving cooperation in combating terrorism, separatism and extremism, illegal drug trafficking and weapons sales, as well as transnational organised crime, in an eight-sided format.
In this connection, the Secretaries of SCO member states' Security Councils heard a report on the efforts of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) to implement the programme for combating terrorism, separatism and extremism that was adopted at the 2018 summit in Qingdao.
The SCO Secretary-General noted that meeting participants had paid particular attention to countering the drug threat. They approved a working plan to implement the counter-narcotics strategy that will be submitted to the SCO heads of state for approval in Bishkek.
Meeting participants praised the Peace Mission 2018 counter-terrorism exercise, organised by the Russian Defence Ministry at the Chebarkul training ground. That exercise involved the armed forces of India and Pakistan for the first time.
The SCO Secretary-General praised the work of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group in April 2019 in Bishkek and expressed the SCO's member states interest in passing a roadmap during the SCO's Bishkek summit. This roadmap will be designed to support the efforts of the government and people of Afghanistan in creating favourable conditions for the country's peaceful and stable development.
Mr Norov drew special attention to the fact that the Secretaries of Security Councils had exchanged opinions on expanding intra-SCO cooperation with observer states and dialogue partners and stressed the importance of drafted roadmaps to involve them more effectively in SCO activities. This will also be reflected on the upcoming summit agenda.
The SCO Secretary-General emphasised the importance of maintaining close contact with international organisations. He told the participants about specific joint events, including the Paris Pact initiative at the SCO Secretariat, the UN-SCO special event in New York and the UN and the SCO in the Fight against Drugs event, held with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna.
On the whole, the Meeting of Security Council Secretaries, held on the threshold of the SCO Summit in Bishkek, made it possible to plan subsequent cooperation between SCO member states to maintain regional and global security.
The SCO Secretary-General noted that decisions, to be adopted by the heads of state and examined at the upcoming meeting of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers in Bishkek on 22 May 2019, would make a weighty contribution to the organisation's sustained development and to addressing its current goals.
The Secretaries of Security Councils of SCO member states have been meeting since 2004; these meetings serve as a coordinating-consultative mechanism for intra-SCO security cooperation.